CE Today: February 3 — Jacques-Yves Cousteau Publishes “The Silent World”


(Image source: www.amazon.com)

French oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau published one of his most famous works, “The Silent World,” on Feb. 3, 1953. The book detailed his early underwater explorations, made possible through his own invention: the Aqua-Lung, or the first scuba.

Cousteau served in the French navy and wanted to develop a self-contained underwater breathing device, so divers did not have to be tethered to the surface. He designed the Aqua-Lung with help from engineer Emile Gagnan, then developed underwater cameras and photography. He used his new inventions to explore shipwrecks for the navy, and explored ancient wrecks and sea life as a hobby.

He published a memoir, “The Silent World,” in 1953, and began work on a film version with director Louis Malle. It was released to global acclaim three years later, winning Best Documentary at the Academy Awards and the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The film revealed the underwater world to the public for the first time.

Cousteau went on to earn many awards and accolades, develop several additions and improvements to scuba, and become a passionate environmentalist. He died June 25, 1997, at the age of 87, but his message has been preserved in his many books and films, and by the Cousteau Society and Equipe Cousteau.


Cousteau.org: “The Captain”
History.com: “Cousteau publishes The Silent World”

CE Today: October 7 — Chicago “Cubs” Win Game Two of the 1882 “World’s Series”

In honor of the Chicago Cubs’ appearance at the National League Wild Card game tonight, we decided to take a look back at their history for the CE Today post.


The 1882 Chicago White Stockings team photo. (Photo source: www.thedeadballera.com)

Back in 1882, when they were known as the Chicago White Stockings, the now-Cubs earned their first postseason win on Oct. 7, playing against the Cincinnati Red Stockings (now the Reds). The two teams were competing in a predecessor to the World Series.

Major League Baseball lists 1903 as the first year of the World Series, but before the championships of today, there was the Championship of the United States, also known as the World’s Championship Series. The top teams from the Major League Baseball leagues would play each other in the series, just like today, but in 1882, the two leagues were the National League and the American Association.


The “Back to the Future” paper that seems to predict the Cubs winning the 2015 World Series.

The Chicago White Stockings were down one game after the Red Stockings’ Oct. 6 win, but they managed to even the series with their 2-0 victory on Oct. 7.

The Cubs have not won the Series since 1908, but this is their year, according to one source: Marty McFly and the “Back to the Future” movies. Cubs fans are certainly hoping history repeats itself.

CE Today: September 9 — Congress Names the USA

USA_flagThe United States of America was not always know by its current name. Originally, people referred to nation as the “United Colonies.” On Sept. 9, 1776, the Continental Congress formally declared the new nation to be states instead of colonies. The declaration read:

“That in all continental commissions, and other instruments, where, heretofore, the words ‘United Colonies have been used, the stile be altered for the future to the ‘United States.'”

The Declaration of Independence actually refers to the “United Colonies,” though it does state that they are “free and independent States….” By September, that document had been drafted, signed, printed, and sent to Great Britain. Declaring themselves the United States of America was a way to emphasize the country’s independence: a new name for a new nation.

CE Today: August 5 — National Premiere of “American Bandstand”


Image source: thevistapress.com.

“American Bandstand” started as a local show on Philadelphia’s WFIL-TV channel, but host Dick Clark’s vision and ambition got it picked up for a national premiere on August 5, 1957. The show featured popular music and “average teenagers” who would dance to, discuss, and rate the records played, while also showcasing fashion trends of the time. Being featured on the show could rocket a musician or band to fame, while being passed over could ensure they were forgotten.

The show eventually moved to Los Angeles and changed to a weekly format, but continued to be hosted by Clark until the late 1980s. It was the longest-running weekly pop music showcase TV program, until “Top of the Pops” broke its record in 2001.

History.com: “American Bandstand goes national”
USA TODAY: “Curtain falls on Dick Clark, but not on his legacy”
Internet Movie Database: “American Bandstand”

Show Choir Camp Press Release

ShowChoirCamp-fromcatalogWDMCS Community Education’s Summer of Learning is offering Show Choir Camp for students entering grades 5–7 from 1–4 p.m. on July 27–31, at Stilwell Junior High, 1601 Vine St., West Des Moines.

