High school students get youngsters to listen up | SierraSun.com
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High school students get youngsters to listen up

Renee Shadforth

Sean Jordan has learned that to be a good teacher, you have to have the research and knowledge to back up a lecture and make it fun.

Jordan, a ninth grader at Tahoe Truckee High School, and his global studies classmates taught Truckee Elementary third graders on Wednesday about topics important to the Tahoe region, like ski resort impact, fires and watersheds.

“For this project, I spent about three to five hours researching on the Internet,” Jordan said.

It was time well spent; Jordan and his classmates spoke to a group of captivated third graders about global topics and included games to make it fun.

“The elementary students are so much more attentive with the older students teaching,” said Sasha Neumann, who teaches the global studies class. “They love to listen to the big kids.”

The collaborations like these are part of the Tahoe Truckee Service Learning Partnership. Neumann is the school coordinator for the group. The partnership also does long-term projects with the Sierra Watershed Education Partnership, Truckee High Leadership and Friday Night Live.

“A lot of times community members want to help in the classrooms and we help them find a way to do that,” Neumann said.

She said she’s seen both the high school and elementary school children benefit from these partnerships. The high school students who don’t usually turn in their homework, for example, will complete their work if they’re expected to present material to a younger audience, Neumann said.

In the first few weeks of the semester, the ninth graders learned how to do research and read and interpret facts. Then the students broke into groups.

In the classroom, the ninth graders take global topics and break them down into a local context. For Jordan, making the information personal was natural.

“I used to be a kid once,” Jordan reminisced.

Even at the high-school level, with age comes wisdom.


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