FM 11th graders write books for 4th gradersPre-calculus students at Park Christian School learned by teaching this year. The 11th-graders wrote and illustrated story books outlining basic geometry principles for the fourth-grade class.
By: By Josie Clarey, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
MOORHEAD, Minn. — Pre-calculus students at Park Christian School learned by teaching this year.
The 11th-graders wrote and illustrated story books outlining basic geometry principles for the fourth-grade class.
Math teacher Amy Rogness said she heard of the idea from a former high school teacher. Rogness revamped the idea and had her students create books that taught math concepts.
Rogness said the project got its start around the middle of January, but wasn’t completed until February.
The books were read to an excited fourth-grade class in March.
Fourth-grade teacher Julie Militzer, who worked with Rogness on the project, said the geometry unit they were studying had a lot of vocabulary terms to remember.
“We started early in the year looking through curriculum trying to decide what terms would work best,” she said.
Militzer said the class looked forward to having the pre-calculus students come to their classroom.
“It was very exciting that they could see students who are on the basketball team, or who they look up to coming in to read them,” Militzer said. “Their eyes, when they came in that first time, were just huge.”
Most of the fourth-grade class was impressed with how the books turned out.
“I thought they were just going to be made out of paper, like ones we’ve made before, but they were real, like ones you buy in a store,” fourth-grader Tommy Stueland said.
Besides being amazed with the results, the fourth-graders liked the original stories and animations.
“It was closer to the end of the year,” fourth-grader Kai Nellermoe said. “With all the books, we could remember what all of them were about and what our math lessons were about.”
Like the fourth-grade class, the pre-calculus students were surprised at the results.
“When you’re working on it, you don’t really visualize it as being that good, but our hard work paid off,” eleventh-grader Stephen Appel said.
When it came to the technical side of things, computer and business teacher Brook Spaulding helped coordinate illustrations and publishing.
“I came in when the kids had written their stories and they had begun their illustrations,” Spaulding said. “I came in to show them how to turn their on-paper illustrations to digital illustrations.”
To publish the books, Spaulding sent them to Blurb.com, a website that specializes in self-publishing.
The length of the project wasn’t the only challenge.
Pre-calculus student Dirk Jasperse said the process required a lot of trial and error.
“Problem solving and being able to work as a group was part of it, and making sure we’re doing the best for our own sense of satisfaction and for the kids,” Jasperse said.
Spaulding said no challenges were insurmountable, but were rather a learning experience for all involved.
“These are technologies they don’t use on a regular basis in their learning, so it was really fun to show them,” Spaulding said, referring to the use of Adobe Photoshop.
For the teachers involved, a major benefit was having the different age groups work together.
“I love seeing older kids interacting with younger kids,” Rogness said. “That’s a benefit that we have here — that we’re all in one school — so they get to do that and it’s such a positive interaction.”
Josie Clarey is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.