IRMO, SC – Third grade students at H. E. Corley Elementary School (HECES) learned all about South Carolina history through a fun hands-on research project! The students were challenged to pick a topic, research it, then present it to the school in a unique way. After being divided into groups, the teams went to work on making their topics fun and memorable to learn.
Every year, third graders are taught the history of South Carolina and this year the teachers at HECES wanted to make the learning experience more interactive. Last year, the students learned the standards through a live news broadcast, but Blake Sorrel, a third grade teacher at H. E. Corley Elementary, said her and her fellow teachers wanted to step it up a notch this year. “We have a really great group of third graders who have this drive for learning so all the third grade teachers collaborated and decided to let the students become experts on a specific topic, then present it in a home and garden show style format,” said Sorrel.
Students were enthusiastic about the process and knew their topics, gladly sharing what they learned after traveling from booth to booth. The topics ranged from cotton, peaches and livestock to The Shag, basket weaving and famous South Carolina natives. “We wanted to make sure each region throughout South Carolina was represented so we chose 16 stations then let the students vote on which they wanted to learn more about,” added Sorrel. The projects were presented outside with 16 booths scattered throughout. Students made each station unique such as providing free samples of food, having an animal petting station and playing interactive games with prizes just to name a few.
With the school’s magnet theme being The Leader In Me, Sorrel said they incorporate Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in each lesson. “From the beginning, the students were thinking Win-Win, Seeking First to Understand and Begin with the End in Mind as they researched and designed their booth,” said Sorrel.
H. E. Corley Elementary Principal Dr. Judy Franchini loved seeing her students be proactive and take charge of their learning. She said, “We believe that all of our students have talents and this was a great way to tap into every students’ gift. It is our job to empower our students to lead their own learning. What an excellent example of students’ leading their own learning!”
Throughout the morning, every grade level in the school visited the third graders home and garden show for a chance to learn something new and let the students show off their knowledge about their topics. As Sorrel visited each booth she was very impressed with her students, but insisted it took a village to bring it all together. “Our third graders showed tremendous leadership ability and were so excited to share their topic with others. We couldn’t have done this without the support from our community, the school district and most certainly our custodial staff. The Center For Advanced Technical Studies’ FFA team provided the animals and showed our leaders that they can continue to be leaders as they grow. It has taken a village, but it was a great, exciting day for our students,” said Sorrel.