REIDSVILLE – Everyone learns best by doing – so that’s what they do at Moss Street Partnership School.
In the accompanying video, Christina O’Connor of UNC Greensboro’s School of Education describes how UNCG and the Moss Street Partnership School work together to find as many ways as possible for students to engage in experiences.
O’Connor and Moss Street Principal Tina Chestnut describe daily interdisciplinary, hands-on learning periods and STEAM sessions to brainstorm Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math problems.
Even kindergarteners get in on it, Chestnut says, describing an egg-drop exercise.
“They had to take the materials they were given and make sure that Humpty Dumpty lived to see another day,” she says.
O’Connor says it doesn’t always involve building something, citing a student who was excited about a book and asked the teacher a question about what the author intended.
“You’d have to ask the author,” the teacher said.
To which the child replied: “Can I write a letter?”
“That’s experiential literacy,” O’Connor says. “That child’s interacting with that book, with that author.”
UNCG Chancellor Franklin Gilliam, Jr. visited Moss Street with UNC System President Margaret Spellings this fall and saw students use pipe cleaners and other simple materials to design a water-purification system.
One excited third-grader told Spellings: “This is so much better than last year!”
“It feels different than it did last year,” agrees fifth-grader Angel Davis. “Last year we didn’t have many things to experience – like we didn’t have the makerspace last year…. We didn’t have technology like we do now. We didn’t have things that we could use to do hands-on.”
In a separate interview, UNCG Chancellor Franklin Gilliam, Jr. said high-quality education is no mystery.
“Bad education we actually do have a cure for: It’s motivated teachers, engaged families, innovative curriculum, having experiential learning and collaborative learning environments,” he said.
“You bring these things to a learning environment and – gee whiz – kids seem to learn better!”