Teacher – Fifth Grade Chapman Elementary, Strongsville City Schools
Melissa Friedman and her 5th grade Chapman Elementary students (a Strongsville City School) worked with Jimmie Woody (theater), Desmond Davis (dance), and Wendy Mahon (visual arts). Students all read the same novel, The Great Gilly Hopkins. The students then created four alternate endings to the novel and performed them with Jimmie, created two survival dance pieces with Desmond, and worked with Wendy to design a mural at at a local senior living home. They even worked with the school’s music teacher to write a song (and the score!) to describe the character development of Gilly.
Thoughts from Ms. Friedman:
I was able to see a different side of my students that you do not get to see as a teacher inside the classroom. I think the kids realized that they can learn wherever they are — not just in the four walls of a classroom sitting at a desk listening to someone speak to them. I believe the kids saw themselves and what they are capable of being able to do as important to others, that their actions matter to a lot of people. I believe the kids saw that a lot of people care about them and their learning. These are huge confidence boosters. Knowing you are important and matter to others can take you a long way in the world! I hope that is a lesson that each of my students takes with them for a long time!