Monett teachers receive grant to get students out into the real world

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Plans include trips to area national parks

The Missouri Council of Teachers of English has announced the winners of the first MoCTE Collaborative English Language Arts Grant.

Amy Sampson, Monett language arts teacher, received the award for her project, “Get Out.”

Her initiative is designed to get students outside the four walls of the classroom to learn in real-world environments. Sampson, along with her collaborator, Angela Johnson, special education teacher, plan to take students to George Washington Carver National Monument, Roaring River State Park, as well as the battlefields at Pea Ridge and Wilson’s Creek, to inspire their students to learn in and about area parks. They hope, as a result that, students will become lifetime supporters of the parks.

Following their field trips, Sampson, Johnson and their students will take part in a service learning project. For the project, they will determine a need at one of the locations and focus their work around that objective. In true service learning fashion, the students will complete the project and the group, along with their teachers, will share with the school and greater community what they have accomplished. Sampson and Johnson will not only share their work with Monett High School faculty but will present or publish their experiences as the final component of the grant.

The goal of MoCTE’s grant is to offer opportunities for collaboration between ELA teachers and the greater community. Grants award collaboration with other schools, other ELA teachers, cross curricular, community service learning, and other opportunities to get students involved in the community around them.

Sampson and Johnson’s “Get Out” project serves this goal well, as they take students outside the limited space of their school with trips to places many of the teenagers have never seen.

In her ELA class, Missouri Literature and Composition, Sampson outlined how place-based education in this class specifically can have a greater impact when students actually see and interact in the environment in which they are studying.

“Traveling, for them, opens up a local and global lens that is not easily achieved by class discussion or solely a Google search,” Sampson said. With the award, the teachers and students will see firsthand what they are studying and will take that learning to the next level in their service learning project.

Bryan Gaskill, MoCTE president, says he is pleased with the first grant winners’ goal to get students involved with their surrounding community. He hopes other ELA teachers will seize the opportunity to get students collaborating in meaningful ways such as this.

MoCTE serves the state of Missouri’s English and language arts teachers. For more information about MoCTE or to apply for the grant, visit www.moteachenglish.org.