Sure, there’s a ton of online resources for teachers: educational websites, magazines, quizzes. But with so little time for browsing and reading, how do they know which web materials are worth using?

WSU College of Education students to the rescue.

ecology learning resource snapshot
A "biome" resource review; click to enlarge

Writing reviews of teacher resources was one of the service learning projects tackled this year by students in Assistant Professor Pauline Sameshima’s Arts Integration class, aka T&L 390, in Pullman. The effort got a rave review of its own from Larry Beutler, editor of Clearing, an online journal of community-based environmental education.  He told Pauline that the resources exceeded his expectations, and wrote to the students:

“The reviews were insightful and creative, and the layout and design of each section was attractive and compelling. I was impressed by the in-depth analysis that you did on the materials, particularly the comments about how you would use the materials in a classroom. Your perspectives on the strengths and weaknesses of the various materials will be very helpful to current and incoming teachers as they look for tools to teach these important topics.”

Over the last two semesters, the topic areas that the students picked have included: climate change, biomes, place-based learning, forests, the solar system, oceans and aquatic environments, food chains, Washington history and salmon,  and alternative energy.

The reviews represented one of several arts integration service-learning projects tracked through WSU’s Center for Civic Engagement. Students also made more than 120 curriculum bags (instructional directions and sample product in a gallon-size zip lock bag) for three after-school programs and for the Palouse Discovery Science Center. Some students will be going to those sites to present their lessons.

“By working with community partners in need, students help to make a difference and also have the opportunity to apply what they are learning in courses,” Pauline said.