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Monday, January 14, 2019

Teacher of the Month: Wendy Eastman!


“My daughter’s favorite teacher!” “She cultivates an environment of academic success.”  These statements are in praise of Wendy Eastman, a fabulous Columbia Central Junior High School math teacher.  This past year, she was nominated and voted “Teacher of the Year” by her fellow junior high school teachers.

Mrs. Eastman is consistently working to advance her students to higher levels of academic achievement through careful planning and focus on increasing her student’s educational excellence.  She works to motivate her students by encouraging them to exceed their expectations and their past mathematics performance.  Her caring and nurturing spirit supports her students both academically and socially.

Mrs. Eastman loves being a teacher because of the junior high school learners who walk into her classroom each day.  Each one of her students inspire her daily with their hard work, perseverance, and joy for learning. Mrs. Eastman’s students also encourage her with their curiosity, excitement for learning and passion for accomplishing difficult tasks.  Mrs. Eastman says she is so blessed to have a job in which every day is diverse, and is so privileged to work in the satisfying, life-changing career of teaching.

Columbia teachers recognize Mrs. Eastman for her leadership in the classroom and as an important part of the school improvement efforts.  For several years she coached the junior high school robotics teams and has served the district by teaching robotics during the summer to elementary students.  Her enthusiasm for learning in various settings is illustrated by her ability to demonstrate creativity and innovation in her lesson plans and using teaching methods that inspire students to learn.

The Columbia School District appreciates the hard work and excellence in education provided to our students in Mrs. Eastman’s classes.  The students benefit from her tenacity, educational enthusiasm, and positive ethical spirit.  Mrs. Eastman is an extraordinary dedicated teacher, blessed by her various teaching gifts. She is an exemplary teacher who fosters a collaborative environment for her students through her deep passion for learning.

Fun Ideas with Your Children!


Columbia School District parents and teachers often work collaboratively to support our young Golden Eagle students.  Here are some ideas to help show your children that you care by giving them attention while playing fun learning games at home.  You may want to establish a family fun time and try one of these creative activities. 

Play the thesaurus game.  Choose a word and let your child(ren) use their thesaurus, dictionary, or phone to look of the word.  The winner is the one who can find the most synonyms.  You could also go around the group of family or friends and have each person take turns adding a synonym that hasn’t been mentioned.  A slight twist on the game is to let your children take turns announcing the words.

Plan a scavenger hunt!  Make up your own list or download a scavenger hunt list from the internet and send your children on a scavenger hunt.  The list may be as intricate or as basic as need be for the ages of children playing the scavenger hunt game.  You could have them find something green, something square or other basic shape.  If it is nice outside you could broaden the list to search for to include leaves, bugs, or pine cones.

The observation game!  Look at a picture with your child(ren) and then put it aside.  Have your child(ren) write down all of the items they saw in the picture.


Play the newspaper match game!  After you are finished reading the newspaper, cut out the stories and separate them from the headlines.  Match the headlines to the stories.  A twist on this game: Take the headlines and try to write a short story to go with the headline.  Another option, write your own headlines.  If you want to talk to your children about the difference between facts and opinions, you could have them underline facts in one color and opinions in another color.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District, call 5175926641 or email me at Pamela.Campbell@myeagles.org.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

STEM at Columbia School District!


It is time for us to celebrate a wonderful first four months of the 2018-19 school year!  Working closely together with our community has helped to offer our students improved learning opportunities at Columbia Schools.  Many of our positive improvements reside under the umbrella of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  Teachers have increased their hands-on science teaching by using activities and strategies gained from work with the Battle Creek Math and Science Center curriculum. 

Our students from third through sixth grade have benefited by these STEM strategies and techniques.  One of the opportunities to engage students through innovative strategies is the Michigan League of Academic Games program (MLAG).  Columbia students have been working with Ms. Weidenbach and Miss Wing learning math games that focus on computation, problem solving and set theory.  During March some of the participants will represent Columbia in the annual MLAG State Tournament where they will gain positive experience competing against students from across the state!

