St. Ambrose Enrichment Programs

Dianna Helmberger and Bruce Whynott

Enrichment Coordinators

Junior Great Books – 1 st Grade

The children explore great pieces of literature once a month. During the school day,

parent volunteers work with small groups of children as they read a story from the Great

Books curriculum, lead a short discussion, and help with a related project. All classroom

students participate in this program.

Junior Great Books - 2nd through 5th grades

Children explore great pieces of literature through reading, small group discussion and

related activities. Meetings are held from 8:15 – 9:00 am Wednesday mornings at school.

A parent volunteer leads the meetings and there is a maximum of 12 students in the

group. The first session of Junior Great Books runs for six weeks, beginning in Oct.

Another session runs in Feb./March. All students who enjoy reading are welcome to


Art Adventure - all grades

All students at St. Ambrose participate in Art Adventure during May. During art classes

in that month they are exposed to art from the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Trained

parent volunteers present the works and lead related discussions revolving around a

portfolio of related art works covering a specific theme.

Word Masters - 3rd, 4th and 5th grades

This is a competitive vocabulary program. Students receive a list of vocabulary words,

have three weeks to independently study, then complete a brief multiple choice test. The

top 10 scores at each grade level receive a certificate, and those tests are sent in to the

national program to be ranked against students across the country. There are three

different lists/tests during the year.

Extra - 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grades

Students identified by classroom teachers as needing additional challenge may take part

in one or more Extra! units during the school year. Each unit covers a unique topic and

meets as times decided on by the teachers. Sessions are lead by the

enrichment coordinator.

Geography Bee - 4th -8th grade

During the second quarter the fourth through eighth grades participate in a geography bee

sponsored by the National Geographic Society. The event takes place here at school and

the winners have the opportunity to advance further to state and national levels.

Mini Academic Triathlon - 4th grade

The class participates in two sessions of a “mini academic triathlon” during March.

During these sessions, students work in small groups on brainteasers, quiz bowl

questions, and original skits. This gives students an opportunity to use their thinking

skills in a creative way and also gives them a taste of what to expect in fifth and sixth

grade when they have the opportunity to sign up for a regular team and compete against

other schools.

Academic Triathlon - 5th - 8th grade

This team competition lets students use their thinking skills in a creative way. Teams

compete against other schools in three categories: Quiz bowl, Mindsprints (brainteasers),

and Party in a Box (creating an original skit to answer a designated question). There are

4 meets between Dec. and March. Meets take place Fri. after school and last about 4

hours. There will be one or two practices between meets.

Scrabble Scramble - 6th, 7th and 8th grades

Students meet weekly an hour before school begins. Students will rotate between

Scrabble boards, competing against other students. Some meetings will be “general”

Scrabble, some “theme” Scrabble (Spanish Scrabble, First Name Scrabble, Sport

Scrabble, Music Scrabble, etc.). Scrabble Scramble meets Jan. through March.

Tap Tape Trivia - 8th grade

8th graders meet before school to practice their trivia skills using the triathlon “slap

tapes”. Meetings are held once/week before school in Oct. and Nov. Each week the

focus is on a specific topic – math, music, current events, etc.

Quiz Bowl – Five 8 th graders are invited to compete on the St. Ambrose Quiz Bowl

Team. This team attends the Quiz Bowl competition in Dec. sponsored by area high

schools. Students are selected based on grades and performance at the “tap tape


Math Masters - 5th and 6th grade

This is a program for students interested in challenging math. Participants work

independently on math problems from the Mathmasters curriculum from Dec. through

March. At this time, a qualifying test is be given. The top scoring students work further

and may be invited to compete on a St. Ambrose team at the regional meets in March (6 th )

and May (5 th ).

Math Counts - 6th, 7th and 8th grade

This is another challenging math program. Students meet once a week before

school with a parent volunteer to work on Math Counts problems. A test is given

after several months to choose a St. Ambrose team which then competes in the

regional Math Counts Meet.