Learning Lessons: Great ideas, Great schools

Learning Lessons

Watch Learning Lessons on PCN
PSEA and the Pennsylvania Cable Network teamed up to air special 30-minute segments of PSEA Learning Lessons stories throughout the year. Watch the episodes anytime on PSEA.org.

Share your ideas: 
Does your school have an innovative program you would like to share? Do you use an approach to teaching that works for your students? A creative initiative you think others could use in their schools and classrooms? Share it with us here

March 2017: Helping Hands Club

At Bethel Springs Elementary School in the Garnet Valley School District, students are learning how to make a difference at a young age. Elementary kids in grades 2-5 take part in service learning projects through the Helping Hands Club.

November 2016: Spanish Immersion Program

Students in the Spanish Immersion Program at Liberty Bell Elementary School in Southern Lehigh School District learn the same curriculum as their peers – the content is simply taught in Spanish instead of English. In its 26th year, the competitive program is thriving.

September 2016: Unified physical education class 

In physical education class at Biglerville High School, students are learning lessons that go far beyond the rules of baseball or the intricacies of basketball skills. They are learning how to adapt, empathize, and interact with each other, no matter their differences.

July 2016: Business incubator project at Big Spring High School 
Have you ever heard of Shanma's Chocolates? Or Find My Fido - a company that designs tracking devices for runaway dogs? How about PrismPostal, an outfit that can put a sensor in your mailbox to tell you whether you have mail? These are all companies that students at Big Spring High School created as a part of a "Shark Tank"- style class that matches them with local business mentors who help teach them how to be entrepreneurs.

May 2016: Distance teaching project 

Michael Soskil's fourth-grade students in Newfoundland, a rural town in northeastern Pennsylvania, are video chatting with students in Kenya. They are comparing ways to get the weather forecast. The students in Kenya don't have access to the Internet at home. They can't Google the weather like their counterparts in America. So they pay attention to the clouds - the color and shape, and the direction of the wind. 

March 2016: Let's play the cajon 
In the W.A. McCreery Elementary Music Room, fifth-grade students sit on what look like plain, wooden boxes. Others hold smaller, unassuming wooden structures. The students are playing cajon drums and bongo cajons, instruments found in Latin American culture. The opportunity to play real instruments and learn from older peers is all thanks to Marion Center Area High School music teacher Jonathan Schaller.

January 2016: Therapy dog program at Hilltop Academy

Harry was one of the first therapy dogs to be placed in a classroom at the Cedar Run emotional support facility in Cumberland County. There he met a female high school student with school phobia. Just getting her into the building and settled in her classroom was a success in and of itself. The girl had written in a class journal of her plans to commit suicide. But when Harry put his head in her lap, she said it made her feel better. The dog sensed the student was struggling before her teacher knew.

November 2015: Taking Music Outdoors 

At the Western Wayne School District's EverGreen Elementary in Lake Ariel, there are children sitting in pairs, sharing headphones and an iPod shuffle. This isn't a scene from a quiet day at recess. It is a fourth-grade music class with teacher Kathleen Riley, and the children are listening to classical music. Later, they will talk about the connections between nature and the composer's thoughts.

September 2015: Learning Lessons visits the Gator Café

At the Gator Café, special education students fill coffee orders, make change, and socialize with their peers. The pre-vocational program at Gateway High School, Allegheny County, provides students with special needs an outlet to socialize and gain work experience for the future.

July 2015: StoryWalk Fitness Trail 

Thanks to the StoryWalk Fitness Trail, students at the western Pennsylvania school can enjoy a book while participating in physical activity.

May 2015: Teamwork, Organization, Respect, Choices, and Honor (TORCH) in Jim Thorpe Area School District 

The TORCH program, otherwise known as the Schoolwide Positive Behavior Intervention System, is intended to promote a positive learning environment. It sets expectations for student behavior, recognizes students’ good conduct, and rewards them for it.

March 2015: Multiple Disabilities Support Program
At Sarah Starkweather Elementary School in West Chester, a multiple disabilities support program and the talented educators who make it happen, educate and inspire students with differing abilities learning together in one classroom, building community, learning acceptance, and working together.

January 2015: Site-based management in York City 
Who knows best what students need? The educators who teach them every day. York City EA members have built a site-based management model that does just that, and it's working for their kids.








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