Thursday, May 7, 2009

Third Graders Visit EMU

Debbie Young

My third grade students, from Flat Rock Community Schools, got their first taste of college life on April 8, 2009 when they spent most of the day on the Eastern Michigan University campus. For over ten years I have brought my students to EMU.

The English department, on the sixth floor of Pray-Harrold, was one of our stops. The students and I were graciously greeted by the Dr. Rebecca Sipe, English and Literature Department Head, and Dr. Bill Tucker, Professor of English and Director of the Eastern Michigan Writing Project. My students were fascinated to learn that Dr. Sipe and Dr. Tucker teach writing and how each of them has continued to write and publish in their careers! A few students, also, proudly told Dr. Sipe and Dr. Tucker about their writing experiences composing narratives, poetry, letters, and expository pieces this school year.
One of the highlights of the trip was when Dr. Tucker gave each student a lovely book entitled, Our Book By Us!/Nuestro Libro ¡Hecho Por Nosotros! This children’s publication is bilingually written in English and Spanish and published by The National Writing Project. Since all of the elementary students in Flat Rock Community Schools have Spanish instruction three days a week, my students felt a strong connection to Dr. Tucker’s gift.
A larger portion of our EMU visit, however, was spent in Sill Hall as participants in the Technology Education Department, where each student built a lighthouse in the wood-shop type of setting. EMU Associate Professor, Dr. Phil Cardon, along with several students who are currently enrolled in his classes, guided the students with their projects. In order to make the miniature lighthouses functional, the students made a complete electrical circuit. Under one-to-one supervision, the children used real tools, too! As you can imagine, this was a very exciting experience!
I feel convinced that the value of my trip to EMU each year is best measured by considering the experience collectively. The willingness of Dr. Cardon, Dr.Sipe, and Dr. Tucker to host my students is a classic example of the kindness that I have experienced in my many years as a student at EMU as well as a returning professional educator. It is no wonder that I keep coming back year after year.

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