Show Choir Camp is for any students with an interest in singing and dancing. Students will learn song sets, large- and small-group choreography, vocal techniques, and singing in harmony. This camp is a show choir opportunity for students who want to improve their singing and dancing skills. Show Choir Camp promotes self-confidence on and off the stage. Family and friends can attend a concert on the last day of camp, and students will receive a free camp T-shirt.

Registration information can be found at http://bit.ly/1eCtwHr or by calling (515) 633-5001.

Preschool Creations Press Release

PreschoolCreations_registration_for-blogPreschool students can cultivate their creativity and stay busy this summer with Preschool Creations, a WDMCS Community Education Summer of Learning class.

Two exciting options are available to inspire their imaginations from 9–11 a.m., July 27–31, at Westridge Elementary, 5500 E.P. True Parkway, West Des Moines.

The “Creative Little Hands” class offers preschoolers a chance to explore and express themselves through a variety of hands-on art activities. They will experiment with drawing, painting, clay, 3-D art, and more while working inside and outside. This class is taught by Amanda Farrell, a certified preschool teacher.

Sara Schneider, a certified preschool teacher and experienced cake decorator, will be teaching preschoolers to combine art and science with “Cake Creating.” The class will use science skills to mix ingredients, make frosting, and bake the cakes. Students will develop their creative skills by decorating the cakes, then taste their creations.

These programs are for children 3–5 years old who are successfully potty-trained and able to separate from their parents. Students will get messy during the creative process, so it is best for them to wear clothes that can get dirty.

Registration is open until July 20. Registrations after this time will be charged a $25 late fee. Online registration can be found at http://bit.ly/1eGRlhj, or call (515) 633-5001 for more information.


CE Today: July 8 — The U.S.A. First Celebrates Its Independence

Modern U.S. citizens know July 4 as Independence Day. The recent holiday is celebrated as the day the 13 original colonies officially declared themselves a new nation.


Image source: http://www.archives.gov/

What current citizens may not know is that independence was actually declared on July 2, at a meeting of the Continental Congress. July 4 is celebrated because it is the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted. The nature of communication in 1776 caused some delay getting the word out, which resulted in confusion about the order of events.

So, how is July 8 significant? After its adoption, the declaration had to be printed, then sent out for public readings. The signing likely did not end until October or November, but it seems relatively certain that the first independence celebration took place on this day, July 8, in 1776.

The Liberty Bell, widely believed to have been rung in celebration until it cracked on July 4, was actually rung on July 8 to announce public readings of the declaration.


Time.com: The Top 5 Myths About the Fourth of July
National Geographic: 9 Fourth of July Myths Debunked
History.com: The Liberty Bell Rings

Science Exploration 2015 Press Release

chemistry_setWDMCS Community Education’s Summer of Learning is offering Science Exploration for students entering grades 1–7 at Jordan Creek Elementary School. The students will explore many different areas of science in a fun and exciting environment. The program will be held July 20–24 and is offered in the mornings, afternoons, or full days.

Students entering grades 1–3 have the opportunity to have “Deep Sea Adventures” or explore “Electricity, Energy, and Power” during the morning sessions. Students will be able to explore the ocean and its incredible creatures or become an energy explorer, using scientific and creative skills. The afternoon offers opportunities to go on “Dinosaur Digs” or study “Weather Wonders.” Students will learn to think like paleontologists or find out about different weather patterns and forecasting.

Students in grades four through seven can spend the morning “Exploring Rocketry” or learning about “Crime Scene Investigations.” They can learn real-life forensic skills like fingerprinting and chromatography or soar into the sky with water-propelled rockets. The afternoon holds more fun and excitement with “Ecosystem Interactions” and “Exciting Experiments,” where students will carry out several exciting experiments that will teach them about the scientific process.

Registration is still open and can be found here. Call 515-633-5001 or click here  for more information.

Summer Adventures in Learning 2015 Press Release

sail_press_release_2015WDMCS Community Education is offering a week-long program called Summer Adventures in Learning (SAIL) that offers refresher classes in reading, writing and math, as well as enrichment classes like chess, computers, art, science, and much more. This program is offered to grades 1–7. By offering four different class times throughout the day, SAIL gives students and parents the ability choose classes that not only fit their needs and interests, but their schedules as well. Students can take one or two classes, or attend the whole day by taking four classes and staying for lunch and recess.

Classes run 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., July 6–10, at Jordan Creek Elementary, 4105 Fuller Road, West Des Moines. Grades listed for each class indicate the grade students will be entering in the 2015-16 school year.

