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Innovative Classrooms: SES Second Grade Career Project

For the past three years, a group of teachers from the Solvay Union Free School District met every month to discuss innovation. The group – which called themselves the Solvay Innovation Group – worked to incorporate different learning techniques in their classrooms. Each teacher in the group was involved in innovating and transforming the classroom in some different way, whether it is through Project Based Learning, Author Studies, Standards-Based Grading, or something else.  
Each month the meetings were held, the group would meet to discuss their ideas and evaluate their progress. The group’s motto is, “What, Why, and How” when developing and exploring new learning methods.
Read below to learn about some of the projects that emerged from the work of the Solvay Innovation Group!

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

While the response may come easily for some students, not all students have the answer. Members of Solvay Elementary School’s second grade team had the solution for this with their Career Project.
Melissa Boileau, Steven Grattan, and Trish Porter’s second grade classes worked together with students, encouraging them to brainstorm some possible career fields to research. Once their career choices were narrowed down, students were placed in groups and the research began. Collaborating with SES Librarian Kate Shannahan, Literacy Coach Jill Weston, Music Teacher Anna Lysiuk, and Art Teacher Miranda Raynor, students worked in groups to research articles and highlight facts from the articles about their selected careers. After students had all of their facts collected, they began to create display boards for their presentations.
“The research took about a month,” said Boileau. “But the students enjoyed every minute of it. From the group work to the research, they were so excited to work on this project each day.”
In addition to the research during library time, the Career Project also carried over into art class. Students worked in art class to draw pictures of themselves working in their chosen career. Once all of the pictures were completed, they were each copied and compiled in a book. Each student was given a copy of the book to keep. The SES library also has a copy of the Career Project book for students to view at any time.
Following the research and artwork, students put on a career night to present their work. Dressing up in career outfits, students invited friends, family, and the Solvay community to view their display boards. Members of the community who worked in careers of interest to the students were invited to visit SES and talk with students about their chosen careers. Members in all careers stopped by, including firemen, police officers, EMTs, life guards, teachers, and many more.

“The project was a huge success,” said Boileau. “The students were thrilled to meet their role models and learn more about what they do. We’re excited to incorporate it in our plans in the years to come.”




Solvay Union Free School District
Jay Tinklepaugh, Superintendent
PO Box 980
299 Bury Drive
Syracuse, New York 13209
Phone: (315) 468-1111

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