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Ironwood students learn from each other


Submitted photo

IRONWOOD HIGH School students partner up to help the district's second graders make Powerpoint presentations about penguins as part of a co-operative education project. Among those participating are, from left, second grader Kaiya Graser and high school student Jamie Dewitt.


Ironwood - Ironwood's second graders spent part of the last two weeks working on a project about penguins, but rather than learn from their teachers, the students were taught by some of the district's high schoolers.

The students were from the district's business information technology class, according to second grade teacher Michelle Trier.

Trier said the project was developed after she and Tess Paakola, who teaches the technology class, collaborated during the Read Across America event earlier this month.

"Her class came down and read with my kids; (they read) a Dr. Seuss book," said Trier. "We said, 'What else can we do to get them together?'"

The students got to pick the type of penguin, and then were paired up to develop a Powerpoint project.

In addition to teaching the younger students how to use Powerpoint, the high schoolers showed them the basics of how to safely search the Internet and find reputable facts, Trier said.

"In second grade, I don't teach them to go out on Google - we have specific academic programs we use," Trier said. "So they taught them to go out on Google and research information ... (and) facts, they had to research facts because that's (something) we're really working on in second grade."

Paakola said her students - in grades nine through 12, but mostly sophomores and juniors - had just finished learning how to fully use Powerpoint, making the timing for the project perfect.

She said teaching others is also a great way to reinforce what someone learned.

While not every high school student enjoyed teaching, many really got into it, according to Paakola.

"Some of them were like, 'I wish we could do this every day,'" she said.

Many of the younger students also had fun learning from someone other than their teacher.

Second grader Marie Hill, who said she liked working with her high school partner, said she learned not only that penguins ate fish, but that they are prey for seals. She also learned how important it was to take care of the computer.

For Trier, it was nice to, "Watch the high schoolers teach somebody to (build a Powerpoint), and then second, to see how the second graders responded to it."

Paakola also enjoyed the experience, saying it allowed some of her students to realize how difficult teaching can be at times.

"Some of them had students who had difficulty staying on task, or were wanting to do other things, like play games," Paakola said. "And I said to them, 'Oh, so you're saying they were hard to teach ... maybe you should think about that next time you're hard to teach.' It was an 'ah-ha' moment for them, which I thought was pretty cool, too."

In addition to the Powerpoints, the students also had to create a research paper - using basic MLA-style citations - regarding what they learned.

The co-operative education continues next week, as the second graders and high school partners will soon present on what they learned to the kindergartners, who Trier said just finished a story on Antarctica.


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