Academic Update: Mr. Christie graciously provided us the update today on his three different math classes. In A Block Geometry/Algebra 2, Mr. Christie’s students made comparisons to finding the a, b, and c of the Pythagorean Theorem to finding the a, b and c of the quadratic function. Students reviewed the term coefficient, and what function of x means with respect to x and y. In Algebra 2, students continued exploring polynomial factoring which combines properties of exponents and quadratic factoring. Students were extremely engaged in this process and are showing tremendous growth in this capacity. Lastly, in C Block Geometry, students were introduced to trigonometry, exploring the sine, cosine, and tangent functions. Students used the mnemonic device SOH CAH TOA to help solve trigonometry examples.
Activity Update: Students participating in tennis have been extremely busy learning the ins and outs of the game, especially in light of yesterday’s EPIC Wimbledon Men’s Final match between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. They learned the difference between the various lines on the court, and the nuances of the singles vs. doubles game. This week they will continually practice their forehand and backhand shots to various parts of the court. The backhand is traditionally one of the most difficult shots in tennis, but our players are determined to attain proficiency at it. The players will also frequently practice their serves, trying to develop consistent and challenging initiations. As the week continues, players should find their conditioning levels improved with faster lateral movements to get to balls they otherwise thought impossible.
Aligning with the Week 3 theme, "Advocate for Yourself", Monday night's community event was hosted by Forman Dean of Faculty, Ms. Francey Fenton, and centered around Audre Lorde's inspiring words: “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” To recognize inherent biases, students participated in the Bag of Differences activity where they randomly selected one out of 47 bags of various amounts/types of candy--individually wrapped for sanitary concerns!--and tried to trade, or not if so desired, for 10 minutes on their own terms until they were content with what they had. Students were able to relate the activity to real-life inequalities and engaged in constructive discussions. To accept differences, students completed the Power Flower exercise to embrace their own identities and heard personal narratives from Ms. Fenton about her journey of self-empowerment. In addition to their hard-won bags of candy, students left the event with three things they can do to celebrate differences, as advocated by Audre Lorde : educate others, speak even when afraid, and create alliances.
Today students started with a lovely brunch and then half of the students travelled to Danbury Mall for the trip-of-the-day to retrieve necessary essentials for Week 3. The Danbury Mall Trip was so popular that two busses needed to be sent to help all students meet their needs. When they returned, students were required to clean their dorm rooms, making sure that they were abiding by all Residential Life policies and habits for on-campus living.
Since it is the last day of Week 2, in honor of our “Assist Yourself” theme, we asked some students to reflect upon a number of different questions. Here are their responses below:
Q: What is a strategy or tool you have learned about this past week that you plan to use to help yourself be a better student next year?
A: Learning how to properly read a textbook by first pre-reading, reading, then rereading. I think this will help me next year because I will be able to retain more information than I have before. - Cannon C.
A: At The Forman Summer program, I was taught strategies and tools to accommodate my learning differences. In my Language Arts class Ms. Chen taught me tools on how to write structure paragraphs and essays. - Ethan A.
A: I found that two column notes can be a helpful way to take notes and also helped with remembering the information later. - Lark
A: How to prioritize things! I used to struggle with when and in what order to do things and I feel I have learned how to decide what to do first. - Sophia
A: The learning technique I will take back with me after summer school is, how to make a smart goal. - Shelby
Q: What has been your favorite part of Week 2 and why?
A: Playing Nuke ‘em with my friends because it was a game I had played before. I’m happy I got the chance to play it with new people. It was very competitive and a lot of fun. -- Cannon C.
A: Activities have been my favorite thing about camp but if I had to choose just one to be my favorite I would choose horseback riding. - Maxine
A: My favorite part during week 2 was Ms. Chen’s class because she inspires me to write more by her stories that she tells in class. She taught me how to take the key words from directions and turn it into an introduction sentence. - Ethan A.
Q: What do you think makes Forman Summer different from any other summer program you previously attended?
A: I think that The Forman summer program was different from every other that I have been to because I am able to learn and keep my brain motivated during the summer without having to be stressed with school work. The afternoon is also one of my favorite parts of the day because I am able to spend time with my friends while doing my favorite activities.- Ethan A.
A: I have never been to any other summer program but Forman has been very helpful. I have got the chance to meet new people and I am actually having fun in the classes which is new for me. - Cannon C.
Today Forman Summer students and staff enjoyed a day trip to Six Flags New England, an amusement park located in Agawam, Massachusetts. Six Flags has rides for all ages and all levels of thrill-seekers, so nobody was left out on the fun!
