Going to class was the icing on top of the cake for Central and Sunrise Middle School eighth grade FACS students, literally. 300 students participated in decorating their own 4-inch cakes. Katy Jenkins, who is a parent in White Bear Lake, organized and collected the donated materials for the activity. It is the fourth year that Katy has organized the cake decorating. Many students say this is their favorite class activity.
Students and teachers at the WBL Area Learning Center have been picking up books for the first 10 minutes of class to participate in a school-wide reading initiative. This is tied to the school's building literacy goal. In the lobby, there is a "Readbox" that shows which books students have completed this far. While students are focusing on developing literacy goals, they are also building skills in how to successfully deconstruct media messages. In Michele Norcross's Women's Literature class, students participated in an activity where they were able to discuss what they really saw when looking at media text and advertisements, opposed to the content's intended meaning. This lesson helped students objectively view communications to understand the deeper meanings of messages. Students will use this knowledge to craft a poster of a media text they want to analyze, which will be displayed in WBL Area Learning Center's hallway.
Staff members who are looking to treat their dogs were able to buy homemade dog biscuits from students at North Campus. The special education program started a Dog Biscuit Bakery as a school-based work experience. The students are learning job duties, food safety, personal and social skills, cost analysis, business skills, leadership skills, and equipment care and use. The students are busy filling 274 bags of dog biscuits to deliver to staff on Dec. 21. The students are no longer taking orders for biscuits due to an overwhelming demand for orders before winter break. Students plan to resume business in January. Stay tuned for more information! Before these ninth and tenth grade students head off to winter break, they made sandwiches to donate to those who are less fortunate. The sandwiches were given to The Sandwich Project, which is an organization that aims to feed about 4,500 people per week through various food shelves and shelters. The students used the sandwich-making activity to develop leadership, collaboration, communication, and compassion skills.
One White Bear alum took a trip to Ms. King's kindergarten classroom at Vadnais Elementary to share his experiences of living with cerebral palsy to kindergarten students. Justin Smith also read the famous book titled "It's Okay to Ask." Students were able to ask him questions and give their new friend a high five at the end of their time together. He graduated from White Bear Lake Area High School's South Campus this past spring, and is registered to begin classes at Century in January. The students also did a little dancing to show Justin their moves and thank him for coming to the classroom.
White Bear Lake High School students took their Chinese speaking skills to a whole new level. Students video chatted with their peers from Hangzhou Foreign Language School in China using FaceTime, and asked high school students about their school life and shared Chinese learning experiences with them. Students discovered many interesting facts, and improved their Chinese comprehension by communicating with the students who live across the world in Hangzhou, China. This experience gives students an opportunity to build relationships with other students around the globe and learn a culture by directly communicating with peers.
Students are able to enjoy time with their "best buddies" during a weekly activity on Fridays at Central Middle School. Five to six students come to Lisa Olson's classroom in the morning to play games or do crafts with her students. The program was started by a seventh grader who wanted to spend more time with students in the Functional Academics Program. This week, students teamed up to make paper snowflakes. The students spent time folding and cutting paper to craft it into the perfect snowflake to make a door decoration. The snowflakes were hung up to decorate the door to participate in the IB door contest. The students look forward to the time they spend together.
Fifth grade students at Lakeaires Elementary shared their experience of giving back to the broader community for their service learning projects. This project aims to encourage students to positively contribute to others' lives by utilizing students' talents. This year, a few students discussed what it was like to volunteer at Feed My Starving Children. Transition Plus students also recently took time to give back to their community. Students spent time wrapping gifts to donate to senior citizens throughout the White Bear Lake area, including Meals on Wheels clients. (This event was also featured above in the "In photos" section of this e-newsletter and in a recent 62.4-second video update.) While Transition Plus students gave back to seniors, other students collected toys to give to families and children. The White Bear Lions collected toys in a toy drive and distributed them to about 200 families in the White Bear Lake School District. Families qualified to receive the toys by contacting the White Bear Lake Food Shelf. The following schools participated in the White Bear Lions 2016 Toy Drive: Central and Sunrise Middle Schools, Matoksa Elementary, Otter Lake Elementary, Lakeaires Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, the White Bear Lake Area Learning Center and Frassati Catholic Academy.
Students from Sunrise Middle School volunteered their time to bell ring at Festival Foods in White Bear Lake, while also singing Christmas carols. Teacher, Lindsay Lamwers, coordinated the service event for the Sunrise Service Club and Central Services. While the middle school students gave back to the community by singing and ringing bells, Lincoln Elementary students, parents, and community members came together to tie blankets, decorate cards, and make ornaments for others over the holidays. Students and families sat on the floor and tied blankets to donate to Infant Layettes. The cards and ornaments will go to recipients of the Meals on Wheels program throughout the White Bear Lake community. (This event was also featured in a recent 62.4-second video update).
While middle school students rang bells and sang Christmas carols for those who passed by, Mr. Weissman's fifth grade class at Oneka Elementary participated in a community service/compassion project aimed at collecting clothing for The Closet. The Closet is a place where families in need of clothing in the White Bear Lake district are able to shop. When students are in the district and present a need for clothing, they are able to receive items free of charge. The class has collected more than 15 bags of clothing that were donated.
The auditorium filed up as parents and community members came to learn about anxiety in younger children with Lora Matz, a therapist from Prairie Care. The presentation was possible thanks to a grant from Ramsey County Children's Mental Health. The anxiety presentation was not the only event taking center stage, as elementary and middle school students stepped up to perform. Elementary students had the opportunity to practice together and build community to get ready for their concert at the orchestra lock-in. They were even able to play in their pajamas for the parents toward the end of the night! After this, the elementary students were ready to perform in front of many parents and community members in a packed auditorium for their North Side Elementary Orchestra concert. The Sunrise middle school students also had parents' and community members' eyes to the stage as they sang for the crowd. Check out this week's