Showing posts with label Chalk Talk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chalk Talk. Show all posts

Monday, June 8

CHALK TALK: decoding STEM


 STEM is a new buzz word in the education field. But what exactly is it? Simply defined, STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The STEM Education Coalition states that incorporating a STEM-based curriculum is critical if the United States wants to remain a global economic and technological leader.


The goal of this education initiative is to create a STEM-based curriculum for all students. However, Fairmont Private Schools is proactive in providing students with a STEM-rich curriculum. Fairmont currently boasts robust, competitive robotics clubs at the junior high and high school levels, as well as advanced mathematics programs, and the Advanced Science and Engineering Program (ASEP) for high school students. A total of 24 awards were earned by Fairmont junior high students at the 2014 Orange County Science and Engineering Fair. Fairmont students are also introduced to technology in the classroom, working with iPads and Interactive Whiteboards from preschool through high school.

Despite the national push for more technical training required for STEM-related jobs, it is important to maintain a balance between study of the humanities and study of the technological fields. During the 2011 release of a next generation iPad, Steve Jobs explained that “it’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — that it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.” Fairmont believes that both liberal arts and STEM focuses are important, thus, Fairmont students are enriched with opportunities to learn musical instruments, participate in theater productions, read classical literature, create wonderful works of art, and engage with curriculum that examines history, sociology, and more! 
After graduating from Fairmont Preparatory Academy, 87% of Fairmont seniors are accepted to US News & World Report’s list of top 100 American colleges and universities, many entering the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These successful outcomes result from a well-balanced education that enable students to flourish academically and artistically.    
Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools

Image by Teacher Reboot Camp

Wednesday, May 27

CHALK TALK: the many benefits of music in early education




Music fosters creative thought and much more!


Fairmont’s early childhood education programs offer a sensory rich environment for heightening a child’s senses, which is essential for providing the foundation of a well-rounded education. Music plays a major role in this effort by helping our young learners grow in many areas of personal and academic development. 


Whether listening to Beethoven, banging on drums or dancing to a song, music helps students gain confidence for learning and trying new things. At the same time, they exercise their language, vocal, and fine motor skills. When singing folk songs or dancing to famous jazz tunes, children have the opportunity to explore the richness of American culture and its history. 


Besides nurturing creativity, confidence, and a better understanding of history, musical activities such as sing-a-longs help children feel they are members of a community.  Hands-on music participation and appreciation incorporates lessons in math, reading, and writing.  For example, learning how to keep a steady beat, rhythm, and melody involves engaging mathematical concepts such as sequencing, counting, and patterning. 


The whole family can engage in music appreciation in the home, car, and at concert venues. Fairmont’s Music Department Chair Adela Stella encourages parents and grandparents to take children to see summer concerts in the park to experience the excitement of live performances.


Contributed by Doug Fleischli, Fairmont Private Schools

Image by KinderMusik

Thursday, March 5

CHALK TALK the benefits of students exploring robotics








It’s a sunny day as a team of Fairmont Prep students known as the “Huskyteers” prepare a wireless operated robot, nicknamed “Balto,” to compete at the Regional FIRST Robotics Competition. Using laptops and power tools, they work together to make sure Balto performs its required task.  Balto must lift, move, and stack items that represent litter in a pre-determined arrangement.

The process of building a robot offers students a rewarding experience regardless of their academic backgrounds and experience.  They form a diverse team exchanging knowledge, skills, and ideas with the goal of creating an reward-winning robot.

Teachers see robotics as a perfect example of cutting-edge learning that is completely student-driven. When students focus their energy on building a robot, they demonstrate problem-solving abilities, apply academic knowledge, integrate skills, and collaborate within a group. It’s a microcosm of a real world entrepreneurial start-up.  

The experiences in designing, building, and testing a robot bring to life mathematics, computer science, engineering, and other tech savvy topics. The finished robot provides students a gratifying source of accomplishment. Most of all, they become confident in using these academic subjects to overcome many obstacles, not only for technically-based challenges, but life as a whole.

