Enrichment Week Provides a Safe and Engaging Learning Experience for Students

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on March 31 that Spring Break would be cancelled for all public schools.  According to an email sent by Chancellor Richard Carranza,  “For the health and wellbeing of all New Yorkers, the City and the State are in agreement that schools must continue to offer remote learning, including during days that were previously scheduled as breaks. As a result, our schools will continue with remote learning through the time originally scheduled for Spring Recess.” 

In addition to a schedule of themes and activities provided by the NYC Department of Education, Francis Lewis created an engaging week of learning opportunities to replace the traditional Spring Break as students participated in enrichment activities throughout the week. 

Each day of the week students were invited to join a variety of classes based on that day’s subject. Many of these enrichment activities had fun concepts and learning experiences.  

“I attended the math magic and volcanic video for science,” sophomore Nadia Rifiani said. “I liked all the visuals the activity provided, and it was very interacting.”    

Students were updated daily with the subject and Zoom codes to access the daily activities.  The Science Department hosted the day on Monday, April 13 and students had a positive response to the lessons. 

“It was very cool and it was fun learning about the dinosaurs from the past years ago,” senior Natalia Carhuaricra said. “I learned that a former National Geographic grantee had discovered 10 new dinosaur species. Stephen Brusatte was incredible and he found all these extraordinary dinosaurs.”

When Francis Lewis students first heard Spring Break was cancelled, some were not happy to hear the news. 

“I felt really angry when I heard Spring Break was being cancelled because I was working really hard on all of my assignments,” freshman Adam Gomes said. “That week could’ve really helped me destress, relax and gain back my sanity.” 

“The enrichment activity that I enjoyed the most was ranting and raving because you were able to express your feelings about how much the coronavirus [upset] my life and my freshman year,” Gomes added.  

Teachers also found the week of enrichment activities to be a success.  Spanish teacher Ms. Ahmadi taught a cooking class on Thursday, April 1. She taught students how to prepare a traditional Spanish meal and she was excited to teach a unique lesson.

“I do think it was successful because students that joined thought it was going to be a pre-recorded video that we would watch/discuss,” Ms. Ahamdi said. “Rather, it was live and we went through all the steps and explanations and answered questions as we went along. Each session focused on a different part of the meal and at the end we showed everything together as an end result.” 

The Math Department hosted the day on Tuesday, April 14 as math teacher Ms. Kamal taught Exploding Dots. She enjoyed teaching a lesson that was both fun and interactive for students.

“Exploding Dots is the name of an astounding mathematical story that starts at the very beginning of mathematics – it assumes nothing – and swiftly takes you a wondrous journey through grade school arithmetic, high-school polynomials algebra, infinite sums, and advanced mathematics and unsolved research problems baffling mathematicians still to this day,” Ms. Kamal said. “I felt it was an engaging, motivational lesson that students of all levels were able to participate in.” 

Overall, the new approach to learning during enrichment week gave Francis Lewis students and faculty a positive experience.  

“There’s nothing that I would change about the enrichment activities because everyday there was something new and [there were] a variety of classes to choose from,” Gomes said.