Information courtesy of Warren Township Schools
There is something to be said for seeing
the results of the fruits of your labor — and last year's fourth graders at the Central School in
Warren can do just that, each and every day they hit the playground and see a piece of equipment that has just arrived.
Starting in spring 2013, then-fourth grade students took on a real world objective. They were asked to create a solution to a problem.
Children in the classes of Mrs. Cartolano-Gomez, Ms. Hecht, Mrs. Kurilla, Mrs. SanAntonio, and Mrs. Scherzer brainstormed about school issues and decided their playground was in need of “something more."
This idea for a project geared towards learning in the digital age was partly inspired by keynote speaker Lee Crocket, and the 21st Century Fluencies initiative in Warren Township schools.
To kick off the process, the entire fourth grade student body shared ideas and created a survey which was distributed to the whole school. It was important to the children that their peers all had a voice, according to news from the school.
The results led to the following ideas as top picks for an addition to the playground: permanent miniature golf, portable miniature golf, or a Gaga Pit, in which the students can play games with a ball.
From there, students divided into groups to hone their skills in terms of research, design, or presentation. Each group was diverse and based upon students’ interest.
The groups met twice a week, over the course of six weeks, and were extremely passionate; some students elected to work at recess and home as well. In step with the fluencies, students interpreted information, thought creatively, worked cooperatively, and prepared to communicate their message to a target audience.
From models and posters, to a presentation made before the Warren Township Board of Education as well as the Central Parent-Teacher Organization, the children proved themselves dedicated and driven.
Along their road to success other adults were instrumental in providing guidance. Students met with both Tyler Tribelhorn and Mike Gonnella. who work for the Warren Township schools buildings and grounds department, and both staff members answered many questions and provided some aerial photographs of the property.
In addition to their classroom teachers’ support, students benefited from the involvement of physical education teacher, Mrs. Lamson and a host of caring paraprofessionals, as well as Central School Principal Janet Milita who was invited to attend various planning and work sessions.
After the decision was made to install a Gaga Pit, a local business owner, Anthony Yannotta, donated materials and labor towards the project.
On October 18, six months after the start of the project, the students, who have progressed to the fifth grade, enjoyed a ribbon cutting ceremony as the Gaga Pit was unveiled!
The Gaga Pit will remain as a part of the playground fun at for those now at Central School and in the years to come. The students also will carry a longterm learning experience with them, valuable lessons from what was so engaging, challenging, and most importantly, relevant to their real lives.