ESY is halfway over. Summer is flying by!

ESY is halfway over. Summer is flying by!

July 18-July 22, 2016 We have hit our half way mark! Week 3 was Art Week. Who doesn’t love to get messy?? A few projects included making liquid sidewalk chalk, and painting on canvas. The students concocted liquid chalk by measuring and mixing corn starch, water, and food coloring. They poured the mixture into squeeze bottles, and painted our sidewalks and parking lot. For the canvas, the kids used tape to form the first letter of his or her name. They then used their creativity to paint the canvas. We all loved seeing each other’s idea for how to fill the canvas. After it dried we pulled the tape off and viola, they each had a personal masterpiece! Coach Alex and Coach Stephanie from Playtime Sports were back this week to teach us more about tennis and team work! We broke up into two teams and competed in relays, balancing the tennis ball on the “sweet spot” of the racket. There was also time for the students to work on their racket skills. Cathedral Kitchen was so impressed with what the students were able to accomplish for them last week that they asked for more help. The students have loved being able to give back and jumped at the chance to do more. This week, the kids bagged plastic utensils and napkins for Cathedral Kitchen to use as place settings at meal time. This week’s field trip was in honor of our summer read at Orchard Friends.  We went to Regal Cinema to watch “The BFG.” We are currently reading Roald Dahl’s book, The BFG as a school and we couldn’t...
2nd Week of ESY was a Multisensory, Roaring Success!

2nd Week of ESY was a Multisensory, Roaring Success!

July 11-July 15, 2016 Week 2 – Animal Week – of ESY has come to an end. We started with learning about all different types of animals. One topic studied was bears. We played a multisensory game where students had to collect “food.”  A typical black bear needs to eat between 11-18 pounds of food daily to stay healthy – it’s no easy task! Students also made blue jell-o cups to look like fish bowls and collected things from nature to make animal art. As part of our summer program, Orchard is partnering with Cathedral Kitchen in Camden. The students are learning the importance of service and giving back to those less fortunate. This week, they bagged hundreds of cookies and we sent them off to the Cathedral Kitchen community. The students were very excited about giving back. Coach Alex and Coach Stephanie from Playtime Sports are also a new addition to our summer program. Each Wednesday Alex and Stephanie will teach our students the fundamentals of tennis. This week, students participated in agility exercises, learned the fundamentals of tennis including  volley and forehand shots and of course played fun teamwork games. To top off our Animal Week we visited the Philadelphia Zoo. It was a scorcher, but we learned a lot and had fun while doing so! Our favorite part was the new “Big Cat Crossing,” a mesh-engineered overhead passageway that encourages lions, tigers, pumas and jaguars to explore above us. Another big hit was the new children’s section of the zoo called the “KidZooU.” There were plenty of hands on activities that taught about different animal habitats...
OFS Extended School Year Kicks Off July 5 – July 8

OFS Extended School Year Kicks Off July 5 – July 8

Orchard Friends’ ESY (extended school year) kicked off last week. The students were excited to see their friends after having a two week break. They got right down to business and have been working hard in their morning classes: reading and math. Our theme for the week was “American History.” In our action-packed afternoons, students learned about the first 4th of July and the origin of the American Flag. Students and teachers worked collaboratively to make a large American Flag out of paper links. We also got into the kitchen to make American flag rice crispy treats. Students learned about how early Americans used quill pens for writing before our modern pens were invented. We then turned feathers into our own quill pens. Everyone got to practice writing with their own quill pen and learned it’s harder than it looks! The week’s grand finale included a field trip to the Battleship New Jersey. Students sat in the chair from which Admiral Halsey commanded the fleet during World War II. They stretched out on the bunks where the sailors slept. They climbed into the 16” gun turret and learned how the projectiles were loaded. Stay tuned for next week’s adventures…  ...
Horseback Riding Field Trip

Horseback Riding Field Trip

Our adventure in May was a trip to Flora Lea Farm‘s Kaleidoscope Therapeutic Riding Program. We were more than eager to meet the horses and the people who take care of them. We each took a turn walking Romeo, along the outside track. He and Ms. Barb wanted to show us some of their beautiful land on their Medford farm. Since it was a very hot day, Romeo led us inside to meet his buddy, Scout, a medium sized paint pony. Scout and Romeo loved to be groomed. Ms. Barb taught us some of the proper grooming techniques. She taught us where to stand and which brushes work well on the different parts of a horse‘s body.  We also learned tacking, the proper way to prepare a horse for riding. Ms. Barb showed us how to put on the soft blanket and the fasten the saddle. While we awaited our turns, we learned the different parts of the horse.Then it was off to the races! Teddy Bear, a dark brown thoroughbred, Chief, a large paint pony, and Cash, a chestnut, carefully and sweetly prepared for their riders. One, by one, Ms. Kelly, Ms. Courtney, and Ms. Alex helped us onto our horses. We learned to put our left foot in the closest  stirrup and swing our right leg up and over the horse. Teddy Bear, Chief, and Cash were more than happy to show us around their paddock. We moved them in and out of the cones, and practiced our stretching to improve our core muscles. We let go of the reins to stretch all the way up, and all the way down while we were riding around the indoor ring. Our favorite part was when...
Idiom of the Week at OFS

Idiom of the Week at OFS

by Pam Dougherty Does your child have difficulty understanding figurative language? Children with language based learning differences often do. It is important for every child at OFS to understand idioms and how adults and other kids use them, since they are so common in everyday conversation. Idioms are commonly used phrases that say one thing but mean something completely different. Like “spill the beans”, “piece of cake” or “it’s raining cats and dogs.” Many students at OFS are literal thinkers and find idioms confusing. Each week at OFS we showcase a different idiom. In our morning collection, the entire school gathers and discusses that week’s idiom. To explain it, we act it out, use pictures, tell stories and tie it to real world experiences. Our staff then incorporates the idiom throughout the day in class time, lunch and recess. We help our students  get a grasp on the most used idioms. We work toward making him or her more comfortable in conversations and social situations. They gain a better understanding of what’s really being said. Not only does a better understanding of figurative language improve social situations, but mastering them adds color and interest to writing. By developing a clear understanding of figurative language, students can also further comprehend texts that contain metaphorical and lexical meanings beyond the basic word level. Stop in to see what idiom we are working on this...
OFS Geography Fair March 4, 2016

OFS Geography Fair March 4, 2016

by Pam Dougherty Since the start of school in September, every student at OFS has been learning geography at their own instructional level. Each class started with learning the basics of geography such as land forms, climates, and map skills. The students then moved on to learning about continents, countries, and oceans. As we approached winter break, we incorporated studying various holiday traditions from around the world. Students loved learning about the different stories of Santa Claus, exotic foods, and unique traditions that people have. In January, it was announced that OFS would host a Geography Fair. The students were ecstatic  to show off what they had been learning to their family and friends. This project based activity allowed each student to pick their own country, research it, and use their unique learning style and creativity to present it. For over a month, the entire school community worked enthusiastically on this event. March 4th was the big day, the Geography Fair! Students anxiously set up their tables with tri-folds, some brought picture books, ipads, music, food from their country, clothing, lego models,photos, and items from their travels. A few students who attend OFS have been internationally adopted from places like China, Guatemala, and Kazakhstan. The fair gave theses students the unique opportunity to teach the community about their birth country and culture. Parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbors filled our gathering room. The turnout was overwhelming. Each guest “traveled” from country to country with their pretend passport. Students stood proudly by their displays and taught our guests and each other what they had been learning and preparing for all year. We...