Fifth graders move into the kitchen 2011.12.21

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Sew a button. Make a grilled cheese sandwich. Memorize a poem. Do the laundry.

Those aren’t topics ordinarily covered in the fifth grade classroom, but Melissa Elliott’s “Life Long Learning” class is anything but ordinary. 

When students complete the one-trimester class, they will have learned some new skills that 

thumb into oven

aren’t generally taught in school.

By moving from the lower grades to a fifth grade classroom this year, Mrs. Elliott took on the duty of teaching something outside of the core studies for one trimester.

She didn’t see art or music as something she would excel in, but she did recall a life-long learning class that she taught several years ago at an Adrian school.

She remembered that it required a lot of work on the teacher’s part, but she also remembered that it was a lot of fun.

She presented the idea to principal Kelli Campbell who gave it her backing and planning got underway.

Mrs. Elliott had her own ideas for projects, but she’s getting suggestions from others, too. Another teacher, for example, suggested teaching everyone to tie a necktie. Mrs. Elliott’s mother wants to come to class and teach some basic dinner table etiquette such as setting the table and learning how to use a fork and knife.

“I love how other people are getting excited about the class,” she said.

That includes a set of parent volunteers who help out with certain projects—both through time in the classroom and with the donation of materials.

The projects lead to interaction between the adults and the kids, Mrs. Elliott said, and she thinks the class is great for the parent helpers, too.

Last week students divided into groups and worked with parent volunteers to make a batch of Chex mix and create corn flake holiday wreaths. They finished the session by cooking and eating oatmeal to complete the “Three Things with Cereal” project.washing dishes

The middle school has a room with stoves, sinks and counter space that hasn’t been used much since Jennifer Griffith retired.

“The kitchen lab is amazing,” Mrs. Elliott said. “I like all the learning that’s involved.”

Even for something as simple as the project last week, there are directions to read, verbal instructions to hear, certain steps to follow.

“I’m amazed at all the little things that we need to know,” she said. 

From another project, Mrs. Elliott learned that many fifth grade students have never before cracked an egg.

“You take so much for granted,” she said.

After the session two weeks ago about cooking a grilled cheese sandwich, several students went home and prepared them for their families—much to the delight of their teacher.

Parents will be involved in other ways, too. The laundry project—sort, wash and dry clothes—will be graded by a parent.

Michigan is one of many states pursuing Common Core Standards to make learning expectations consistent across the country.

“Many of the standards link to this class in many subtle ways,” Mrs. Elliott said.

She’s also attempting to find projects that mesh with the Search Institute’s 40 developmental assets for children, to help them grow up “healthy, caring and responsible.”

One of the 40 addresses the importance of adult relationships for children, other than their parents. The culminating project—the Dabble Fair—requires students to work with another adult (see details below).

From what Mrs. Elliott has seen and heard, the class is a hit with the kids. 

“It’s really neat to hear them talking about it,” she said. “They’re enthusiastic.”

That goes for their teacher, as well.

“I like to teach things I can get excited about,” she said.

She’s found a new opportunity for that during the third hour period every day at school.

 

Dabble Fair

The Life long Learning class ends Feb. 29 with Dabble Fair—a celebration of learning something about a topic of interest.

To dabble in something is to take part in an activity in a casual or superficial way. 

Mrs. Elliott’s dabblers will study a topic with an adult and then follow up with a how-to guide.

“I’d like it to be something they’ve always had an interest in,” she said.

The reports might show the product via a photo essay or in some cases a finished product will be shown.

In the final classroom project, students will prepare desserts for Dabble Fair. The show will be open to the public from 3 to 6 p.m.

One student heard about the upcoming class last trimester and dove into her dabbling before the class even started.

She learned how to sew from her grandmother.

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Front.batter

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017