WRV Advanced Child Development students display the playdough creatures they created with the WRV first graders.
I am so thankful we got to go on all our trips to the elementary this year. It has become an annual tradition for the students in Advanced Child Development to go do activities with the first graders. Each year brings so much fun and excitement for all ages.
The high school students work for weeks to understand what caring for young children is all about. From types of programs to developmentally appropriate practices to NAEYC ethical guidelines.
Then, for three weeks, we study activities for children: art, science/music and literature and take activities each of those weeks to the elementary school.
Students review the stages of art development and characteristics of children’s art as well as different activities to develop skill and creativity. They then review the first-grade art standards to begin developing their own activity to take to the elementary. Students made puppets, faces, designed buildings, created play-dough creatures, balloon bugs, parrots, bracelets and more.
The next week, each student got an egg shaker and we began the class making music. Everyone really enjoys shaking to the beat. Music has many benefits. We also discuss the importance of science. Then we combined the two and did the “Water Cycle” on GoNoodle.com. Once again students reviewed standards and looked up ideas to create their own music or science activity. There was a baking soda volcano, rain experiment, water vs oil experiment, lots of slime and more.
I told students a story about how reading impacted my life. Students then began thinking about their own favorite stories, how to keep storytelling interesting and ask thoughtful questions. Each student then selected a book of their own or from my books to read to the first graders.
“Working with the children was very exciting,” said student Lyric Shaw. “I gained a lot of creativity, imagination and different viewpoints of things while working with the children. Physically, while making slime and playing with play-dough they had to manipulate the object with their hands. Intellectually, the children had to figure out what was going to happen next in the story, figure out what to build with play-dough, and figure out ideas on what ingredient goes next into making slime. Emotionally, the children were very attached to the artwork that they made, they didn’t want to put their play-dough creations back, they wanted to keep them, same thing with their slime, even though the slime was just a big mess. Socially, the children were talking to each other throughout their creations, they would show each other what they made with play-dough and sometimes they would argue about who’s going to put the next ingredient in slime. I will not be as nervous around children anymore because this taught me that they’re learning just like me.”
Not only do the high school students enjoy this experience, the first graders get so excited as well. They had so much fun doing the activities. Mrs. Amy Jackson, Mrs. Amy Gilmore and Mrs. Jackie McCammon, WRV first grade teachers, reported that the first-graders were always asking if today was the day the high schoolers would be there to do activities with them. Mrs. McCammon said that it is a wonderful program that has many benefits to both groups of students.
For many students, the experience solidifies their desire to teach and for some it has them considering the career for the first time. Kaylee Bolton decided to enroll in education professions next year after completing the activities.
I am so happy to have such wonderful people to work with that they will give our students these opportunities to do hands-on activities. I enjoy helping students prepare to do the activities and then watching as they put their plans into action. The smiles on their faces and their excitement as we get back on the bus make me so happy.
Betsy Misner has been the Family and Consumer Science, formerly Home Economics, teacher at White River Valley for over a decade. Her motivation is helping students to strive for strong, happy, healthy families and providing career pathways. Check out more of what is happening in the classroom by following her on Twitter: WRVFACS@BetsyMisner