Many students and staff members enjoyed Superman: The Ride. Superman is considered a hypercoaster since it is over 208 feet tall and boasts a CRAZY 221 foot drop. Riders travel the 5,400 feet of looping, twisting, and corkscrewing track at around 77 miles per hour. Some students made this their very first roller coaster ride ever! Might as well only try the best! Students and staff also enjoyed the Joker, as well as some oldies-but-goodies, wooden roller coasters, The Cyclone and The Thunderbolt.
Six Flag’s resident water park, Hurricane Harbor, offered a number of amenities to help us cool off on this hot July Day. Students loved the massive wave pool, lazy river, and multiple types of water slides. It was awesome to see the friendships that have already developed here at Forman Summer, as students tripled-, quadrupled-, or grouped-up to ride some of the tube and rafting rides.
A number of our students found success at various amusement park games today! They took home stuffed animals and had a lot of fun shooting basketballs, whacking some moles, throwing skee-balls, shooting water guns, and playing a bunch of other fun games. It was awesome to see all of our students wearing their white Forman Summer t-shirts, as well as bright smiles throughout the day.
Upon returning home and after dinner, students played Games on the Green and made s’mores by a campfire. They are extremely tired from their eventful day, but excited to continue making memories here at Forman Summer.
Academic Update: Mr. Burkhart's Academic Reading I class continued to incorporate the Orton-Gillingham approach to teaching reading. Students were introduced to advanced phonetic concepts including morphology and word origins. Additionally, students completed a number of exercises that were devoted to providing them with strategies and skills to improve their reading comprehension. To conclude the week, students read Man from the South by Roald Dahl. While reading this short story, students were asked to annotate the text and utilize a graphic organizer to help piece together different aspects of the story. Using the graphic organizer helped students to organize their thoughts and have something tangible that they could refer to when discussing the multiple aspects of the story. Students enjoyed Dahl's creative and humorous writing style, and asked if they could continue to read short stories written by this famed author.
Activity Update: The Forman School Gymnasium was alive today with the sounds of bouncing basketballs, clanking (errrr-I mean swishing) shots, and the high-spirited laughter and cheering that distinguishes any basketball practice. Today players participated in skills and shooting challenges against one another to see who could score the most layups, free throws, and three-point shots. And, because you never know when a last-second, championship-winning shot will be necessary, players practiced the ever-exciting half-court shot. They’ll surely be ready for any Housatonic Valley Athletic League (Forman’s own athletic conference), NCAA, or NBA Championship game now! Players also worked on their ball handling and conditioning during their activity block today.
Students were treated to a Movie Night in the Student Center after dinner this evening. They watched A Knight’s Tale (2001), a romantic- adventure-comedy set in medieval times. In this movie, a young peasant pretends to be a knight to win glory and, of course, the heart of a fair maiden. SPOILER ALERT - he does both! Students and staff enjoyed the typical movie snacks to complete their viewing experience. It was a great way to usher in our second weekend here at Forman Summer.
Activity Update: Students who are golfing as part of their Forman Summer activities have been given such a great opportunity! Forman Summer has been granted access to the beautiful 9-hole golf course of The Litchfield Country Club. The golf course is “nestled within the White Memorial Nature Conservancy” and has beautiful views of the surrounding Litchfield Hills. During the summer, The Litchfield Country Club bustles with various activities, so we are extremely grateful that the club willingly partners with Forman Summer to provide our students memorable golfing experiences.
Tonight Forman Summer staff and students travelled to Dunkin Donuts Stadium in Hartford, CT to watch the Hartford Yard Goats take on the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The Yard Goats are the Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, and the Fisher Cats are affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays. Tonight’s theme was “Teenage Turtles Night.” Students could pose for pictures with the four Ninja Turtle mascots and participate in numerous activities on the concourse. Additionally, students could explore an educational turtle exhibit set up by the renowned Mystic Aquarium (Mystic, CT). There were so many fun activities you ALMOST forgot a baseball game was happening, too! However, it is difficult to ignore the energy and excitement associated with being at a professional baseball game! The Yard Goats lost 13-8. Tomorrow night starts the Whalers Alumni Weekend at Dunkin Donuts Stadium, a three home-game stint that pays homage to the former NHL hockey team that used to reside in Hartford (1979-1997).
Academic Update: Mrs. Kaplan’s Metacognitive Strategies class has evolved from a group of five individuals who hadn’t thought about how each learns best, to a close-knit community that shares its struggles and works diligently to master new strategies. Introducing the class to the concept of “driving their brains” and their ability to take control over their learning has had a profound impact. “I can’t believe I’m volunteering to go first,” and “How come everybody here understands me?” are direct quotes from this week. Our focus in week two has been paraphrasing- starting with sentences and continuing to whole paragraphs. “I’m so glad I’m coming here in September,” is the consensus, as all of these five students are currently enrolled for the 2019-2020 school year.
