Read the following article posted in the Burlington County Times on Friday, November 20, 2015
PALMYRA — Students and faculty from the Charles Street School replanted an idea from the Philadelphia Flower Show and made it their own.
“It’s learning outside of the textbook and a little outside of the box,” said fourth-grade teacher Debbie Falcone, who coordinated the school’s first flower show.
The Junior Flower Show at the elementary school is the first of its kind in the district, tying an educational experience for the students in with hands-on learning about national parks, nature and historic sites.
The show opened to the public Thursday night. The community will get another chance to check out the students’ work on Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. and again Monday and Tuesday during the same time.
Hundreds of projects on pollination, the Palmyra Cove Nature Park, water flowing on the Pompeston Creek, and native trees of New Jersey, which took weeks for students in prekindergarten to sixth grade to complete, are on display in the gymnasium.
The prizewinning project, a bear made of pine cones, was created by 40 students and was selected to be displayed at the Philadelphia Flower Show in March.
The idea to create the event stemmed from the Philadelphia Flower Show’s 2016 theme: “National Parks Services.”
Sixth-grade students conducted research on national parks, wrote reports, and created miniature dioramas of Yosemite in California, the Everglades in Florida and Crater Lake in Oregon.
“Once we started doing everything, it actually came together really good,” said Molly Jackson, 12, who mirrored her diorama from the Everglades.
During her research, Molly said she learned about the landscape of the Everglades. And to her surprise, it isn’t what most people think.
“A lot of people think that it’s full of swamps, but there are many land forms than just swamps,” the sixth-grader said.
Kiyomi Okazaki, 9, went on a trip to California with her grandparents over the summer. She visited Angel Island State Park and Muir Woods National Monument, and created a collage of pictures from her trip and displayed it at the flower show.
“It just makes me really happy, and I always wanted to do a good project and it’s fun,” Kiyomi said.
The flower show was a perfect way for the school to come up with innovative teaching methods during the school’s first year of its enrichment period, or Providing Academic Challenge and Enrichment (PACE).
The 30- to 40-minute instruction focuses on student skills in math, reading and writing. It also helps boost students’ research capabilities, and gives them more practice in creating presentations, and experience in working in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) environments. It also allows them to practice reading “informational texts” and in submitting work electronically.
“It just kind of brings our entire school together,” principal Mark Peace said.