SOE junior Sarah Wilkins led her third-grade small group at Hillcrest PDS in Waco ISD through a curriculum called Connecting Content, and their final project got the attention of the Waco Police Department.
Through Connecting Content, students identify a social issue they want to improve, and the Baylor juniors, who are Teaching Associates (TAs) on the campuses, lead them in researching and addressing the issue.
Wilkins’ group tackled the problem of bullying, and Wilkins invited Waco police officers Sofie Martinez and Steve Dieterich to visit the class and give an anti-bullying presentation. Now the third-graders’ anti-bullying posters are featured on the Waco Police Department’s web page on “Crime Prevention Tips.”
Baylor professors developed the Connecting Content curriculum to teach young students how to get involved in community issues that they care about. Through the curriculum, kindergarteners through fifth-graders identify a topic of interest, learn to research the topic, survey others, organize their data, write a persuasive letter to a community leader, and develop an advocacy presentation.
“The writing is just as important as the social issue,” said Dr. Mary Witte, senior lecturer and the SOE University Liaison at Hillcrest PDS. “Our TAs learn how to teach writing as well as social studies within the project.”
The Connecting Content project was featured in the School of Education’s spring issue of the Impact newsletter. You can read more about it in the story titled “From Ideas to Action.”
The Connecting Content project was developed through a collaboration within the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and also includes Dr. Barbara Purdum-Cassidy, who teaches English Language Arts to the Baylor juniors; Dr. Karon LeCompte, who teaches the social studies component; and Dr. Leanne Howell, SOE University liaison at Mountainview Elementary PDS.