Ezekiel Gillaspie, a kindergartner at Washington Virtual Academy (WAVA), and his mother are using exciting and creative activities to enhance his online education. At the end of each lesson, K12 offers activity suggestions to enrich the child’s learning and understanding. Since Ezekiel has always been interested in arts, crafts, and building, his mother decided to put a creative spin on these suggested activities to take his learning to the next level.
“Creative learning and crafting have always been a great connection point for Ezekiel and me,” Tara Gillaspie, Ezekiel’s mother and Learning Coach, said. “I think whenever I can enrich his learning by connecting it to something he already loves and enjoys is a win-win.”
Tara emphasizes that these activities are easy for any parent to dive into with their child. For example, after completing a lesson about castles with drawbridges Tara and Ezekiel took a cardboard castle they made previously and added a drawbridge to correlate with what Ezekiel had learned.
“Other times inspiration will just hit in the moment and we will go for it!” Tara said. “One of the lesson activities was to have Ezekiel give me a weather report (see video below) and I just thought why not make it a little more exciting and let him pretend to be a real weather man? A quick search on iTunes for some ‘news music’ and a camera and we were ready to film a weather report!”
Ezekiel enjoys diving into these types of projects due to his love for building and using his imagination.
“It is kind of cool to invent and build them because you can use your imagination and build whatever you want,” Ezekiel said. “I like inventing things because there is so much you can do. You can build robots, clock towers or submarines that go extra deep in the ocean. When I grow up I want to be a mechanic, fireman and boat builder!”
Tara finds numerous educational benefits in taking the time to do special projects with Ezekiel.
“It is a worthwhile investment sometimes of only five or ten minutes more,” Tara said. “The benefits reaped are so much greater because we just have a good time together and the concepts just go down deeper. I enjoy watching him light up when he can just enjoy exploring what he has learned through creative means.”
Because of the great amount of success and excitement Ezekiel gains from their projects, Tara encourages other parents to get creatively involved with their children’s education.
“For Ezekiel sometimes getting to do a project is all that is needed to renew his curiosity and stir up a sense of excitement to press ahead in his learning,” Tara said. “Play is still a huge part of learning and being able to incorporate that through dressing up like a scientist with a lab coat or getting to build a structure they have been learning about adds a lot of value and enjoyment to the process.”