New Trier Volunteers
Forrestal and North Elementary Schools
November 12, 2014
On Wednesday, November 12th, student volunteers from New Trier High School came to Forrestal and North Elementary Schools to facilitate a literacy-focused day with all 2nd grade students in the district, as a part of an integrated experiential learning component to their 10th grade English curriculum. New Trier has led this same literacy program, with students and teachers from Greenbay School in the past, but this was the first time for Forrestal and North. There were 12 sophomore English classes, 218 students in total, split up across the two Pre-K- 2 grade level centers, creating a close to 1:1 ratio, our students to theirs.
When the volunteers from New Trier arrived they were separated by class, and assigned a 2nd grade classroom with which to work throughout the day. After general introductions were made, the volunteers from New Trier paired up with students from North Chicago and spent time getting to know one another, reading a book together and discussing different components of the story and characters. Following the buddy reading activity, volunteers from New Trier facilitated a storybook theater, where students and volunteers alike read aloud scenes from a book and acted them out in front of the class. The morning portion of the day concluded with a healthy snack and curriculum activity about nutrition and wellness and a fun, Thanksgiving-themed craft.
After sitting side-by-side with their buddies over lunch, volunteers and students returned to their classrooms for a final writing activity about thankfulness for, and recognition of, important people and in their lives.
A number of 2nd grade classes from North and Forrestal have decided to write individualized thank you notes to their buddies at New Trier and the content of their letters is indicative of the impact these positive role models had on the lives of the students in D187. One 2nd grade student wrote, “Dear Buddy, I wish you were here again. I miss you. You’re so nice to me. We work together. I wish you were my sister.”
Students and teachers from both D187 and New Trier High School have expressed interest in seeing this program replicated and the relationship maintained. Discussions are already taking place regarding plans to partner with New Trier in the future.