Teachers take learning beyond classroom


The book fair at Landrum Middle School. Photo courtesy by Kate Carmain

Jordan Jafarnia

This spring several teachers have continued the effort to learn beyond the classroom through a number of  service learning projects. Ms. Sarah Shea’s Marine Biology class took a trip to Galveston where they worked in the bay to benefit the ecosystem. Ms. Carolyn Clancy’s Topics class and Dr. Tara McDonald Johnson’s Heroes or Beasts Class created projects for Bruce Elementary and Landrum Middle School respectively where they played games and designed activities for the students. Lastly, the Children’s Theater cast has been working on their show which they will perform at Bruce Elementary.

Earlier this semester the Marine Biology class traveled to Galveston where they built oyster reefs, which would help prevent erosion and increase the oyster population in the bay. Ms. Shea said she liked this service opportunity because it gave the students a chance to give back to a community that they are very familiar with and have a direct relation to.

“I really enjoyed visiting our local marine ecosystem with my marine class because when I go to Galveston it’s for recreational purposes, so it felt good to help ‘save the bay.’ Everyone worked together and had a fun time building these oyster reefs because it was for a good cause,” said Barrett Crosswell (12). The seniors worked with the Galveston Bay Foundation, known for their trips for students and their work towards restoring the ecosystem. The students spent their morning on the bay building the reefs and their afternoon learning about the Galveston Bay ecosystem.

While Mrs. Shea’s project focused on the marine ecosystem, Ms. Clancy’s Topics class planned a service learning project on Tuesday, April 17 that focused on promoting an appreciation for math to the students at Bruce Elementary. Everyone in the class was partnered with a student, and each group created two booth ideas that included fun math games for the kids to play. The booths were set up at Bruce’s gym, where the kids walked around and played math-related games. A few weeks prior to the event, Malcom Hedgepeth (12), Jae LeDee (12), Michael Horne (12), and Elizabeth Baird (11) visited a Bruce Elementary pep rally and talked to the students about Math Night. “It was so much fun! The kids had a ton of energy and all seemed so excited to be at school,” said Baird.

Dr. McDonald Johnson’s Heroes or Beasts class also worked with students, but this time at Landrum Middle School on April 13 to promote literacy. Similar to Math Night, the English class provided Landrum with Literacy Night.

The students in Dr. MacDonald Johnson’s classes set up booths around the gym which included a slime booth, a journal creation booth, a bananagram booth, and a music and poetry booth. In addition to Literacy Night, the class partnered with Kate Carmain (11) who collected 700 books to distribute to the families and students who attended Literacy Night.

“It was awesome seeing the students picking out their books and enjoying the fun activities that Dr. J’s class had planned for them!” said Carmain.

The Children’s Theater cast has been working on their musical “Pirates: Theodore Thud and the Quest for Weird Beard” throughout the duration of the second semester. 

They will perform the show to students at Bruce Elementary, a K-5 HISD school. The Kinkaid students will be there for about three hours – first they will perform their show, then they will spend time with the children by playing theatre games, bringing them snacks, and doing arts and crafts.

The book fair at Landrum Middle School. Photo courtesy by Kate Carmain
The book fair at Landrum Middle School. Photo courtesy by Kate Carmain