Homework: Northside event involves students, families in effort to extend learning

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Northside Child Development Center's curriculum night offered a fun opportunity to involve students' families and a way to extend their learning into the students' homes.
The night invited children to bring parents, family members or friends to the school and experience some of the activities that Northside provides.
The program was attended by about 150 people on Tuesday night and had groups rotate through six different, 15-minute stations.
Each station concentrated on a different educational area and offered the students a way to practice their skills at home by helping them to make games and giving them activities to take home with them.
The stations included working with math and numbers, fine and gross motor skills, language, listening comprehension and rhyming.
Northside teachers Leslie Krouk and Jean Wertnz led an entertaining listening comprehension activity in which the teachers allowed the students to give them directions for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Krouk and Wertnz took all of the children's directions literally until the students used the correct words to complete the task.
When a student told Krouk to put the peanut butter and jelly on the bread, Krouk placed the jars on top of the bread. When she was told to take the peanut butter out of the jar, Krouk reached her hand in the jar because the student forgot to tell her to use the knife.
After about five minutes of instructions, the students eventually gave the teachers the specific directions they were looking for.
Krouk said the activity provides a fun way to teach the children to use their language effectively and understand directions.
Northside teacher Donna Dodge led an activity to help students recognize letters and their sounds.
The students and their guests worked to create a game in which the students went fishing for the different letters of the alphabet.
The gymnasium was full of fun activities to help develop gross motor skills including trampolines, balance beams and some hand-eye coordination games.
Northside teacher Kathy Hartsell helped the students in the gym and gave parents a worksheet of things to practice at home that included balance, locomotor (transport), and body and space awareness activities..
Teacher Sue Benjamin led a number recognition activity and also helped them to create a game to take home.
She thinks the curriculum night is a great way to involve the students and their families.

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