UK education students deliver final projects to local schools | Daily News Byte


Lexington, Ky. (Dec. 23, 2022) — Students from the University of Kentucky College of Education took bundles of instructional tools to Breckinridge and Cassidy elementary schools in Fayette County for the final end of their practicum semester.

The seniors, majoring in elementary education and special education, spent the previous weeks gaining experience in classrooms across the school district and taking courses focused on curriculum development.

The final day of class, known as “Unit Day,” is a culminating hands-on activity for the practicum semester, demonstrating the skills gained in designing and teaching an interdisciplinary unit of instruction.

“Our experiential students worked with second graders at Cassidy and Breckinridge, bringing science and social studies to life,” said Pam Seals, lecturer in the elementary education program. “The second graders played the headband game while learning the characteristics of Lexington, made mountains and small volcanoes, and learned to use the cardinal directions by playing the game in small groups.”

Topics for units conducted by UK students were selected by Fayette County second grade teachers based on the school district’s pacing guidelines. It outlines the course to be taught during the year and anticipates the time needed to help students develop an understanding of it.

“We work closely with our school partners to ensure that the focus of the unit day aligns with their curriculum plans and helps enhance student learning,” said Johnny Meade, clinical instructor of elementary education.

Educators suggested UK students develop units focused on geography and landforms aligned with Kentucky Academic Standards for literacy, social studies and science.

Bailey Avery Morris, a UK senior and Lexington native, was part of a group teaching how mountains are formed, including how tectonic plates move, using food items.

“The whole experience was completely interactive, and we got a lot of intelligent feedback from the second graders,” Morris said. “The unit project not only expanded our lesson planning skills, but it showed us how important it is to engage students in lessons with hands-on activity.”

UK senior Grace McCree’s group chose to build a course around a volcano.

“We started by asking students questions about what a volcano is, where they’ve seen a volcano and what’s inside a volcano,” said McCrary, an elementary education major from Louisville.

After the lesson, students watched a short video clip about volcanoes.

“We asked the students to think of a new fact they learned about volcanoes, then we shared those facts aloud,” said Kate Manno, a UK senior from Lexington. “Our practicum group also found a piece about volcanoes that included music, so we taught it to the students to help reinforce the unit.”

Second graders rotated between hands-on activity stations from UK practicum students to reinforce the material they learned, which also covered bodies of water and continents.

“In our unit, the students either made an ocean, a lake, a pond or a river,” said Nina Seale, a UK senior from Naperville, Illinois. “We brought in fun things for the kids to use with their body water, like stickers, gummy worms, goldfish and gummy sharks. We talked to the students using anchor charts, then the students were able to create their own bodies of water using clay.”

Students on teacher education programs in the UK are immersed in field experiences early in their studies and gradually build their skills and understanding of not only what they teach but how they teach. During the final semester of their senior year, two student teaching experiences are completed in the field of education.

“I look forward to student learning,” McCree said. “This is a rewarding profession, and I can’t wait to have my own classroom.”


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