Creative Courses

Art 101, 12:30–1:55 p.m., grades 4–7

Students will gain inspiration from famous artists and their art, then create their own artwork. They will have the chance to explore different types of media and work with different techniques during each class.

Art Discoveries, 8:45–10:10 a.m., grades 2–3

This class will make art of every kind through many different mediums, from watercolor to papier-mâché to charcoal. Students will create original artwork from their own imaginations.

Art Exploration, 10:15–11:40 a.m., grades 3–5

Students will explore many different approaches to art while experimenting with a variety of art mediums, like charcoal, watercolors, and papier-mâché. The class will look at many different sources of inspirations and explore their own individual inspirations.

Art, Music and Movement, 8:45–10:10 a.m., grade 1

This class will experience a wide variety of activities while creating puppets, performing plays, building sculptures, and experimenting with paint and chalk. Students will also learn songs and dances to go along with them.

LEGO® Creations, grades 1–7

Students in this fun, creative class will create masterpieces based on popular children’s books. First, the class will listen to a popular book and then create a plan based on it. After getting creative with LEGO® bricks, students will share their creations with the entire class.

  • Grades 1–2 — 8:45–10:10 a.m.
  • Grades 5–7 — 10:15–11:40 a.m.
  • Grades 3–4 — 12:30–1:55 p.m.

Math Courses

Challenge Math, grades 2–5

This class makes math fun and challenging using games, puzzles, and new concepts. The class focus is on district benchmarks and standards.

  • Grades 2–3 — 10:15–11:40 a.m.
  • Grades 4–5 — 12:30–1:55 p.m.

Developmental Math, grades 2–7

This class will sharpen math skills learned throughout the school year with math games and activities that are grade-level appropriate. Students will refresh their skills using real-life applications, Everyday Math games, and different mathematical strategies.

  • Grades 4–5 — 8:45–10:10 a.m.
  • Grades 6–7 — 8:45–10:10 a.m.
  • Grades 2–3 — 10:15–11:40 a.m.

Everyday Math Games, grades 2–7

Students will spend time playing games to build math skills. Games are aligned and incorporated into the Everyday math curriculum and enforce concepts taught in the curriculum.

  • Grades 5–7— 10:15–11:40 a.m.
  • Grades 2–4 — 12:30–1:55 p.m.

Mega Math, 10:15–11:40 a.m., grade 1

Students will review kindergarten math concepts and prepare for first grade. Learn concepts like numeration, operations, patterns, and geometry through songs, games, and books.

Reading and Writing Courses

Reader’s Theater, grades 2–5

This class is a fun way to enhance students’ reading fluency, listening skills, confidence, and social skills. Students will perform different scripts and roles throughout the course.

  • Grades 4–5 — 8:45–10:10 a.m.
  • Grades 2–3 — 2–3:30 p.m.

Reading Adventures, 12:30–1:55 p.m., grades 2–3

Students will review reading strategies covered during the year and strengthen skills to prepare for next year through several hands-on activities.

Reading/Writing Strategies, 2–3:30 p.m., grades 4–5

This class will teach new strategies for reading content, improving writing skills, and solving reading problems. Students will work on reading various genres, guided reading activities, and writing in different styles.

Reading/Writing Success, 10:15–11:40 a.m., grades 6–7

This class will teach new strategies for reading content fluently, solving reading problems, and improving reading skills. Students will work on vocabulary, reading for meaning, and understanding the story and storytelling. Students will also learn about the full writing process and writing concepts like voice, word choice, and sentence fluency.

Seuss-cessful Writing, 2–3:30 p.m., grades 2–3

Students in the Seuss-cessful Writing class will read favorite Dr. Seuss books and complete creative reading, writing, and science activities that correlate with the books.

Sports Spectacular, 10:15–11:40 a.m., grades 2–4

This class will teach students about fiction, nonfiction, poetry, reader’s theater, and math story problems all about sports and teamwork. Students will be up and moving while participating in team-building activities and games throughout the course.

Science Courses

Camping Adventures, 8:45–10:10 a.m., grades 2–3

This class will learn about nocturnal animals like bats, owls, and fireflies through hands-on activities. They will also discover nature and the outdoors through various experiments.

