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Students in the education certification program at Lycoming College had the opportunity to attend West Branch School, a private and student-centered institution, in costume as historical figures as an interactive way to teach social studies. Amy Rogers, Ph.D., professor of education and department chair, learned of the opportunity from Lycoming College alumna Sarah Smith ’11 who majored in history and graduated with a teacher certification.
“We often find that the social studies are the areas left out of the standard curriculum in the Pre-K through fourth grade classrooms,” Rogers said. “By instilling a love for social topics as well as making history come ‘alive,’ teacher candidates learn research skills and instructional strategies to plan lessons and activities like this to do in their own classrooms someday.”
Lycoming College students were tasked with the selection of a historical figure, performing a biographical speech, and staying in character as West Branch students asked questions to help identify them. Figures represented were Princess Diana, Amelia Earhart, Anne Frank, Jackie Kennedy, Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Rockford Peaches softball player, Abraham Lincoln, and John Hancock.
“My education students were so impressed with the knowledge base of the students from West Branch,” Rogers said. Teacher candidate Carolina Regalado ’23 shared that she loved that one of the fourth-grade students knew who Ruth Bader Ginsburg was and started reciting facts about her and her time on the Supreme Court. The student said she had just read a book about her and loved sharing the information.
West Branch School has worked with Lycoming College for the past year, helping student teachers obtain observation hours as well as gain hands-on experience with planning and teaching a curriculum. Both West Branch teachers and students look forward to their interactions with student teachers.
“Our students were so engaged and excited in this activity,” Smith said. “They eagerly raised their hands to guess the character or ask more questions. This was not only fun, but also educational.”