Aligning with the STEM focus at Columbia School District, Columbia Elementary and Columbia Upper Elementary has Robotics Teams and our Junior and Senior High School has teams that provide our students with an opportunity to use the engineering and math concepts they learn in the classroom and apply it to building a functioning robot.  The students in robotics are given a challenge, so they build, program and operate their robot to complete the challenge.  In their technology class, students in Kindergarten through sixth grade have the opportunity to learn coding with Mr. Moore.  Students across the district have also enjoyed the STEM applications through our partnership with the Shop Rat Foundation and Consumers Energy. 

To support our students in this very important area of STEM, our teachers have participated in after school programs: Columbia Junior High School teachers tutor students across the curriculum in their after school program and Columbia Central High School teachers support  their students by providing expert assistance after school.  This past spring Ms. Samson received a grant from Lowes for two 3-D printers to assist in STEM.

This is an exciting time at Columbia School District!  Our terrific teachers and staff members have partnered with our parents and community to provide all of these and many more excellent educational opportunities for our students.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District and our positive STEM programs, email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call 5175926641.

Creative Writing at Columbia School District!


Imagine you were a world famous mountain climber and you were getting ready to climb Mt. Everest.  What would you take with you?  How would you prepare for this adventure?  How would you feel and what would you say and do when you reached the top?  These questions are an example of writing prompts a child may use for their personal or school journal.

Successfully raising a creative writer may be encouraged at home by using various activities to support your child’s writing.  One way you may support their writing is to make it a family activity, with prizes for the most inventive story about using a specific writing prompt.  Many children enjoy writing in a journal.  Help your child get started by letting them choose an attractive journal or making one out of a notebook and create an artistic cover.  Your support of their writing can be advantageous for your child even if they do not want to become a professional writer.  Many careers require that you know how to write well and effectively to be successful.

At Columbia School District teachers work with students to improve their academic success and ability to write creatively.  One of the ways that teachers facilitate learning is through creative writing.  Creative writing helps challenge the young children to become better problem solvers, and in turn helps to increase self-confidence.  As our teachers use their creative writing prompts to assist their young students increase their cognitive abilities, and improve their abilities in mathematics and science by learning to write descriptively.

For students who are working to improve their expertise in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), they enhance their abilities by using creative writing to support their learning.  No matter what their interest is, it is important for our children to become proficient in learning how to write well and write effectively.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District, email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call 5175926641.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Cash Bash is Coming!


The race to the Columbia School District Fifth Annual Golden Cash Bash on Saturday, February 23, 2019, is underway!  The Cash Bash began in 2015, as a fun-filled celebration of the fabulous programs and activities offered at Columbia!  The Cash Bash has raised almost $70,000 over the past four years.  Last year the Columbia Community came together to raise more than $18,000! 

The funds raised are focused on two main areas: Scholarships for Columbia Central High School Seniors and 3A’s Mini Grants.  Many area individuals and businesses donated items, services, and vacation spots to the Cash Bash Silent Auction.  In 2018 the Silent Auction raised $6,000 for Senior Scholarships.  The funds raised for the 3A’s Mini Grants, which stands for Academics, Arts, and Athletics, flow directly from the Cash Bash ticket sales and raffles held during the event.  Last spring, more than $12,000 was raised for the 3A’s Mini Grants.

Last year 18 seniors received scholarship funds from the funds raised from the Silent Auction.  With scholarship awards ranging from $100 to $500.  The students used their scholarships for books, tuition payments, and fees.  The generosity of the Columbia community has made a positive impact on more than 75 seniors over the past four years. 

The 3A’s Mini Grants have benefited our students by providing STEM activities, robotics parts, software programs to enhance learning opportunities, athletic items, field trips, and extra educational strategies.  The funds raised for the mini grants helped to extend the ability of our teachers and coaches to make a difference in the lives of Columbia children.  If you are interested in purchasing a ticket to this fun event or wish to donate to the Columbia School District Cash Bash, contact us at: 11775 Hewitt Rd, Brooklyn, MI 49230 or call 5175926641.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia Schools, call 5175926641 or email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org.


Monday, October 15, 2018

Technology at Columbia School District!


Recently I was involved in a discussion about how children learn in 2018, versus how they learned twenty years ago.   My sons have friends who are parents and several of them have iPads for their children.  My younger son, Jon, was using his iPad at one of his friend’s home and their nine-month-old daughter crawled over to see what he was doing and to “help” him.  She had her own iPad and used an application aimed at pre-toddlers.  Columbia preschool students seem to +have an innate ability to pick up one of the iPads and navigate to their area of academic application without direction from their teacher. 

