The Magic School Bus: Teaching Literacy Through Real World Experiences

In Mercer County, Hamilton Township School District first-grade teachers Laura Palumbo and Dayna Kowalski were awarded a $3,200 grant to help their students build reading and writing skills through real world experiences.

Through teacher designed learning experiences, students will prepare for and participate in four field trips. The field trips will be aligned with the science curriculum but require students to develop reading and writing skills. The four trips will be to Snipes Farm during fall harvest, Howell Living History Farm, Jenkinson’s Aquarium, and the Bucks County Children’s Museum. To prepare for each trip students will study the trip’s topic through read alouds, mini lessons, and classroom learning centers. Students will ask and answer questions, identify main ideas, describe connections between pieces of information and be able to describe key ideas. During each field trip, students will record their observations, thoughts, feelings and reactions in their journals which could be both written and illustrated. Critical thinking skills will require students to analyze their observations and write a narrative about their experiences.

The project will be assessed throughout the school year using questionnaires about student expectations, teacher observations during read alouds and mini lessons, and while students are working at classroom learning centers.

For more information, contact:

Laura Palumbo, Project Coordinator
(609) 631-4151 (school)