Be our guest
by Judianne Jayme
The first article ever written for this column focused on the importance of collaboration on several levels – classroom collaboration between teachers and students, staff collaborations such as grade-level teams and co-teaching/co-planning, and also with the community – bringing members of our various communities to come and interact with the kids.
Some of the programs we have going on in the school, or have had in the past, include working with the high school down the street for mentorship with their science program. High school kids come in and teach our kids about science concepts through interactive activities and experiments. We also had collaborations with the French immersion program at that same school, as well as home economics students doing a practicum of working with small groups of students.
We have kids going out into the community to do community clean up. Some classes make visits to the retirement home, or to animal shelters. All these programs are possible with the volunteerism of teachers and community members.
What happens most often is that guests are invited to work with our students regarding the topic of human rights, a topic that my students and I have studied throughout the year. Most recently, my classroom hosted two incredibly gifted individuals from the community. One was Ms Ariel Gordon, a Winnipeg writer and poet, who taught my students about the power of descriptive language and creative writing. We interacted with the photograph of National Geographic fame, Afghan Girl by Steve McCurry. We discussed what we thought that young girl was going through, as a refugee. We then went a step deeper and put ourselves into the shoes of either side of the camera lens. We created dialogues between the Afghan girl and Mr. McCurry. We humanized a photograph based on what we knew, and gave them each a voice. Why did he choose to photograph her? What were her thoughts as he approached her for a photograph? What sort of interactions would they have had?
Mr. Renyl Lantano, a Winnipeg-based graphic designer and illustrator, discussed several aspects of art with the students, ranging from photography elements and also how artistic choices change the overall atmosphere or mood created for a viewer. Our final project was for students to create mixed-media projects around original superheroes, all fighting for different human rights. The students understood the importance of making an impact with their art, and how to go about doing this.
Our final guest is fitting, as he was the first to collaborate with us when this column began. We welcome Mr. Valen Vergara, a fellow columnist at this paper, to teach students about informational writing, and how to be persuasive with words.
A big thank-you to our two guests who have come into the classroom. You have made all the difference for these students!
Parent tip: Collaborate!
It takes a village to raise a child. Take time to get to know members and organizations in your community who can help in giving your child the most well rounded experience they can have. Now that summer break is a mere month away, it is important that children are given opportunities to make the most of their free time. This definitely is not limited to sitting in front of a screen all day, be it their computers, the television, or their smart phones. Collaborate with friends and family members to plan play dates or group activities with a schedule that works for you! Get them involved in local programs and initiatives that are eager to keep them engaged all summer. Check your local newspapers and community guides for information about children’s programming this summer. Best of luck!
Judianne Jayme is an educator teaching sixth grade in the Winnipeg School Division.