Activity Update: Students participating in Field Sports had quite an eventful afternoon today. They enjoyed playing two-hand touch football, ultimate frisbee, and the always favorite game, Nuke ‘em. Nuke ‘em is the semi-hybrid version of volleyball and dodgeball. Instead of hitting or forearm passing the ball like in volleyball, the ball is thrown and caught by teams on opposite sides of a net. Players get “out” of the game if they throw the ball out of bounds, fail to catch the ball, or if the ball doesn’t make it over the net. The first team to get everyone on the opposing team out - wins! Check out pictures of our players in action in our Photo Gallery!
This evening students were extremely engaged and enthusiastic during our Trivia Challenge. For a bit of time it looked like all of the community-building we have been focused on here at Forman Summer might be compromised due to the energy and competitiveness exhibited by the students. However, all students showed great sportsmanship during and after the game, and it was truly an enjoyable evening amongst friends. The Top 15 players earned prizes, each receiving a piece of Forman gear (sweatshirts, T-shirts, hats, shorts, sandals, etc.) to wear and proudly represent Forman School. Congratulations to all of our winners!
As if this day/night couldn’t get any better, students were treated to surprise pizzas delivered directly to their dorms! Late night snacks…. Every House Parent’s dream!
Academic Update: This week, Ms. Lane’s SAT/ACT Prep class continued working through sample ACT reading tests. Up until this point, they have practiced multiple sections of both the SAT and ACT, and have reflected upon which sections they prefer and which they need to practice further. The students are working on utilizing various strategies to improve test scores, including underlining key sections of the passages and questions, crossing out obviously incorrect options, and answering questions with which they have higher confidence levels in before returning to more difficult, or less confident, questions. In particular, students focused on discovering their individual test-taking styles and practicing the tricks and strategies that may be most beneficial to them.
Activity Update: In Drawing and Painting, students are working with a variety of media (pencil, charcoal, ink, watercolor, marker, acrylic) to meet the various learning objectives. Students have been practicing “Blind Contour Drawings” where they observe the outline and shapes of a subject while determining its contours in a continuous line. Students have also practiced drawing subjects by breaking them down and representing them using simple shapes. This technique has proved especially beneficial in drawing portraits and still-life objects. Lastly, students have been exposed to basic graphic design principles and how to communicate various ideas through colors, styles, and types.
This evening students had the wonderful opportunity to hear two Forman Summer Counselors, John Cook ‘15 and Nicole Crockett, speak about their respective high school and college experiences. John Cook is a rising Junior at Dean College (MA). He is majoring in Sports Management and hopes to work with a college or professional hockey or basketball team at some point in the near future. He volunteers at the Worcester, MA YMCA and Boys and Girls Club. Nicole Crockett graduated from Lewis Mills High School (Harwinton, CT) in 2016 and went to Eastern Connecticut State University to pursue a degree in Physical Education and Health Education. She aspires to be a Physical Education teacher for a period of time, but hopes to acquire an administrative degree which would allow her to hold an administrative position such as Principal, Assistant Principal, Department Head, etc. in the future. Both John and Nicole spoke on the different strategies and mental mindsets that helped them be successful in their high school years and beyond. They are both tremendous assets to the Forman Summer staff, and we thank them for their willingness to share their words of wisdom with our Forman Summer community.
Great news! The ice cream truck came back again tonight to share its treats with our Forman Summer community. Ice cream cones, cups, and other delectable treats put lots of smiles on our faces this evening!!!! We are ready to tackle whatever the rest of Week 2 throws at us!
Ms. Diehl’s Reading 3 class continued utilizing their three part reading method which is a strategy on how to tackle reading and also comprehending textbooks. Part one is preview: where you scan the chapter and generate background knowledge. Students also need to think about the assignment. What does the teacher expect them to learn from the reading? We turned the headings and subheadings of a chapter into questions. Then used the LINCS vocabulary strategy to look up and learn new words in the textbook. Part Two is to read the textbook. The students look at the questions asked in part one and only highlight the answers to those questions. We will get to part three later in the week which is review.
Students have the option of selecting “Equestrian” for one of their activity blocks. Many students go to Lee Stables in Litchfield, since they accept riders of varying ability levels from Beginning to Advanced. Students are responsible for grooming and tacking the horses that they will be riding during their session. Tacking refers to putting all of the necessary equipment (saddle, stirrups, bridles, etc.) onto the horse. Students are able to then choose whether they would prefer to practice English or Western Style of riding. These styles vary in what type and how the equipment is used, riding attire, and the terminology used to describe the horse’s motion. Forman Summer riders are able to then decide whether they would prefer to practice on a trail or in a ring with their newfound horsefriend. We are ecstatic to partner with Lee Stables to provide this learning experience for our Forman Summer students!
