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Teaching Social Studies & Art

Lisa Marie's picture

On Friday, my 360 friends and I had the opportunity of learning from and teaching a fifth grade class in Camden. We were met by the fifth grade students at the Center; their energy was infectious. Starting out the session with a dancing name game activity set the stage for a fun day and allowed everyone to loosen up and get comfortable with another. After introductions, I paired up with two of the fifth graders, Evan and Jason, to begin planting seeds. Jason told me that he wanted to grow french fries, and I replied by saying that sounded good, but we had to grow a certain vegetable first. We then decided that if we could, we would grow potatoes and carrots. Lori, an intern at the Center handed us two different kinds of tomatoes, so we planted those instead. We were instructed to divide up the tray into two parts--half of it would be used for the Nepal Tomatoes and the other half would be for the Berry Wine tomatoes--and two seeds would go into each individual section. The boys gave me directions on how to plant the seeds and planted two full trays. They were a little bit nervous about accidently putting more than two seeds into each section, so they poked holes in the parts of the tray that had no seeds, keeping them on track of where they had planted seeds. After finishing up planting seeds in two trays, we all took a lunch break. As we were heading inside, Jason talked about how much he wanted a burger from McDonalds. Lori then engaged him further in this conversation as she asked him what kind of toppings he would want on his burger and how he might grow some of these things. After he mentioned pickles, she asked "what's the first thing you to you make a pickle". He responded by saying, you grow a cucumber! After lunch, everyone walked over to the school where we would all lead the fifth graders in different activities. Agatha and I worked with a group of 6 students, which included Jason and Evan. We opened up our lesson by playing a video of Marian Anderson singing at the March on Washington. Some of the students seemed to be familiar with her , and we all then discussed how she used her amazing talent in a very important social justice movement--she used singing to stand up for what she believed in. After this, Agatha took over and read some of Nina Simone's lyrics which incorporated nature in many ways. Following this, we looked at pictures of murals and talked about how we could use different types of art to send a message before making our own mural. Everyone contributed something to our mural. Evan drew a picture of a park, Jason had a harder time thinking of an idea, but decied to paint a picture of a football using different colors, Evalyn wrote her name with flowers and hearts drawn besides it, Jasper wrote the lyrics out to his two of his favorite Michael Jackson songs: Change the World and Man in the mIrror, Frankie drew a picture of a large hand surrounded by trees. After everyone had finished drawing their pictures, I put displayed them on the board so that everyone could see the final mural. We closed all of the session by having each person write something they learned or would take away from planting seeds or the lessons on a leaf which was taped on the whiteboard. Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time and people were sad to leave. I really hope we'll get the chance to see the fantastic fifth grade class again.