'We feel like grown-ups'

Krystle Wagner • Dec 12, 2016 at 11:00 AM

The community has the opportunity to see the outcome of a partnership between a second-grade class from a local school and a Grand Haven bookstore.

For the past month and a half, Amanda Tejchma’s students from Peach Plains Elementary School have worked to address a real-world problem through a project-based learning opportunity. Students were challenged with finding solutions for getting more people interested in reading and driving more customers into The Bookman.

To highlight some of the solutions, students are hosting an open house from 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, at The Bookman, 715 Washington Ave.

The main goal of the project is to have students connect with a community organization and create solutions to an actual problem, Tejchma said.

To kick off the project, students reflected on the type of worker they are — a planner, thinker, doer or helper. From there, the kids worked to better understand readers.

Second-graders interviewed first- and fourth-graders about topics such as reading habits, their favorite reading spots and other related topics. They used their notes to create empathy maps to put themselves in the readers’ shoes of what they might be doing, thinking, hearing and feeling.

Tejchma noted that the project is also a social learning experience.

Throughout the course of the project, Tejchma said she has watched her students rise to the challenge and become leaders.

“It’s been incredible to see students grow in this way,” she said.

Some possible solutions students developed were: holding a book fair, having rare books, offering more snacks and drinks, having books on sale, and using window displays to promote events happening in the store.

During Thursday’s open house, the students will run different stations – greeters, offer hot chocolate, help people make bookmarks, oversee games, and read some of their own books aloud for entertainment and to help them practice reading with expression and fluency. The students have also spent time working in their groups to ensure they have all the necessary materials and that they are respectful of The Bookman space.

Second-grader Kendl Kling said she believes their efforts will help get people interested in reading.

“Reading is a good thing to do,” she said.

The Bookman owners — Sharon Tanis, Diane Steggerda, Alexa McGuinness and Dick Tanis — said part of their mission is to develop relationships with the community, and they thought the project would be a great experience for the young students.

The store’s owners have treated the students as professionals throughout the project, Tejchma said.

And being allowed to take charge and develop a plan has helped the kids feel like they’re responsible adults.

“We feel like grown-ups sometimes,” second-grader Delanie Pebbles said.

Tejchma’s classroom is looking for other local businesses interested in partnering with them. To connect with the classroom, email Amanda Tejchma at [email protected]

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