VANDALIA — Out-of-classroom learning complements lessons taught in the classroom. For students, these special lessons can be engaging and relevant. Students are not only exposed to new opportunities they often have the chance to nurture their creativity and imagination, putting into action what they learn in some of their more traditional lessons in non-traditional ways, according to Russ Garman, Principal of Smith Middle School.
The fifth grade students at Smith Middle School had such an opportunity this fall as they had the chance to bring their curriculum alive, working with Muse Machine to develop plays.
Muse Machine actor and educator Michael Lippert met with every fifth grade class to help create two original plays based on the fifth grade learning standards. The group was split in half, with the first group creating Super School Detectives and the second group creating a play entitled, Smith Super Students. In just four days working with Lippert, these creative students were able to plan, to write and to block their productions.
The fifth grade students performed their plays in front of the student body during the school day and then held evening performances for friends and family. To culminate their drama experience, the fifth graders traveled to Victoria Theater to watch a performance of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.”
The fifth graders weren’t the only ones to take their learning outside of the Smith Middle School building.
Ohio History is a key component to the fourth grade social studies curriculum. To help students really experience Ohio history, the fourth grade traveled to Johnston Farm in Piqua. Students were able to experience what life was like in Ohio during the pioneer years. Studies have shown the value of learning through play and experiment, according to Garman. These Smith students were able to see the lessons they learned come to life.
Fourth grade students also furthered their science education by participating in an energy assembly conducted by Vectren.
“A positive learning environment is one that allows students to be comfortable and confident learners,” said Garman. “We believe these activities and the other learning opportunities at Smith Middle School are helping our students be engaged and want to be lifelong learners.”
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