The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 21, 2008

Kindergartners learn about “Quirkles”

“Quirkles” is a new approach to kindergarten instruction that combines letter awareness with science instruction.At the November 5 Carlisle School Committee (CSC) meeting,

School Committee Chair Chad Koski watches Bill Fink try a science experiment from the Quirkles kindergarten program. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

kindergarten teachers Mimi Chandler, Barney Arnold and Suzanne Comeau reported on a pilot program funded by the Carlisle School Association (CSA). With the Quirkles program, each letter is introduced in a story, and each story includes a science experiment.

To illustrate the program, Comeau read the story of “Mary Motion,” focusing on the letter “M.” At the conclusion of the story, the CSC members split into teams of two to try Mary’s science experiment. They each received marbles, two ramps and short blocks. Chair Chad Koski, in a cast and on crutches, teamed up with committee member Bill Fink, who did most of the experimenting since his partner was less mobile. Fink raised one of the ramps higher than the other and was able to show that the higher ramp helped the marble travel farther.

The end-of-year goal of the program, explained Comeau, is an awareness of letter and word sounds and awareness of science. “It’s a pilot year. We’ll see how it goes,” she said. The committee praised the introduction of scientific vocabulary at the kindergarten level. “The children are natural scientists,” Chandler said.

Arnold said some of the items used, such as marbles, are provided at play time and the students continue with the experiments on their own. She said assessing the success of the program will be based on observation. The next letter to be introduced is “Ollie Oxygen.”∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito