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Students’ Presentations Take You There (December 22, 2009)

Students of the Northern Marianas College’s School of Education recently presented at an open house their class projects that featured unit lesson plans on topics of their choices and simulations of learning centers created to reinforce the lessons being taught. Class instructor Barbara Merfalen expressed enthusiasm in seeing the creativity and ambition of her students.

“I really enjoyed the efforts our teachers-in-training put into producing such organized, practical, and meaningful presentations,” said Merfalen. “Each presentation exceeded the expectations I laid out when I first assigned the project.”

The presentations were part of Merfalen’s Integrated Planning & Programs class, which calls for students to fuse thematic instruction and unit planning.

“One concept I wanted my students to incorporate into their learning centers was the Being There Experience, which allows students to participate actively and become involved,” added Merfalen.

To achieve this experience, several students set up equipment and media for observers. One student’s “On the Drums” learning center featured a complete drum set for an activity and another student’s “In the Ocean” center treated observers to sights and sounds of the ocean as well as a pair of scuba flippers. Yet another student set up handcrafted items at her “Tree of Life” display, which showcased the beauty and utility of the coconut tree.

Upon assigning the project, Merfalen had also stressed to her students the importance of being aware of the multiple intelligences, a theory that divides human potential into eight aspects of intelligence. These aspects include linguistic, logical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic intelligences.

“We are extremely pleased with the ingenuity and thought these students put into their projects,” said NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez. “I am confident in their skills and look forward to their future achievements.”

The learning centers were evaluated on the information presented, directions and procedures given, organization of materials, activities provided, and its overall appearance. The unit lesson maps consisted of daily lesson plans spanning a two-week period, accommodations for students with disabilities, and descriptions of general adaptations.

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