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K-3 Voting for Monarch Award

The tale of Gaston, a stocky, white bulldog won the hearts of Chiaravalle K-3 students, as well as those statewide, as part of the Monarch Award (aka the Illinois Reader's Choice Award.)

At Chiaravalle, kindergarten through 3rd grade students used pennies to vote for their favorite among the nominated picture books. The Monarch symbolizes the growth, change, and freedom becoming a reader brings — and the award is designed to encourage children to read critically from a list of 20 illustrated children's books.

Chiaravalle News

In late January, Chiaravalle Middle School students kicked off the first Media Arts Unit in partnership with the MetaMedia studio at the McGaw YMCA.


Chiaravalle Art/Maker Space Specialist Sarah Laing worked with Sam Phillips, MetaMedia Manager and fellow at Stanford University's FabLearn to create the foundation of a curriculum which integrates arts/design ed and new media. Students will gain experience with digital and fabrication tools while also exploring their own interests.


Day 1 of the 6 week unit started with a general overview of the program which will include woodcarving, photoshop, CAD, 3-D printing, digital animation, and green screen work. The kids designed portraits that then were scanned into computers and learned a program called Carvey and had their portraits carved into a digital wood fabricator.


MetaMedia is a free resource for students in grades 6-8 after school. Sarah's hope is that after this introduction, Chiaravalle students will take further advantage of the tools and resources to continue with personal projects on their own time.

Chiaravalle News


Chiaravalle Montessori Middle School students are building a Food Computer as part of the MIT OpenAg project.


Food Computers, the brainchild of Caleb Harper of MIT are small-scale open source environments designed to encourage discovery-based learning in biology, botany, environment, programming, and engineering. Chiaravalle Middle School students are creating a sensor-controlled hydroponic and aeroponic agriculture system roughly the size of a large garbage bin. The OpenAg program invites students to create their own climate recipes and to adjust, adapt and hack the system.

Harper describes the end product as, "a controlled-environment agriculture technology that uses robotic systems to control and monitor climate, energy, and plant growth inside of a specialized growing chamber."


The Chiaravalle Middle School Food Computer is in the design/build stage. Students work with Middle School Science/Math teacher Jake Roth and the school's Imagineer Joe Juhnke. Geometry math students are leading the student teams.

For Chiaravalle, this ties together Montessori discovery-based learning philosophy and an integrated curriculum. For 15+ years, Chiaravalle Middle School students have grown hydroponic basil and sold it to families and local restaurants as part of micro-economy lessons, another key feature in Montessori middle schools; the Food Computer brings STEAM into this experience. From the time these students were toddlers, the idea that they are stewards of the earth is woven into the curriculum.

Resources:

MIT OpenAg http://openag.media.mit.edu/

Joe Juhnke, Imagineer http://www.novemberkiloecho.com/

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