Maple Summer School in Northbrook teaches it all — yoga to math, cooking to architecture

GLENVIEW — Dozens of students at Maple Summer School performed Wednesday for the annual Fourth of July assembly and open house in Northbrook.

They danced, sang, cheered and played music for hundreds of families and friends in the west gymnasium, as well as showcased classroom work.

Maple teacher David Karnoscak led a class in HTML coding so that students could create web sites and apps for digital storytelling.

“It makes the kids think in a different language. Coding today is required in European schools,” he said.

“Our students developed their own fictions that emphasized how to use hyperbole, similar to the “Tall Tales” stories.”

This year’s Summer School had 499 students ages 4 to 14, 56 teachers and 22 helpers.

The summer session’s appeal was offering students wide choices in sports, curriculum learning, art, cooking and exercising, such as the Sunrise Yoga class, said teachers and parents.

For example, the Architecture Navigate class taught students about what influenced Chicago architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and another class prepared fifth-grade students for using iPads.

The Wearable Art class showed them how to make wearable clothes and necklaces from recyclable materials, and knitting taught students where yarn came from and about the people who made it.

Math teacher and Summer School director Eleni Kartsimas said refresher courses helped students retain lessons they learned during the regular school year.

“I think students retain information better from these courses, while other classes we have here help get very young students ready for first-grade,” Kartsimas said.

“Such as what it means to be in a classroom. Sixth-grade students get a tour of the building and learn how to open lockers.”

Sixth-grader Nick Redstone played trumpet in the school’s jazz band.

“I really like learning new music, and jazz was confusing at first. It’s a different kind of music,” Redstone said, waiting to play for parents with other band members.

“I think jazz is more descriptive than other music. It’s a real different genre. So far, I like Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong.”

Jazz Band students also learned to use the blues scale for musical progressions and how to improvise while playing instruments.

Student parent Michael Solomon said summer school “Kept the learning process going for students.”

“It’s a good mixture of learning and fun,” he added.

Summer School band students spent some time in rehearsals preparing for the Sept. 21 ALS Walk for Life event at Chicago’s Soldier Field that has raised more than $9 million in 12 years.

“We will play for an hour. Thousands of people will be there, so it’s a good experience for our students,” said band director Jeff Jay.

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