The Columbia School District Technology Integration Vision Statement reads:  Columbia School District will provide reliable access to 21st Century technology in order to meet the diverse needs of all students, empowering them to be productive and responsible contributors in an ever changing global digital society.   As part of our goal to integrate technology into the curriculum, our Columbia kindergarten students through high school seniors are using Chromebooks.  This fall Columbia School District purchased another 140 Chromebooks to ensure our students have access to the technology that will lead to a successful future.  Our Vision Statement: Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow - focuses on our students learning in the most successful way, including using up to date technology.

Many of our elementary students are building online portfolios.  They are designing their portfolios and creating links to learning.   One of our elementary students showed me how she was building a website as part of an assignment for her social studies class.  She had to design a website to compare and contrast the New England states back in the Colonial days with today.   This task involved research, a lot of learning and integration of her technological skills with her recent acquisition of
knowledge.

Our students learn how to use Google docs to collaborate with their peers and work on the same document at the same time.  Learning is truly taking place anywhere, anyplace and anytime!   Our students have become proficient using technology because they of the access they have at school.

Not only do our students use Chromebooks, but many of our elementary students use iPads, and our high school students use Kindles.  Even the four-year-olds in our Great Start Readiness Program have the opportunity to take advantage of educational applications on the iPads to broaden and support the learning they do in class. 

Our teachers are excited to help students embark on new ways of learning through technology.  In addition to providing professional development to teachers to help them have the tools to empower their students to use technology effectively, our Bond issue provided updated wiring, additional wireless access points, new technology switches, and new computers and tablets.  As we work to keep Columbia School District students and teachers up to date with effective, reliable access to technology, we will continue to relate examples of how our students are benefiting from the integration of digital tools into the curriculum.  If you have questions regarding Columbia Schools, please email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org or call me at 5175926641.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Jumping into Education!


Hanging on to the screen for dear life, the praying mantis slowly made its way up towards the top.  Rather than walking through the foliage, this praying mantis was in the sun seemingly asking to come into the house.  I wondered what the mantis was thinking, if a mantis indeed thinks about anything, and just then it just hopped away!  Thinking about the mantis reminded me of how our elementary students sometimes start slowly and then when they get excited about learning, jump into an educational experience! 

At this time of the year our elementary students have just finished reviewing mathematics from last year and now are beginning to learn new information from their teachers.  If your budding mathematician is in second grade, he or she is learning to convert word problems into mathematical sentences.  Your child will learn to take information that describes everyday life and use it to form addition and subtraction problems.  Similarly to the way the praying mantis suddenly jumped from the screen, our second graders will leap into learning about fractions. 

While mathematics may be your child’s favorite subject, your second grader will also learn that reading takes first place in their classroom.  Reading is fundamental for learning.  It is the basis for science, social studies and much of mathematics.  Your second grader should be reading a minimum of 30 minutes each evening.  Second graders will enjoy reading more if they understand all the words in their books so helping them with their vocabulary is essential.  The more your child reads, and works on his or her vocabulary, the stronger their foundation will be as they gain more skills as a writer.

Writing is an important part of second grade.  Your second grader will work on proper sentence structure, capitalization and punctuation.  Your child’s teacher will be able to recommend some good techniques if you are interested in helping your child excel in writing.

Just as the praying mantis initially walked slowly up the screen, some second graders will seemingly start out slowly.  At home they may be easily distracted by television, video games, or their sister.  To help your second grader become successful, you will want to minimize the distractions and help your child focus.  While it may not be the most fun aspect of having a second grader, there will be times when you will want to sit next to him or her and patiently listen to questions and help to redirect his or her attention to his or her school work.  

Your child will watch and emulate you when it comes to learning activities.  Your enthusiasm for school and learning opportunities will help to energize his or her passion and willingness to spend time doing his or her school work.  Columbia Elementary School often has extended learning opportunities in science, mathematics and reading.  You will want to pay close attention to the school’s website and to newsletters and notes your child brings home in his or her backpack for opportunities to participate in learning activities.

If you are interested in learning more about your child’s grade level and the requirements, you may contact your child’s teacher or principal.  You may learn about registering your child for Columbia School District by calling me at 517-592-6641 or email me at pamela.campbell@myeagles.org.