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|Project Title: ||Getting to Know Our Bus Driver|
|School Year: ||2006|
|School - District:||Memorial Elementary - Hampden-Wilbraham|
|Contact Name:||Debbie Okun|
|Content-Area(s):||English Language Arts|
|Community Need:||Public Safety|
|Brief Description of SL Project: |
Mrs. Okun's third grade class decided to strengthen their relationship with the Memorial School bus drivers with the goal of establishing "a positive relationship of mutual respect and understanding." The theory behind the concept, according to the students, was that by having a more personalized relationship with the drivers, students would be more likely to appreciate the drivers' efforts to enforce rules of conduct on the bus, thus alleviating bullying. Students surveyed bus drivers and other members of the school community and then worked on a brochure to highlight appropriate school bus rules, and made presentations to other classes throughout the school building. The second project was to create a book entitled "Getting to Know Our Bus Drivers," which provided brief biographies of the drivers. Finally, the culminating activity was to host a Bus Driver Appreciation Breakfast to show that students'had learned the value of respectful interactions.
|The Community Need the Project is Meeting:|
Students addressed the problem of bus misconduct, which was well documented by the principal's data collection and her frequent announcements to students reminding them of the importance of proper behavior. After conducting a survey, they realized that the problem was connected to peer conflicts on the bus and a general disregard for the bus drivers' efforts to enforce appropriate behavioral expectations.
|Service Component: |
There were several different service aspects. Conducting the survey, provided important feedback for the principal and also gave a baseline for evaluation. Creating the brochure with bus rules and making presentations to all other classrooms in the building were two additional service components. Finally, spending the 1:1 time with the bus drivers and preparing the festive appreciation breakfast in their honor was the culminating service, which doubled as the celebration of students' efforts. The liaison estimates that each student was engaged in about 45 hours of service-related activity. The school population of about 400 and the bus driver population of approximately 20 were the beneficiaries. The impact was a measurable reduction in the number of "bus tickets" received at Memorial School this year and, certainly notable, was the fact that not one student in Mrs. Okun's class was disciplined for a bus misconduct infraction during the entire school year.
|Connections with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: |
Ms. Okun covered many learning strands, for example, Literature Strand 7.10: "Read aloud grade appropriate imaginative/text fluently, accurately, and with comprehension, using appropriate timing, change in voice, and expression."
Students read and memorized specific lines from two selected bus related poems orally in small and large groups with fluency and expression."
Class recitations of poems:“Rules For the Bus,” by Eric Ode and “The Ways I Like You,” by Craig Nicholson."
Okun also used ELA Language strands 1.2, 2.2, 3.3-3.5, 4.12 and 4.13; ELA Literature strands 7.10, 8.12-8.14, 14.2 and 18.2; and ELA Composition strands 19.13, 20.2, 21.2, 21.4, 22.3-22.6, and 24.2. Ms. Okun also covered Social Studies (Economics), Science and Technology, and Mathematics (Statistics and Number Sense).
|How Youth Voice Helps Shape Project:|
Students came up with the theme of the project, that getting to know bus drivers would make students more apt to behave while riding the bus.
|Student Reflection Component: |
Students used journals and classroom writing exercises to reflect on their efforts. Examples of student responses included personal bus experiences, imagining how bus drivers feel when students misbehave, thinking about ways in which bus behavior could be improved, and reflecting on some of the responses elicited during their bus driver interviews.
|Community Partners Involved: |
Community partners included the local school bus company and its bus drivers but could also include the Massachusetts or local transportation department.
|Demonstration/Celebration of Students' Work: |
In April, students celebrated their project and their bus drivers with a bus driver appreciation breakfast that was co-sponsored by the school's PTO. The children recited poetry, read their own stories and reflections, and presented the bus drivers with the "Getting to Know Your Bus Driver" scrapbooks and other items to show their gratitude for the work that bus drivers do as well as the help that was givent o complete this project.
|Evaluation of Project's Impact:|
The bus infractions seemed to be the most direct evaluation. We will follow the impact of the project next year by measuring what we hope will be a contined decline in disciplinary referrals for bus misconduct.
|Challenges/Solutions Identified by District:|
This was a very complex project with many layers of preparation, service and activity. The teacher/liaison reported that the biggest challenge was finding the time during the school day-- not only for her own preparations but for the actual student involvement. It touched a variety of curriculum areas, and included several other members of the school community.
* NOTE: This project summary was written by the district/community. Any text in italics was added or modified by the Department (ESE). Most of these projects were supported with Learn & Serve America funds distributed through the ESE.