Monday, November 28, 2016

Outreach: LEAP Frog

For twenty-five years, LEAP Frog has provided the Lafayette-Oxford and University Community a quality after school tutoring and enrichment environment for elementary school students. LEAP Frog is one of the Museum's closest outreach partners, and we've been excited by how the program has grown and changed since we began working together.

In 2016, LEAP Frog moved into a new, permanent location behind the Oxford Intermediate School on Washington Avenue. Along with the new space, Executive Director Teresa Adams restructured the education program to focus on helping children reach grade-level reading proficiency by the time they graduate the program in May. Adams also restructured the group's weekly enrichment time to focus on specific themes each month. November's theme was "Serving Others," and the Museum visited LEAP Frog with a special lesson plan designed to help teach kids about empathy and what role kindness plays in serving others.

We began by reading Each Kindness by Jaqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis. In the story, a new girl, Maya, moves to town, but Chloe and her friends, Maya's new classmates, are less than welcoming. They refuse to play or interact with her, until Maya stops showing up to class.

One day, Chloe's teacher teaches a lesson comparing each kindness to a stone thrown into a bucket of water. While the pebble might be small, it still causes ripples that can change the world. The teacher then asks the students to come forward and drop stones into the water as they name one kindness that they've done for somebody else. As Chloe steps up to the bucket, she realizes that she hasn't shown anyone even the smallest kindness and gives up her stone thinking about her lost opportunity to show Maya some kindness and to make a new friend.

The story resonated with the LEAP Frog students and we then led a small discussion on how Chloe could have changed her behavior to be more welcoming to Maya. The students were vocal in all the ways they thought Chloe could have been a more welcoming person and what effect that might have had on the story.

After the discussion, we moved on to the activity portion, Luster Willis-inspired Sparkle Portraits.

Luster Willis Self Portrait
Luster Willis was an African-American self taught artist from Copiah County, Mississippi. He's famous for his imaginative, socially conscious drawings and paintings. He used everything from watercolors to shoe polish to create his masterpieces.

After viewing the examples of his work, we challenged the students to think of people in the community that are dedicated to helping others like teachers, policemen, firemen, and nurses. We then had them paint portraits of those people and added glitter when they finished. The works were very imaginative and it was interesting to see which members of the community the students chose to illustrate. The Museum staff had an great time serving LEAP Frog students this month and look forward to joining them again next semester!

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