Teaching Moments: Making Connections with Hands & Hearts of Students!

pemberton Bowling Green, Campus Events, Kentucky, Teaching Moments

Bowling Green Instructor Chrissy JohnsonMedical Assistant Clinic Instructor Chrissy Johnson and our Bowling Green campus team have found some creative ways to reach out to their students.

In her Medical Assistant Clinic classroom, Chrissy has been implementing a “hands-on” approach to the circulatory system by having students make clay 2-D heart models. “I see that a lot of our students are kinesthetic learners – what they can see and touch is easier to remember. The clay heart project helps them to engage those senses,” says Chrissy. Her method is to divide the students into teams, which she picks by pairing students with stronger communication skills with those with lesser skills, so they can learn from each other. She then gives them a large square of posterboard as their base, and Crayola modeling clay (big bucket is fairly inexpensive and it only takes about a tennis ball sized piece of clay per student). Chrissy also gives each team a marker for labeling and red & blue craft paint. Then they are instructed to sculpt their heart and paint the oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood pathways through the heart and chambers. The clay can be painted wet, so that keeps the project on schedule.

Once the models are dry, they put them on display for all the students in the school to vote on. The winning team gets “Way-To-Go” tickets. More about that later ☺

Bowling Green Teaching MomentsIn addition to the hands-on learning, Chrissy says, “I learned from working in the public school system that students learn by making connections between their classroom material and real life. I encourage them to share things in the classroom from their lives that they think connect to our lessons.” To encourage that sharing, Chrissy gives each of the students a large index card and instructs them to put information on heart diseases or conditions that directly affected their friends or family. They are required to include some information from the textbook, as well as some family research on the card. Then, Chrissy puts each card on the window, and attaches it with yarn to a construction paper heart she cuts out. The heart is labeled “Connections to the Heart”, and the results help students to get to know each other, as well as increase discussion on different heart problems.

Back to the Way-To-Go (WTG) tickets. Tickets are awarded during each mod for other accomplishments, such as appropriate dress code, good answers to a test review, or exceptional success in proficiencies. All the WTG tickets go in an envelope by class, and at the end of the mod, she draws one winner from each class. Prizes might include chocolate, or a funny necklace from the dollar store, etc. She might also have a random draw on a day to surprise students.

Another recognition Bowling Green has found surprisingly successful are the WTG pins. Chrissy found a pack of 30 1” size buttons, which have sayings like “Nice Job” or “WTG” or “You Went the Extra Mile.” She gives those for special accomplishments in the classroom or community service, and the students can attach them to their lanyard, so other students can see the award. “At first, I thought the students would think it was cheesy,” says Chrissy, “but now they are really into winning a pin!”