December 12, 2016

Learning across age groups and disciplines

By Annette Tait
What happens when a first grade teacher and three high school teachers -- one each for agriculture, health, and science -- combine their efforts to teach 43 students in a collaborative lesson? An excellent opportunity for hands-on learning, where students in eighth through 12th grades reinforced their knowledge by teaching first graders, and the younger students were able to see what they just learned in action.
Center-Stanton first grade teacher Carole Sherwin and high school teachers Jodi Hintz (science and math), Janet Erhardt (health and physical education), and Nikki Fideldy (agriculture education) continued efforts begun in their 2015-2016 professional learning community by putting the theories into practice. The result was an interdisciplinary lesson involving all of their students.
“It was so enjoyable to watch the older students work with the first graders,” Erhardt said. “It was a great learning experience for all students involved.”
The teachers spent the last school year studying the book “What Great Teachers Do Differently” as a professional learning community group, and evaluated themselves individually using the book’s study guide. They all liked the book, but felt they hadn’t been able to dig as deeply into its concepts as they would have liked. This led to the decision to create an interdisciplinary lesson that involved high school and first grade students and met learning standards for each of the content areas involved.


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