Contributed by Doug Fleischli, Fairmont Private Schools


Friday, January 16

CHALK TALK The Benefits of Studying History



As a junior high student, I was fortunate to have a theatrical history teacher who made every lesson a journey back in time. From the Roman Empire to World War II, he told vivid stories of presidents, generals, inventors, and explorers along with a host of not-so-famous people simply trying to make a living. 

From the teacher’s captivating insights “behind the text of the history book,” I learned both the triumphant and tragic sides of humanity. My teacher’s lessons offered more than a window to the past. It helped me understand the world beyond my life of family, friends, and immediate community. 

History shows how social, political, and economic actions of the past influence current news from around the world, far beyond our comfort zone. Studying history gives profound examples of how decisions by individuals hundreds of years ago still affect millions of people decades later. Records of both good and bad decisions give students in all grades models to shape their decision-making and worldview.  

History also provides students role models of character, wisdom, bravery, and good leadership. Reading about significant figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who represents courage and integrity in the face of daunting challenges, illustrates a positive role model for students to look up to in their lives.

Scholars point out that the study of history fosters analytical thinking by causing students to dig deep into historical content to identify specific information for building a sound argument or making an accurate comparison between the past and present. This strengthens abilities to examine, organize, and explain factual information. These skills are essential in other academic subjects, as well as career pursuits.

Contributed by Doug Fleischli
Image courtesy of What Answered 




Friday, December 5

CHALK TALK benefits of after school programs







After school programs offer a safe and rewarding atmosphere for children to excel in their existing talents and skills. They also provide exciting opportunities for children to be introduced to new interests related to art, sports and academic subjects. Under professional supervision, children appreciate engaging in fun activities that contribute to their personal, academic, physical and social development.

The increased time spent in participating in academic activities in an informal setting naturally pays off in good grades. It also offers insights as to understanding practical applications involving math, science, language arts and other subjects. For example, Fairmont offers Robotics and Engineering with Legos - Gadgets and Gizmos, which enables elementary students to explore concepts of engineering, architecture and physics while building “real life” objects with Legos.  This is just one of many opportunities for children to enjoy the afternoon with friends while learning and discovering possible career interests.

For preschoolers who want to move, Fairmont offers age appropriate after school sports and dance classes.  From an early age, they develop skills and confidence necessary to excel in future organized sports and performing arts productions. For example there is a Pee Wee Dance and Creative Movement, which introduces little ones to rhythm, jazz, tap and ballet dance techniques.

After school programs help children appreciate fine arts and culture. From learning Spanish and French to exploring different art media using charcoal, art pencils, acrylics and watercolors, Fairmont students discover talents they thought they never had and take the first steps in becoming true global citizens.

In our busy world where time can be our most precious commodity, after school programs make any given afternoon become an exciting adventure.  It also reassures parents that their children are safe and having fun with their peers  while participating in a beneficial activity. 

Contributed by Doug Fleischli, Fairmont Private Schools

Image credit: King Tiger

Monday, October 6

CHALK TALK why it’s cool being on a middle school debate team


North Tustin Debate Team with Debate Coach Ben Hughes
at the OC Debate League Championship, May 2014 

Strong friendships, refined public speaking, exceptional problem-solving and effective research strategies are a few of the many benefits, which result from participating in competitive middle school debate teams. As members of a debate team, students can pursue excellent opportunities to sharpen a host of life skills that extend well beyond high school and college.

Fairmont has a proven track record of helping students harness these distinctive qualities and achieve significant accomplishments. Last year, Fairmont students finished among the top 32 debate teams in the nation and achieved notable success in major Orange County Debate League Competitions.

Students with polished debate-related skills are destined to stand above the crowd. Mastering disciplines such as research/analysis of data, the articulation of theories and the persuasion of complex subjects give students a firm foundation of confidence to take on the world. These skills are valuable for obtaining scholarships, entering a highly respected college, and later on, fulfilling career advancement goals.

Along with these highly respected attributes, students also enjoy making new friends, traveling to debate tournaments and building a lifetime of good memories. Participating on a Fairmont Debate Team offers many rewarding experiences. For more information, please contact Middle School Debate Coach Ben Hughes (Fairmont North Tustin Campus) at bhughes@fairmontschools.com.

Contributed by Doug Fleischli, Fairmont Private Schools