Posted in Colchester High School, Community, General, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

A Rail Car, A Steamship, Some Sleighs … How Experiential Learning Benefits Students

Mark Houle, Audry Houle, Molly Dickin, Jordyn Thayer, Ashley O’Kane, and Hannah Spence in front of the Ticonderoga at the Shelburne Museum
Mark Houle, Audry Houle, Molly Dickin, Jordyn Thayer, Ashley O’Kane, and Hannah Spence in front of the Ticonderoga at the Shelburne Museum

Colchester High School tenth-grade students recently made a pilgrimage to Shelburne Museum as part of their American Experience classwork.

CHS sophomores Kiera Mulcahy, Alex Richard, Mikayla Racine, Miranda Scorsome, and Annie Meadows
CHS sophomores Kiera Mulcahy, Alex Richard, Mikayla Racine, Miranda Scorsome, and Annie Meadows

Students in the CHS American Experience class—which combines the study of US history and American literature in three historical periods—participate in the annual Shelburne Museum visits as a way to gain a hands-on perspective of what they learn in the classroom.

Roz Calderon Paige Shepard, Jenn McNall, Hannah Echo, Anna Senft-Miller, and Haley Mock at Shelburne Museum
Roz Calderon
Paige Shepard, Jenn McNall, Hannah Echo, Anna Senft-Miller, and Haley Mock at Shelburne Museum

Shelburne Museum’s vast collection boasts an impressive assortment of primary-source documents and interesting artifacts that directly relate to the historical and literary topics the students study as part of the class. Making real-world connections to abstract classroom learning is important because doing so often piques student engagement and attention—thus encouraging out-of-the-box thinking and enhancing learning.

Sophomores Dakota Loring, Alex Corrigan, and Tony Spillane
Sophomores Dakota Loring, Alex Corrigan, and Tony Spillane

Field trips often serve to strengthen students’ observational skills and allow them to become more actively engaged in their learning, providing additional sensory activities and expanding their curiosity.

Cady Dubuque and Gabrielle Rancoud-Guillon
Cady Dubuque and Gabrielle Rancoud-Guillon

They also create an extension of the classroom—and that speaks directly to Pathway C of the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017, which states:

“We wish to ensure an academic environment in which real-world relevancy meets the classroom. This environment must:

  • be experiential;
  • provide internships and community service within the building and the community;
  • complement and enrich classroom learning; and
  • move beyond physical and structural confines.”
 Lori Brunelle and Jennifer Butler with sophomores Sam Brunelle, Mychaela White, and Brooke Walton

Lori Brunelle and Jennifer Butler with sophomores Sam Brunelle, Mychaela White, and Brooke Walton

For more information about the American Experience curriculum, please contact Colchester High School at (802) 264-5700, or e-mail CHS teacher Katie Lenox (lenoxk@csdvt.org).

Steven Sonntag, Zoe Ladensack, Morgan Bayko, and Sophie Joyce
Steven Sonntag, Zoe Ladensack, Morgan Bayko, and Sophie Joyce
Allison Davis, Tim Lewis, Maggie McNeil, Megan Severance, and Sarah Campbell
Allison Davis, Tim Lewis, Maggie McNeil, Megan Severance, and Sarah Campbell

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