Fun in the Sun, 12:30–1:55 p.m., grades 1–2

This class will encourage students to explore the summer season through water experiments and more. Students will develop their problem-solving skills while working together on hands-on experiments and having fun. The creative projects will use a variety of materials and can be shared at home.

Science Adventures, grades 2–7

Students will explore the world around them and learn how various things work the way they do. Using observational skills and creative investigations, this class will explore the science of the world we live in.

  • Grades 5–7 — 8:45–10:10 a.m.
  • Grades 2–4 — 10:15–11:40 a.m.

Super Duper Science, 12:30–1:55 p.m., grade 1

This class will explore the world of science by working with “gack.” Students will mix primary colors, make predictions and classify bugs.

Technology Courses

Computer Adventures, 10:15–11:40 a.m., grades 1–2

This class will sharpen students’ computer skills as they have fun drawing, writing and recording on the computer.  They will also discover fun, new sites on the Internet while inscreasing their technology skills.

Computer Coding & Programming, 12:30–1:55 p.m., grades 5–7

Students in this class will learn about the “Hour of Code” and many other opportunities to learn computer coding online. The class will experiment with the basics and teach students how to practice coding at home.

iPad Adventures, grades 1–7

Students who take this class will explore the iPad, while discovering fun, educational apps and learning new tricks!

  • Grades 1–3 — 12:30–1:55 p.m.
  • Grades 4–7 — 2–3:30 p.m.

PowerPoint Potential, 2–3:30 p.m., grades 4–7

This class will teach students to take homework, reports, and presentations to a new level that will dazzle teachers. Learn how to illustrate words with graphics and create animation in your presentations.

Technology Fun, 8:45–10:10 a.m., grades 3–4

Students will use computers for subjects like math, social studies, and language arts. They will learn programs like Kidspiration, PowerPoint, and Microsoft Word, practice navigating the Internet and typing skills and read books online.

General Knowledge Courses

Camp First Grade Foundations, 2–3:30 p.m., grade 1

Students will enjoy a fun camp experience while focusing on first grade readiness skills. We will review kindergarten math concepts, reading, and writing through various activities, games, and songs. Students will leave camp prepared for their first-grade year.

Chess, grades 1–7

Chess is a fun way to develop strong critical-thinking skills. Students will learn the basics of the game, including strategy and play, from chess coach Ben Munson.

  • Session 1 — 8:45–10:10 a.m.
  • Session 2 — 10:15–11:40 a.m.

Sign Language, grades 1–7

Students in this class will explore a quiet and expressive way to communicate. They will learn the alphabet, basic vocabulary, simple phrases, and the basics of fingerspelling. The class will also sign to music and learn about Deaf culture.

  • Grades 4–7 — 12:30–1:55 p.m.
  • Grades 1–3 — 2–3:30 p.m.

Where Are We?, 2–3:30 p.m., grades 1–3

This class will teach students how to use maps and globes while studying where they are in the world. Students will also learn how to travel and how to read maps using a legend and cardinal directions. They will have the opportunity to make their own creative maps to take home.

For more information about SAIL, call 515-633-5001 or Click Here.

Art Adventures 2015 Press Release

art_adventures_press_release_2015WDMCS Community Education’s Summer of Learning is offering Art Adventures for students entering grades 1–7.  Students will get creative while exploring a variety of materials, techniques and artists. The program is July 13–17 and is offered in the mornings, afternoons, or full days.

Students entering grades 1–3 have the opportunity to use a variety of art mediums and take inspiration from a multitude of famous artists. Each day, a new art adventure awaits the students, whether it is an underwater exploration, a “trip” to space, or a safari at the zoo. Students have the opportunity to create different projects, both 2-D and 3-D, in morning and afternoon sessions. This program is taught by Deb Flagg at Jordan Creek Elementary, 4105 Fuller Road, West Des Moines.

Students in grades 4–7 will get inspired by famous artists and their artwork. The class will start by looking at famous artists and studying their work. Then the students will use what they have learned to create artwork of their own. Students will have a chance to experiment with different types of media and work in different techniques for each lesson. Multiple projects will be created at each session, and students will explore 2-D projects in the morning session and 3-D projects in the afternoon session. This program is taught by Erica Jaramillo at Crossroads Park Elementary, 1050 50th St., West Des Moines.

Registration is still open and can be found here. Call (515) 633-5001 or click here  for more information.