Learning Partners: Co-Teaching With Community Experts

>>Brittany German: You would be
surprised at the amazing things that fifth graders can learn that
you would never think was possible. They will meet expectations
beyond your wildest dreams.>>Dr. Dave Miller: So what do you think? Questions? Lots of them, right?>>Student: Yeah.>>Dr. Dave Miller: So the dimensions from
one point to the next has a number of inches or feet and inches.>>Dr. Dave Miller: So a learning partner is
somebody that brings their own expertise into the school environment
for the benefit of the kids.>>Brittany German: Some of our
learning partners come in weekly, and they do lessons with the kids,
and experiments and activities. They definitely give us
a hands-on experience that most kids will never
get to be part of.>>Nick: Well, it’s pretty cool,
whenever we have him come, he teaches about like science and stuff, and he always teaches us something
we never have thought about.>>Dr. Dave Miller: What else isn’t
going to be going on at 1:00 a.m. for making a shadow?>>Students: The sun.>>Dr. Dave Miller: Ohhhh!>>Brittany German: I think after a
while, we kind of all realized that we just really can’t
be experts at everything. And in order to give the kids what’s
best, this is the way we can do it.>>And flip to the paper
that says “Sundial.”>>Actually Dr. Dave came up
with the idea of the sundial. And we’re like, “Ooh, we could
teach math, we teach angles, we could teach protractors.” And so, of course it became a project. So Ms. McCauley taught
a lesson on angles.>>Student: Forty-five.>>Brittany German: And then Dave taught
a lesson on light refraction. And then I taught a lesson
on earth rotation.>>Tre: Well, first we started
learning about seasons and the position of the sun, and like, in spring we
learned about how the days are longer, ’cause the tilt of the earth.>>Dr. Dave Miller: Because when you’re standing here, your shadow’s the shortest. Summertime shadow’s going to be short.>>Brittany German: So now we’re to
the stage where they’re going to take all those pieces
and put them together.>>Dr. Dave Miller: And we decided this was going to be the center of our sundial. We found which way was north, then
we found which way was east and west. So this is how we’re
going to make our ellipse. And now what we’re going to do
is put the markers for the hours. What’s the distance to eight?>>Student: Four inches and
three-and-seven-eighths.>>Dr. Dave Miller: Four feet–>>Brittany German: So the basically the lesson today, let’s try to figure out kind of our plan, where we’re
going to go from here. Do you think that maybe after
we’re done designing the sundial that we would be able to
go out and use a protractor to find the different
angles between the months?>>Dr. Dave Miller: Tell you what we’ll do that might be real effective
is I have that pivot stick.>>Brittany German: Oh, yeah!>>Dana McCauley: Learning partners help the kids go much deeper in that content than we would ever be able to go.>>Sarah Deacon: As a learning partner, I can share personal experiences with them, it exposes them to a different delivery
of the curriculum content, really. We’re still covering the
life cycle of a plant, we’re just covering it
in a different way.>>Okay.>>Carrie Hordubay: The change in my kids from basic understanding of what soil is, being able to tell me what
nutrients they think they’re missing. None of that would have
happened without Sarah. She was able to bring us that
information, help us deliver it, and help us build these
little scientists.>>Student: We learned about which
light on plants is the best. Plus our learning partner, Miss Sarah. And so far it’s been the clear
and the yellow being the best, because more light’s getting in, so
that’s why they’re growing better.>>Dana McCauley: Sometimes it becomes sort of a co-teaching, because we have to remember that these learning partners
aren’t necessarily educators. So they have all this content
knowledge, but how do you bring it down to an eight- and
nine-year-old level? And that’s where our expertise is. We know kids.>>Carrie Hordubay: So if we continue to put 20 in, and we kind of get these results, what would be a better thing to do?>>Student: Maybe ten do twenty?>>Carrie Hordubay: It’s called increments. Where you can do ten and check it out.>>Sarah Deacon: It’s like a partnership. And so I might not know how to teach
them in a way that’s appropriate for their grade level, how
to calculate and average. But she does.>>Carrie Hordubay: A hundred and thirty-five.>>Dana McCauley: Learning partners can be developed in two different ways. So one way might be because the kids
are expressing an interest in the birds that they’re seeing in the school yard,
and the teacher doesn’t know anything about them, that’s when
you turn to the Bird Club. It can also happen where
they show up, and they say, “Oh, I hear you have gardens! Would you like help with that?”>>Dr. Dave Miller: It sounds a little selfish,
but it’s a whole lot of fun for me. The kids make it fun. The school makes it easy.>>Sarah Deacon: This is like the highlight
of my week, when I get to come here, ’cause I get to just totally geek
out and do really cool science things with kids, and they’re
really excited about it.>>Carrie Hordubay: They see her
as really fantastic. They see her as incredibly smart. That she is a girl, she’s a scientist,
and she’s doing all these things that they are liking to do at
school that they think is just fun, they see her doing that as a profession.>>Tre: They inspire us to
do different things in life.>>Nick: Yeah, it’s pretty
cool, acting like a scientist and being treated like one.>>Brittany German: Learning partners enhance the students’ learning by millions. Double’s not enough. Millions.

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