“I liked that we got to meet with people who are going to be teachers someday.”
“I liked that we got to talk in real time.”
“It was pretty cool!”
Students of Ruth Ann Sacquitne’s fifth grade English class at Mabel-Canton Public School had only good things to say about their recent project they completed in partnership with a junior class from Luther College.
Sacquitne, a member of the Luther College Advisory Council which meets twice a year, first heard about the idea from Barbara Bohach, a professor at the college. Bohach explained to Sacquitne how she had carried out the project at another school district.
Sacquitne thought it sounded like a great idea and, after checking with the Mabel-Canton administration and sending home letters notifying parents of the plan, she moved forward with the project for her class.
It just so happened that both Sacquitne’s fifth grade class and Professor Bohach’s college class had the same number of students, 11, which made it easy to pair them up. Each of Bohach’s students was matched with one of the fifth graders to be their one-on-one teacher.
“It was like having an extra set of hands in the classroom,” Sacquitne remarked.
The assignment for the fifth graders was to read The Invention of Hugo Cabret and watch the movie made from the book. Then they had to compare and contrast the two using a Venn diagram and a two paragraph essay.
Using the website Appear.in, the kids were introduced to their partners from Professor Bohach’s class. The first meeting was done as a group, with both classes gathered around a single computer on their end so they could all see camera. The college students stepped forward one by one to introduce themselves and then ask their fifth grade partner to introduce themselves as well.
The fifth grade class use Google Docs to write their assignment and share it with their partner and then “met” again via teleconference for one-on-one sessions with the college students. “They had the ability to see and hear each other through the website,” Sacquitne said. The college students helped their fifth grade partners fine tune their grammar and punctuation and gave them pointers for writing.
Sacquitne had acquired six Chromebooks for her classroom with a grant which came in handy for the project. She gathered up some iPads for her class to use as well.
All of the Luther students were studying to be teachers so the project allowed them to experience teaching on an authentic, practical level. The feedback received from them was positive, and they really enjoyed being able to interact with the Mabel-Canton students and see how a classroom works.
Each of the students from both the Mabel-Canton and Luther College classes wrote an autobiography and shared it with their partner from the other school so they could get to know each other better.
“I would definitely do it again if I had the opportunity,” Sacquitne said, a statement with which her class agreed.