A new type of enrichment involving summer learning with the arts is disguising lessons in fun activities.
In Colorado Springs School District 11, regular summer school has been replaced by Summer Enrichment, where learning is fun.
“It’s all about engagement and choices,” said Tom Fleecs, fine arts facilitator for D-11’s Summer Enrichment series. “The program is meant to engage students so they don’t even know they’re learning skills.”
Rather than continuing normal school activities by improving core subjects in a traditional lesson, Summer Enrichment is a new type of program, engaging students with projects that are fun while their minds are stimulated and active. Each course combines fine art, drama, or music with subjects such as science, math, English, and foreign languages.
D-11 teacher Jennifer Heiss coached a small group of elementary students as they built DNA models with red licorice, marshmallows, and toothpicks.
“They’re not going to remember thymine and guanine in high school biology but they will remember there are four bases to DNA because they used four colored marshmallows,” she said. “They’re getting the fundamentals of molecular biology and the essence of DNA, and I think it will stay with them.”