A New Approach On A Big Lesson, For Small Students

Northeast Alabama
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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- Guntersville City Schools are in session during Monday's holiday, but they're using that day to learn about one of the Civil Rights Movement's greatest leaders in a way that's out of the box.

Hands shoot up. "It's a library!"

One little boy in the front row turns around. "I was about to say library!"

Monday afternoon at Guntersville Elementary more than a dozen first graders are seated in straight lines on the floor, legs crossed, staring expectantly at their teacher. "I have a couple of videos I want to show you about Dr. Martin Luther King Junior," their teacher says.

While the video plays, adherent to a first grader's comprehension level, there's a different approach to learning going on out in the hall.

Caroline Smith and Cole Adkison are each clutching an iPad. "They use an app called QR Reader," says their first grade teacher Heather Jones.

They hold up the iPad carefully and eye the app's viewfinder that pops up on the screen.  "All we have to do is scan it and then watch a video about Dr. Martin Luther King Junior," Caroline says.

There's  line of pictures on the wall of Dr. King, drawn by Ms. Jones' first grade class. Right next to those pictures, there a piece of paper with a bar code of sorts printed on it. "They used their love for technology to scan their iPads, work with a partner, watch the videos and discuss it," Jones says.

Once scanned with the iPad the bar code takes the student to a video about Dr. King. It's an approach to learning Jones says the students love, and they have caught on quickly. It's a new way of learning and also new to the school.

Jones says the app teaches  kids how to use technology and it's an interactive way to learn about something so important to our history. "When we read the book you could have heard a pin drop in the classroom," Jones says, "They wanted to learn more about it, and when we got into the story about Rosa Parks they wanted to learn more about her."

She says even though the kids are small, they have been able to learn big lessons. "It's very important. It's a big lesson on how to treat one another, how to be kind to other people, and how not to look at people differently because of the color of their skin," Jones says.

And it seems to have stuck. "It doesn't matter what color your skin is. Tons of people have different color skin," Caroline says.

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