Highlights of 2012-2013: The Gold Rush Comes to Maple & Aspen Elementary Schools

At Aspen Elementary, 4th grade teacher Lori Brown brought the El Camino Real Naturalists’ living history program, “Gold Rush Days” to her students.

Ms. Brown describes the activities:

“Program highlights included: Storytelling, guitar pickin and harmonica huffin’ by authentically costumed historical interpreters, a look at how the journey to California was made and the hardships travelers faced along the way, a comparison of the lives and fortunes of gold miners and merchants, a visit to the general store and gold miners’ camp, & hands-on activities demonstrating a typical gold miner’s day.”

More gold rush activities happened at Maple!  4th Grade teacher Patricia VanOmmeren was awarded a grant to bring the on-site filed”Gold Rush Day” field trip to her students as well.


Ms. VanOmmeren says:

“‘Gold Rush’ on site at Maple provided 64 students including our special education population with ‘hands on’ experiences relating to the gold rush times, culminating with panning for gold.”

Below, students pan for gold, hang clothes to dry, enjoy storytelling, and write letters using quill pens & ink.

Posted in Elementary Schools, Field trips, History/Social Science | Tagged ,

Highlights of 2012-2013: Weathersfield Elementary School

At Weathersfield, kindergarten teachers Concie Bringas, Lynn Quick, & Bill McGovern shared grant money to bring Reading Awakens Young Scientists (RAYS) to their students.

The teachers report:

“RAYS [is] a program to introduce students to science and technology while reading children’s stories and providing hands on content standard science activities. The students were introduced to the scientific method, life cycle of mealworms, the five senses, and the use of scientific tools. This grant was very helpful because it provided us the opportunity to do hands on science and many of the children would possibly not have had the funds to afford this program.”

Posted in Classroom Projects, Elementary Schools, Reading/Literature, Science | Tagged

Highlights of 2012-2013: 21st Century Learning at Lang Ranch Elementary School

Lang Ranch 3rd grade teacher Nancy Tracy used her classroom grant to purchase online subscriptions to Glogster and Animoto, interactive tools used by her students to create book reports and video projects.

Ms. Tracy wrote to us:

“Thank you for visiting my classroom and presenting us with the grant from Cash 4 Conejo Classrooms. Your program has truly made an impact on our classroom in keeping 21st century learning ongoing. In fact our class has been asked several times to be visited be parents and principals interested in seeing how technology can be used in the classroom. My students and I can’t thank you enough for providing us with tools for learning. “

Here are some examples of Glogster book reports.  Click the links to see more.




“Cash 4 Conejo Classrooms saved the day for technology in our room.” – teacher Nancy Tracy


Posted in Classroom Projects, Elementary Schools, Language Arts, Reading/Literature, Technology | Tagged

Highlights of 2012-2013: Banyan Elementary School

At Banyan, Kindergarten teacher Lori Marzalek received a grant for clay projects.

She wrote to us:

“As classroom and school budgets have decreased, clay supplies have run low. this grant allowed me to purchase new glazes and bring the art of clay back to my classroom. Without this grant my class would not have been able to create clay projects for Mother’s Day. Thank you!”

Below are her students’ hearts made for Mother’s Day.

“Thank you so much for making this such a great experience for my class!” – teacher Lori Marzalek

Also at Banyan, Julie Spurlock’s 3rd grade students created their “Penny Projects,” inspired by The Hundred Penny Box

Ms. Spurlock describes this unique project:

“The project consists of finding a penny for each year of the student’s life. Then they search for a photograph of a memorable event that occurred during the given year. A short paragraph is written to explain  the event.  Finally, they research important happenings that occurred during the  particular year, and choose a headline to download…each student creates a book called “My Penny Project”.  For each year a 12 x 12  page is used.  The students  place the penny, personal paragraph, picture, and headline on the page and decorate it.  Then a front and back cover is made.  The books are bound and displayed at Open House.  The books are a beautiful keepsake to share with their parents and future generations.”

Posted in Classroom Projects, Elementary Schools, History/Social Science, Language Arts, Reading/Literature, Visual Arts | Tagged

Highlights of 2012-2013: Anacapa Island Trip

At Aspen Elementary, 3rd grade teachers Emily Kneller, Diane Barrett, & Kathi Byington took their 55 students on a very special field trip.

This was made possible by a double grant funded by our generous donors Harvey & Joanie Prince.

Ms. Barrett describes the experience:

“It took us one hour and fifteen minutes to arrive at the dock on Anacapa Island. Let me just tell you I had many students that had never been on a boat before. They thought the boat ride was awesome. My students were wide eyed, excited, and taking it all in; this was quite a sight… Our tour lasted all day. We learned about the life cycle of a sea gull. We saw how both the mom and dad take care of their young. We saw many eggs, and many chicks just born… We were shown different native plants to the island. Our tour guide also told us how the gulls go to Anacapa Island to lay their eggs because they have no predators. We hiked the island and were given many facts about the Chumash Native Americans.  We learned about light houses and what their function is. My third graders were shown how to view and respect nature. After our program was finished we loaded on to the boat and came back to Ventura Harbor. The trip back was beautiful. The Island was spectacular and an adventure  my third graders and I will never forget.”

“Thank you for helping us go on such a special, once in a lifetime trip.” – 3rd grade Teacher Diane Barrett

Posted in Donors, Elementary Schools, Field trips, History/Social Science, Science | Tagged