Friday, December 14, 2012
By NATALIE SCOTT
Sisters Dana (teacher at Watson Elementary) and Jaclyn (teacher at Austintown Middle School) worked together to bring a unique experience to their students. The lesson came to a great end when Jaclyn and her student teacher, A.J. Markowitz, visited Dana’s classroom dressed in period garb Nov. 29.
Students in Jaclyn’s social studies classes at the middle school had spent the past several weeks studying the battle at Valley Forge and the lives of the people who lived and fought there. At the same time, students in Dana’s class watched a movie about Valley Forge.
To show what they learned, students were then asked to write letters as if they were soldiers at Valley Forge to students at Watson, pretending they were their family members and explain all about their lives there. When Jaclyn and Markowitz visited the students at Watson, they delivered the letters.
“We paired the students up based on their personalities and interests and asked them to kind of be pen pals for the year,” explained Dana.
The lesson is designed to teach both sets of students in different ways. For the middle school students, this is a chance to think about a lesson in history in a new way and to reflect on what they have learned. For the Watson students, this is a great opportunity to practice handwriting and composing a letter.
Dana and Jaclyn hope to keep this kind of lesson going throughout the year, as each class moves from topic to topic, perhaps culminating in a visit to the middle school to meet their pen pals.