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Learning extended in after-school program
Students in the ASES after-school program do their homework in the Osborn Elementary School cafeteria on Tuesday. Next week these students will start their 16-week Power of Words vocabulary lesson. - photo by ANDREA GOODWIN / The Journal
An after-school program introduced in Turlock schools last spring will soon be offered in schools all over Stanislaus County.
Power of Words is a three-day vocabulary lesson given twice a month during the After School Education and Safety program. During the three-day lesson, students in kindergarten through sixth grade will learn new words from a picture book. They will then play matching games, word relays, and other activities that repeat and re-inforce their new vocabulary words.
“A lot of them are get-up-and-move games,” said Dede Baker, director of elementary education for Stanislaus County Office of Education.
Baker, who helped develop the POW lesson plans, said that POW is a vocabulary program that connects what students learn in the classroom and re-inforces it after school. POW lessons were designed around the books and language arts themes that students are working with in their classrooms. POW lessons will roughly follow what students learn during the day.
Students will learn two types of vocabulary words during the POW program.
“Picture book” vocabulary words are those found in the book that might not be familiar to students. “Academic” vocabulary words help students explain what they have learned.  Words such as “summarize” or “compare and contrast” are not found directly in the text of the book, but will help students express what they know on standardized tests.
“A lot of times kids know the concepts but the wording of the question is confusing,” Baker said.
ASES programs at five elementary schools in Turlock ran a six week pilot program of POW during the 2008-2009 school year. After the six-week pilot program at Turlock schools, the Stanislaus County Office of Education expanded the POW program to a 16-week lesson plan.
Erik Schulze, supervisor of Youth and P.A.L for the City of Turlock Recreation Division The City of Turlock, said that the Recreation Division and Turlock Unified School District chose to buy the year-long POW program this year. Schulze said that materials cost about $6,000 a year for the program, and they are paid for through the ASES grant.
The Prevention Program Department of the Stanislaus County Office of Education visited the ASES programs during the trial-run of the POW program. Baker said that she did not personally visit every ASES site, but they she heard students enjoyed the program and were enthusiastic and engaged in the lessons. The Stanislaus County Office of Education will offer regional POW training for all interested schools in Stanislaus County in November.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.