In support of Week 2 theme, “Assist Yourself”, the evening community event featured Ms. Chen’s presentation of Free Tech Toolkit for Students with Learning Differences: Building Your Brain’s Neuroplasticity. Students watched scientific short videos about the concept of neuroplasticity--which is activity-driven--and discussed how the brain can be wired to form new thought patterns and learn new skills. Students were then introduced to some free apps to assemble a basic toolkit that consists of a planner (iStudiez, myHomework), a learning or mind mapping tool (Notepad, ModMath, Inspiration Maps, Dictation Talk-to-Text, Pocket Text-to-Speech), and a studying tool (Quizlet, Khan Academy). Students who answered questions related to the videos or volunteered to play with those apps on Ms. Chen’s iPad--which was projected unto the big screen--were rewarded with bags of microwavable popcorn to enjoy in their dorms! All students can now chant, “Bodybuilding your brain: use it or lose it!”
As we close out Week One of Forman Summer, we thought that it would be important to reflect on this past week’s experiences to see how far we’ve all come in such a short period of time. We asked some students to contribute to today’s blog with their thoughts on Forman Summer thus far:
Q: “Since the theme of Week One at Forman Summer is ‘Know Yourself’, what is something you learned about yourself during this past week?”
A: “This week, I learned that using strategies is helpful. “ - Alex S.
A: “I learned the difference between a fixed mindset vs. growth mindset.” - Sandes V.
A: “I learned that when you are around people that are similar to you it can be comforting instead of feeling that I am different than my peers. I feel like I belong.”- Bill S.
Q: Who has been the most influential teacher for you so far?
A: “I really like Ms. Diehl. She has helped me with study strategies and skills. I have learned so much this week and I am shocked by how helpful her class has been. She is changing my life by showing me my true potential.” - Will D.
A: “Ms. Chen has been my favorite teacher. She surpasses any teacher I’ve ever had because of her ability to teach to my specific learning style. I respect that she also connects with me as a person and not just a student.” - Bill S.
A: “Mr. Christy he is helpful and doesn’t move to fast, I don’t get left behind in the classroom. “ - Dasha
A: “Mr. Buckley lets you be very creative in expressing ourselves and keeps his class interesting.” - Shadé
Q: What is your favorite part about the summer program thus far?
A: “I don’t know. It’s so hard to choose. I enjoy everything I’m doing.” - Jeanine B.
A: “My favorite part of the summer program thus far is the writing class because the topics are what I want to write about and it doesn’t feel like a traditional writing class. My work feels more like me.” - Astrid S.
A: “My favorite activity has been fishing because I have always wanted to fish but didn’t know how. I may not have caught any fish, but I enjoyed getting outside and exploring the many different fishing spots with my friends.” - Will D.
A: “My favorite activity has been swimming because Mr. Strawson, Nicole, Kyle and Allie are funny and we were able to relax and play games together.” - Arden
A: “My favorite activity has been arts and crafts. I feel relaxed while I’m drawing and not like I have to compete with anyone. I can just express myself.” - Bill S.
Today we took trips to Target and Walmart for students to retrieve the necessary essentials for the coming week. We took some time to tidy our dorm rooms, but rewarded any interested students with an ice cream run to Arethusa Farms in Litchfield, CT. No worries- we made sure that we watched Team USA beat the Netherlands 2-0 to take home the FIFA World Cup Women’s title. All in all, it was a busy week, but we are ready to start Week Two and see how students can learn to “Assist Themselves” at Forman Summer.
Students took a break from the regular routine of academics and activities today in order to go on a community field trip to High Meadow Resort in North Granby, CT. Students and staff enjoyed all of the activities the 150-acre resort had to offer. They played volleyball, basketball, tennis, badminton, horseshoes, and mini-golf. They even had an opportunity to participate in some friendly pie-eating, tug-of-war, hula hoop and limbo competitions. Students could even learn how to tie-dye clothing and leave with a souvenir from their visit.
Access to a large swimming pool couldn’t have come at a better time, as temperatures soared to around 90°F today with oppressive humidity levels! Food was never far away since ice cream, popcorn, and cotton candy were available the entire time we were at High Meadow. Students enjoyed a “Make Your Own Taco/Nacho” bar and cookout food around lunch time as well.
While very few places rival the beauty that Litchfield, specifically our Forman School Campus, has to offer, it is always nice to travel out to see other picturesque places in Northwest Connecticut. Forman Summer would like to extend its gratitude to High Meadow for their warm welcome and hosting our group today. We had an amazing time and enjoyed making memories during our visit!