STEAM Camp, Book Clubs and Families at HeART

Academic Enrichment Grant 2021-2022 Project Summary

Nicole Zimmerman

Alliance for Youth, Inc. • Great Falls, MT

This Project will utilize Reflective Learning and Strength-Based Approaches delivered through the Community Café Model to explore STEAM related subject matter through Student Guided Book Clubs, Families at HeART and a Summer STEAM Camp. The Student Guided Book Clubs will run for 10 weeks during the summer and serve students K-8 split into three age groups, K-2, 3-5, and 6-8, with no more than twelve students in each group. More advanced readers will be encouraged to help struggling readers.

Each club will meet weekly for two hours, and during each group, students will read and discuss a featured book, participate in an activity reinforcing the theme of the book and respond to journal prompts selected by the group to individually explore the ideas discussed in more depth. Journal responses will be both written and graphic. At the end of each group, there will be a “book tasting” where additional books will be recommended by students. Recommended books will be purchased for students who wish to read them and will also be available in the Alliance for Youth Family Literacy Library. Students will serve as conversation leaders on a rotating basis, and the facilitator will handle logistics, e.g., setup room, purchase books, track data, and ensure students remain engaged and on track.

Students will determine the amount of reading to be done between groups and hold each other accountable for completing readings, including marking points of interest with sticky notes with questions to explore during group. After the first book, students will also determine what books to read through a nominating and voting process. No fewer than eight books will be purchased for each student in the groups, and snacks will be provided at all group sessions. Families at HeART is a monthly 2-hour blended workshop for caregivers and children and youth K-12, which will run throughout the year. Each workshop will begin with a Social Story designed to help participants better understand the nuances of interpersonal communication, and then the workshop facilitator will lead the group in a guided conversation using the Appreciative Inquiry approach to identify and reinforce protective factors for strengthening families. The facilitator will then use PowerPoint presentations with step-by-step instructions for completing age-appropriate STEAM projects related to the theme explored in the Social Story.

While families are completing the STEAM project, the facilitator will provide nurturing and positive reinforcement, encouraging family connection and bonding. The Summer STEAM Camp will run on Fridays for ten weeks. Thirty K-6 students will participate for three hours in the morning, and thirty grade 7-12 students will participate for three hours in the afternoon. The camp will build off of the weekly STEAM topic explored Monday-Thursday at Go and Grow Education Services’ STEAM Classes and will be facilitated by two Go and Grow instructors and the Alliance for Youth Program Manager. The Camp will be held at a local park, parents will be encouraged to attend and the facilitators’ children will participate to model positive family dynamics.

Back to Project Summaries