The Importance of Extension, Enrichment and Passion Learning
by Blanche Kapushion, Jeffco Public Schools GT Director
(article published courtesy of Jefferson County Public Schools' GT Newsletter)

Passion Learning is the deepest type of learning!  Think back to at time when you were so engrossed in something and the time seemed to pass in a blink of an eye.  Before you knew it, six or eight hours have passed, and you know you should stop, but you just can't.  Was it a sewing project?  A great book?  Painting?  Running?  writing a score or a sonata?  There is typically a foundation of creativity or invention entwined in the project, that engages the brain and released endorphins into a physical reaction in the body! PASSION!

Other passion learning might take the form of an extension or enrichment project or activity.  A great example of extension learning is our current Colorado Destination Imagination competition that was held on Saturday, April 13 on the Metropolitan State University Campus in Denver.  Teams from all over our state came together to share their ingenuity, collaboration and creativity.  Jeffco had incredible representation and fabulous results.  Congratulations to the following teams who qualified for Destination Imagination Global competition in May:

The Electric Pickles and The Sea Cucumbers from Dunstan Middle School
Just Glue It from Conifer High School
Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Big Booty, Wheatwood from Wheat Ridge and Lakewood High Schools
Imagination Detonation and Atomic Tree Frogs Crushed by Weights from Southwest Academy - Jeffco Homeschool teams
DI Winning Masters from Dennison Elementary
Gorilla Glue Crue  from Creighton and Drake Middle Schools
Peculiar Pineapple Penguinz from Green Mountain High School

Another enrichment celebration comes from Coronado Elementary.  In Mrs. Marshall's 5th Grade GT Class, a neow budding and published author, Sara Mazur will  be recognized for her writing on May 15, at the Denver Public Library.  Sarawon 2nd place for the state of Colorado in the Letters About Literature reading/writing contest sponsored by the Library of Congress.

As parents, it is important that "book learning" and "school learning" is not the only way we grow and develop into well rounded individuals.  It is through many explorations and enrichments that children learn what they like, what they want to invest more time in, what they don't ever want to try again, and what might be a life long passion.  It is important to provide those opportunities.  A place to begin looking for low  or no cost extensions and enrichments can be found at school, in either a before or after school program.  Look for Science club, Chess club, Choir, Running club, Art club, Service learning opportunities, or Drama club.  As students mature, they may seek out internships, mentorships or apprenticeships.  They may wish to become more involved in local government such as City Council or Service Learning that might include travel to places that are impoverished.  The best thing to remember is that these experiences open doors, open eyes and open opportunities.  All extensions, enrichments and passion learning should be documented in resumes, college applications and included in job applications.  Summer is almost upon us and time to dive into PASSION learning!