A week in the life of CELC is quite an extraordinary thing.  Our days and weeks are so rich and varied.  This past week began with a typical start for a Monday.  Current events had students discussing topics ranging from Arizona border disputes to the pod of right  whales found near the Cape Cod Coast.

yogaTuesday afternoon we had a professional photography shoot at the Watering Pond Yoga Studio.   There’s more to this story, you may be thinking – yes, indeed there is! Dorothy, our yoga instructor, had an inspiration back in September when we began our once/month yoga classes to ultimately photograph CELCers in their favorite poses and to perhaps send the photos to the Yoga Journal or to create a calendar, all based on the theme of exploring body language and movement.

The most pronounced memory from the photo shoot was just how strong,

back bend yogacomfortable, and in-tune each student was when getting into a pose and while in front of the camera, be it downward-facing dog, a headstand, or pigeon.  A picture is worth a thousand words … take a look!

yoga spider pose
yoga plank
yoga warrior pose

Wednesday morning had students working with the team of architects from George Penniman Architects on a practice build for the upcoming CANstruction event, where students will construct their design of the train from The Little Engine That Could at the CT Science Center on 15 May. CANstruction practice build CELCers hard work at fundraising brought in $1115 and all of the cans purchased will be donated ultimately to the CT Food Bank. Canstruction practice buil

Thank you to our sponsors:

Emmons & Wilson Insurance

Ben & Jerry’s, Branford

Kid Wishes

Rock Garden

Lucy Tailors

NexGen Solutions

First Connecticut Credit Union

H. Pearce Real Estate

Dumark & Lindsay

Fired Up!


Anchor Capitol Services

Guilford Coin Exchange

Branford Flower Shop

MIX Design Store

Anne Penniman Associates, LLC

George Penniman Architects, LLC

Sunny Side Up Coffee Shop

Augur’s Irish Pub

The Village Chocolatier

Trudy’s European Shoes & Accessories

Claywell Jewelers

Security Systems Incorporated

Connecticut Experiential Learning Center

Big Y World Class Market

Willoughby’s Coffee & Tea

Lois Alcosser

Stephen Fennell

Linda Forgey

Heather Yencho

Catherine Young

Peggy Sullivan

The following description written by students describes the intent of this design: The beloved children’s story The Little Engine That Could is about a little blue engine that nobody thought could make it over the hill. The little engine proved them wrong, saying to himself, “I think I can, I think I can.”  Our structure symbolizes the engine climbing over the hill of hunger.  Our engine is the Engine of Hope!

Learning about governmentAnd then Thursday – the morning was spent with a parent of a CELC student who happens to be a lobbyist for the CT Business and Industry Association.  He enlightened all of us as to the inner workings of how bills get decided on and the process that takes place regarding legislation issues in Connecticut.  This was a precursor to our visit to the Capitol on Monday, where we will see the House and Senate in session and have a chance to meet with State Representative Pat Widlitz and Senator Ed Meyer.

Thursday afternoon was spent on a windy Hammonasset State Park participating in an environmental education program called Three Ecosystems, run by staff at Meig’s Point Nature Center.  While walking barefoot into the marsh, the knowledgeable staff shared with our students the vital role of the salt marsh, and later we explored rocky shore and sandy beach habitats and learned about the importance of caring for them.

Meig's Point touch tank

Friday’s Why Cook? class had a guest chef who worked with students as they learned a secret family recipe and prepared delicious stuffed-broccoli and spinach breads.
Stuffed breadSpinach bread
Friday also brought the CELCers to Short Beach to their art class, where they worked with watercolors and pastels to create beautiful 3-D floral designs as gifts for Mother’s Day.

Of course, along with all of those highlights were our academic subject areas that take place throughout each day.

In math some students worked on understanding – through diagrams and models- how to add fractions, while others worked on transforming algebraic formulae, cubic functions, and scientific notation.

In Connecticut history students re-enacted, through their own improvised skit, the story of The Charter Oak and began to read The Witch of Blackbird Pond. In U.S. history students were simultaneously hard at work understanding the effects of Reconstruction on state governments in the South, debating the effectiveness of the federal government’s response, and reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Spanish projects included composing and translating poetry, designing and illustrating a menu, writing letters to family members, creating a weather forecast, translating a popular song, reading Spanish newspapers, and conversing.

Rube Goldberg machines  Rube Goldberg machinesIn science class students worked on building their Rube Goldberg machines, using pulleys, levers, ramps, catapults and more.

And if that were not enough, students also spent time in Writers’ Workshop and Literature Circle, as well as reading, researching and beginning their first draft papers about ancient civilizations.  (Please join us on 28 May at the Blackstone Memorial Library from 1 – 3 p.m., as student share their learning about Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, the Huns, the Celts, and the Greeks).

Learning and growing is alive and well.  Check back again – next week’s highlights include a visit to Connecticut’s Capitol, outdoor education at Trap Rock Ridge Camp, circus class, and a pottery workshop. All in A Week in the Life of CELC – middle school at its finest!joy