The Beyond the Classroom program at Holy Trinity Catholic Schools has begun its 10th year. The goal of this enrichment program is to help develop students’ creative and higher order thinking skills.
This past fall the second- and third-graders are developing these skills with the help of six characters through the Primary Education Thinking Skills (P.E.T.S.) program. All characters have their own type of thinking skill. The students have met Dudley the Detective, who has enriched their deductive thinking with logic problems. Sybil the Scientist has taught about attributes. The students will continue this program throughout the year, meeting Isabel the Inventor (inventive thinking), Yolanda the Yarnspinner (creative thinking), Max the Magician (visual thinking), and Jordan the Judge (evaluative thinking).
Activities in the upper grades this fall are helping develop research skills and communication skills. The fourth-graders are researching the state of Iowa in preparation for the Artifact Box exchange. This is an interschool project where they prepare a set of “artifacts” that represent their town. The box will be exchanged with a “mystery” classroom somewhere in the United States. The Holy Trinity students will use more research skills trying to determine where the partner school is located.
Mystery abounds in the fifth-grade classroom as the students engage in a “Chocolate Mystery.” They began by trying to create their own recipe for the best chocolate bar ever. They then discovered that their recipe had been stolen and thus began the search for the suspect. Using their logical thinking skills, they have begun to narrow down the suspect list. However, the final culprit still is unknown as of this writing.
“Getting to Know Myself” is the theme of the sixth-grade program. The students are taking various tests: personality, multiple intelligences, learning styles. Students will then use the results to prepare a PowerPoint presentation about themselves for the class.
Future Problem Solving (FPS) is a program that the students also work on throughout the year. FPS is an international competition where the students work on a social issue set in the future. In the first scenario, the students researched healthy living and conducted the six-step problem solving process to help a fictional teen expand his potential for a healthy life.
The students at Holy Trinity Catholic Schools continue to be challenged and encouraged to develop into great thinkers.