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Albion College, Albion High School, Ashley VanValkenburgh, Mae Ola Dunklin, Melissa Shaw, Schuler Arts

>Albion College students teach Albion Public Schools students lessons ‘beyond the walls of the classrooms’

>On May 7, Melissa Shaw turned her tassel at Albion College’s graduation ceremony.

By May 9, she played “fitness bingo” and taught second-graders at Harrington Elementary School how to use pedometers as part of the Maymester Boundary Crossing program.

As one of 30 Albion College students who implemented interdisciplinary lessons as full-time interns with Albion Public Schools throughout May, the Northwest High School graduated received valuable hands-on experience while giving back to a school district low on resources.

“One day we did a walking tour around Albion where they got to use pedometers, which the kids were all excited about,” she said. “We just did a lot of fun things.”

In addition to taking students on field trips to the museum, library and park, Shaw taught students about nutrition through card games like “Go Healthy” — a spinoff of the classic game Go Fish — and the children made collages that focused on specific food groups.

Shaw took part Thursday night in the fifth annual Maymester Showcase of Learning at the College.

The theme for Maymester 2011 was “Sustainability: Connecting beyond the walls of the classrooms.”

Displays showed lessons that taught students everything from the history of Albion to ways to be environmentally conscious to the history of civil rights in the United States.

“Even though Albion is struggling and there are economic problems in all schools, there are a lot of local resources they can use that are beneficial to them,” said Mae Ola Dunkin, the director of the college’s Fritz Shurmur Center for Teacher Development. “It’s really just a win-win situation for Albion Public Schools, as well as Albion College, because we need a place to train our teachers.”

Albion College senior Ashley VanValkenburgh worked with high school students on lessons that integrated art, English and the environment.

Near the end of Maymester, students created pottery at the Schuler Arts studio in Albion, an opportunity that VanValkenburgh called “very exciting” for the teens.

“What we did for our pottery was we went outside and collected items like leaves, flowers, pinecones, all kinds of things to imprint in our pottery,” she said. “Then after they made the pottery we had the students choose a word to describe the relationship to the environment and how they felt about it — something that would signify their artwork.”

The intensive three-week field experience is funded with the help of community partners such as Albion Philanthropic Women and Kryst Farms.
As published in the Jackson Citizen Patriot on May 27 


About rjwalters

I am what you think I am — a journalist. Actually when I was hired at my current job, which by the way is Sports Editor of the Hillsdale Daily News in Hillsdale, Mich., I applied for a position titled "Wordsmith", so at my best I'll call myself a writer attempting to be a wordsmith extraordinaire.


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