Lakeland College pre-service teachers Denise
Klauck, Doug Novak, and Charles Laini
work with A2 students on their census project.
Why is the United States Census such a big deal? That is the question recently investigated by students at the A2 Charter School. The investigation began when a group of Lakeland College pre-service teachers provided hands-on activities that allowed the fourth and fifth graders the opportunity to draw conclusions about how humans interact with their environment. The Lakeland group, under the supervision of their instructor, Dr. Eileen Hilke, created and presented lessons to the students about movement, regions, location, human/environment interactions, location, and place - the Five Themes of Geography.
The eclectic experience engaged the students in a variety of tasks. Everything from the most current computer technology to traditional activities like bingo, puzzles, and even measuring the effects of wind and water and humans on sand provided opportunities for students to master the standards-based information that is required of them. The day continued with students delving into how that geographic information is gathered and processed by the census that is currently underway. An additional study of theme maps, both current and historical, gave the students background knowledge to make predictions concerning the information the 2010 census might reveal about the changes in America in the last decade.
The A2 Charter School has an ongoing relationship with Lakeland College allowing students and pre-service teachers to interact. In the past the students have enjoyed literature discussions and traded views about what they have read. After the recent experience, one fifth grader reported, "We have more attention from more teachers and they all offer different perspectives on what we are learning." A fourth grader stated, "The Lakeland teachers are also students so it is easy to relate to them because they are learners too." Another fourth grader added, "In a way it is like we are learning at a college level, too." And another fifth grade student concluded, "It makes a nice change because we don't get to work with them every day."
A2 is a charter school of accelerated academics for self-directed 4th and 5th graders. The school is housed at Jackson Elementary School, Sheboygan.