This spring the pre-service teachers in my integrated methods: Language Arts and Social Studies were given an opportunity to work with children in the community. This was an unexpected opportunity, thanks to Dr. Lindsay Hollingsworth who invited my class into the collaborative effort. Family Connections is an organization in Platteville that provides opportunities for parents in Southwest Wisconsin. My students were invited to provide educational activities for a themed event the day before Valentine’s day, Chocolate Night.
Methods courses are great, but students need more hands on learning. In class students brainstormed appropriate experiences given the environment. Being that I didn’t entirely know the variables, students had to prepare more thoroughly. For example, students did not know how many students would attending, nor did they know the ages of the children. This information caused us to consider how we might plan for groups of two or seven ages ranging from three to nine. Because I required students to create stations that tied to ELA/Social Studies in some way, students really had to focus on having projects with differentiation. This process was a challenge because they didn’t know numbers, age groups, or the environment. What a great experience in thinking on one’s feet, right?
The groups did well. More than one group had to adjust on the fly. One group was had to merge with another. A second group had to adjust expectations. I was really proud of their willingness to think everything through.
Additionally, I was impressed with the time commitment. The students gave up their Friday night from 5pm-8:30pm. What a long night! Their dedication spoke volumes to me about their willingness to improve their craft and gain experience teaching.
You can read more about this event by clicking here.