Education Students Renovate Two City Classrooms, Surprise Fifth Grade Students
Two fifth grade classrooms at The Children’s School (School No. 15) in Rochester were in desperate need of a makeover, so 28 St. John Fisher College education students set out to make it happen in just two days. On November 2 and 3, the Fisher students spent countless hours painting, cleaning, organizing, and renovating the rooms, in an effort to have a surprise reveal for the class on Monday, November 5. And renovate, they did!
Under the guidance of Visiting Instructor Sharon Christman, the 28 students worked collaboratively with School No. 15 to assess the needs of the students and teachers in order to create a better teaching and learning environment. The project was part of the students’ field experience and course work.
Christman sent out a letter district-wide asking schools who needed their help and why. Once School No. 15 was chosen, Fisher students went to meet with the fifth grade class who responded first to find out what was on their classroom wish list. School No. 15 was the first public school in Monroe County to be founded by teachers, and Christman was one of those founders.
While Christman purchased many of the supplies herself, she also recruited Lowes in Webster to support the renovation by providing the materials and supplies at cost. Additionally, each student received their own white board, which was donated by the father of one of the Fisher students. A brand new fish tank was also donated to the classroom.
Childhood and Special Education major Kylie Hart ’13 said that as a future teacher, the experience was invaluable.
“It really helped me think about how I would set up and create my classroom. However, the best thing that I gained from this whole experience were the students' reactions after the reveal,” she said. “Before we opened the doors to their new classrooms, they could barely contain their excitement. And once the doors opened, it was like Christmas morning. They were so excited and were really pleased with what we did - you could just see it in their faces.”
Cherie Ward ’13, also a Childhood and Special Education major, said she really enjoyed collaborating on the makeover with her classmates.
“As future teachers, we expect our students to work together but sometimes we forget what it takes,” she said. “It was nice to see my classmates, professor, and School No. 15 teachers and administration all contributing something different while working towards a common goal.”
Ward said she tried to picture herself in fifth grade and what it would have been like walking into a new classroom on the morning of the reveal.
“When I saw the students’ faces and listened to the excitement that rang through the halls that morning, I knew it was worth it,” she said.
She also said the experience taught her a lot about making a classroom a fun and engaging environment, and that it will benefit her future students one day.
Immediately following the reveal, the entire school gathered for an assembly to watch a video created by the Fisher students called, “Got to Keep Reading,” based on a video done at Ocoee Middle School in Florida.
Sharon Christman and a student strategizing about the layout of the classroom.
The reveal - and reaction!
The reveal was covered by all of the local television stations, who captured the excitement of the School No. 15 students.
The new classroom!