Custom Learning Academy students make friends at Long Term Care Center | SierraSun.com

Custom Learning Academy students make friends at Long Term Care Center

Special to the Sun
Custom Learning Academy fifth-grade student Savannah Zillalba shares a moment with an extended care resident.
Courtesy photo |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — On Jan. 28 students and teachers of Custom Learning Academy’s lower school went to Tahoe Forest Hospital to interact with seniors in the Long Term Care Center.

The visit was to follow up on a classroom service project involving pen-pal letters with the residents in the Care Center community. Students of CLA displayed a sense of commitment during the process of the visit, thus allowing for each student to develop their own sense of involved awareness that lead to discussions about caring and empathy.

Students created an atmosphere of nostalgia for the seniors by singing some songs from their repertoire like, “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66” and “Rockin’ Robin.” Then the seniors enjoyed their interaction with the students by playing games.

Chilli Messner and Jude Koenig were both excited to share their hand-made board games as a spin-off from class-read novels. Messner made a board game derived from the novel “Around the World in 100 Days” and Koenig created an adventurous board game of an alternate universe based on the novel “Gathering Blue” by Lois Lowry. The students then said farewell after singing a few more memorable songs.

Custom Learning Academy’s ongoing visit to Tahoe Forest’s Long Term Care Center is also a dynamic way for teachers to provide authentic writing in the classroom.

Music, art and drama teacher Todd Tanis said, “After reflecting on the visit, the students appreciated the seniors joyful response and their own youthfulness.” Throughout the year, CLA students serve the community through independent and group projects.

The CLA service project with the Care Center began as a pen-pal writing assignment in December and then expanded into a visit. The students are eager to visit their new friends once a month for the remainder of the school year and continue to write pen-pal letters.