Summer Series: Teachers Choose Jenison [Rosewood]

This summer, in an effort to celebrate the amazing teachers at JPS, we will feature one each week and their decision to make our schools their professional home. We are thankful for their boundless creativity, pursuit of their own education, and passion for not just their students, but the entire school they serve. We hope you will enjoy learning more about these incredible men and women as you enjoy your own season of rest and fun!

1st Grade teacher, Danielle Sampo:

I choose Jenison because this was the community I was raised in and the school district I attended.  I wanted my children to have the same experience that I was fortunate to have.

I think Jenison is different school district because it provides opportunities for all students to grow and learn while having a safe, caring community around them.

My building exemplifies hard-working, caring, selfless teachers who go above and beyond for their students. I consider my colleges my family who are always their to support and encourage one another. This positively impacts the students we work with.

I look forward to summer because I love to re-connect with my two boys and my husband all while doing what we love – boating and spending time up north as a family.

If I wasn’t a teacher I would probably be a social worker/counselor working with at-risk children because I love making a difference in the people’s lives. I would teach them that their challenges do not define them as a person but only help to mold them into who they are today.

Thank you, Ms Sampo, for your dedication to our schools and community! We’re thrilled you’re on our team!

Ms Sampo was chosen for this story by Rosewood Principal, Lloyd Gingerich

Rosewood 5th Graders Bring History to Life!

Every year our JPS 5th graders research, create, and present their very own historical wax museums! You could certainly feel the [nervous?] energy in the building last week as the Rosewood 5th graders prepared to wow parents and visitors with their knowledge about figures from American history.

According to 5the grade teachers, Doug Diekman, Mary Beth Vachon, and Marietta Schoolmaster, “Our 5th graders research their character and create a Venn diagram, timeline, word cloud, informational sheet, map, and even draw a self-portrait. This is all displayed on a tri-fold poster board and a short speech is created based on their character and presented in first-person point of view.”

Teachers enjoy watching the kids take ownership of their characters as well as the information needed to make a great presentation. They also like the fact that the project encompasses multiple aspects of the required 5th grade curriculum. “The beautiful part of this project is that there are multiple common core curriculum standards that are met. From reading standards, writing standards, speaking and listening standards, as well as social studies standards. It ties many learning experiences into one.”

The students look forward to the event because it’s a natural extension of the expectations their teachers have of them each day. “This project reiterates our daily lessons of work ethic and accountability with the fact that they know their work will be on display. It also helps connect when they realize that their parents and the “whole school” is coming to watch them.”

“The minutes leading up the first “performance” are our favorite. The kids are getting nervous/excited as they get their costumes ready and places are being set. We gather the kids all up for a “pep-talk” and then walk silently through the “tunnel” of parents as they go their spot in the “museum”. We give a countdown and they all become “wax” for the next hour.” During that hour, guests are encouraged to visit each historical figure to hear a short speech prepared by the student. These are the moments that the students shine as they teach their knowledge to interested audiences!

These 5th grade teachers know that this project is impactful far beyond a history lesson. “There are so many life skills that take place through this process and the confidence that is gained when they are done is immeasurable. Many students are intimidated by this project when it is introduced, but through their perseverance and grit, as in life…a sense of accomplishment is felt by all.”

“The importance and significance of this project simply sums up what is done on a daily basis here in 5th grade. This is just an opportunity for parents and community members to see and hear about the academic and life skills that are taught as students continue to #getbettereveryday.”

Congratulations to all of our JPS 5th graders! We know you had to be brave and creative for tackling this project and you did it! Thank you to all of our 5th grade teachers as well for demonstrating creativity and grit in the classroom for our students everyday!

GVSU Collaborates on Rosewood’s Family Math Night

How many spiders and insects could you make if you were given five play dough “bodies” and forty pipe cleaner “legs”?

JPS Math Night, Rosewood Elementary, Grand Valley State University, GVSU

This was just one of the many questions posed by the GVSU Mathematics Department students who helped to facilitate Rosewood’s “Family Math Fun Night” this past Tuesday. Grand Valley students currently enrolled in Math for Elementary Teachers, along with Professor Pam Wells, organized the night to offer opportunities for practical application of the concepts they’ve been polishing in class.

Peter Rau and Chelsea Henrizi were two of Professor Wells’ students assisting at a table with abacuses. Peter summarized the goal of the night was to “set up a math event that would engage children of all ages and include extensions for those farther along with their math skills, all while keeping it fun.”

JPS Math Night, Rosewood Elementary, Grand Valley State University, GVSU

Chelsea, a visually impaired student, shared that using math manipulatives has opened a whole new world for her. She credits Professor Wells with going above and beyond to make accommodations for her and make math come alive.

“As a blind student myself, I’ve always loved doing math with my hands. It’s helped me to understand concepts from basic adding and subracting to data and probability. I’d love to work with blind children because I didn’t get proper adaptations growing up. I’d like to change that for others.”

JPS Math Night, Rosewood Elementary, Grand Valley State University, GVSU

Students of all grade and ability levels swarmed to one of the dozen tables to dive into games involving everything from geoboards to polygons.

Parents like Heather Noah said that her family reads a lot, but they don’t often spend extra time on math. Rosewood’s Family Math Fun Night gave them the opportunity to work together on concepts her daughter is learning in class.  “We’re excited to be here!” she said.

Others like Kristin Graham were excited to see their children engaged and enthusiastic. “I think it’s good for kids to keep learning fun,” she shared.

JPS Math Night, Rosewood Elementary, Grand Valley State University, GVSU

But fun is only part of it. Professor Wells wants to encourage kids to math with their families much like they already read with their families. Furthermore, she hopes her GVSU students make strides as the next generation of elementary teachers.

“I really want my students to go out the door confident in their mathematics capabilities — really understanding the concepts. Most of them think about how they learned math and we want to relearn it and unpack it. We’re training them to think about math from a teacher’s perspective instead of from a learner’s perspective.”

JPS Math Night, Rosewood Elementary, Grand Valley State University, GVSU

Math Nights like the one at Rosewood provide a way for Jenison kids to re-connect with old concepts, learn new strategies, and engage students around academics with their parents outside of the traditional school day.

If you were able to attend this event, what was your favorite part? Please leave a comment below!

JPS Math Night, Rosewood Elementary, Grand Valley State University, GVSU