SWANTON — This year Swanton School students got to take part in something special called Extension Thursday, or #XtensionThursday. Throughout the school year, community partners came into the school to provide added learning experiences to the students’ day.

Every Thursday each grade level took part in #XtensionThursday and welcomed community partners in for the afternoon. Students rotated through up to five 25 minute rotations. These rotations included, Zumba, art work, food tasting, proper hand washing, dental hygiene, safety and learning about animals in their natural habitats. Our community partners include: the Swanton Public Library, Michelle Beaulieu, Danielle Fabrizio, Rebecca Rupp; Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge, Dave Frisque; Swanton Police Department Chief Joey Stell; Swanton Arts Council, Nicole Gadouas; NMC, Sarah Nielsen and Amy Brewer; Farm to School, Rachel Huff; RiseVT, Betsy Fournier, Stacy Carpenter and Devan Bevins; Franklin County Caring Communities, Crystal Lampman and Zumba with Jill LeClair.

Next year we hope to continue this effort and engage more community partners and allow students even more time to explore and even do more service learning projects.

Swanton RiseVT parachute

Betsy Fournier from RiseVT helps kids learn to be balanced and patient with the parachute for this outside activity.

“The kids and I had a great time making catapults, helicopters and flying fish,” says Rebecca Rupp of Swanton Public Library, “but my favorite Extension Thursdays were the book talks. I showed the kids copies of my books and talked about what it takes to get a book written and published — and then they were off and running with book ideas of their own. I’m especially looking forward to reading ‘50,000 Orphans and a Giant Spider.’ What a creative bunch, can’t wait for next year.”

Nicole Gadous from the Swanton Arts Council, provided color and creativity for our students. “The project was Batik painted flags,” Gadous said. “The focus was the practice of using primary colors to make secondary colors, while showing the kids how to use paint resist techniques with materials such as masking tape and white crayons.”