Elementary Students Become Teachers in Community Learning
Byline: Denise Raleigh
My mother should have been here instead of in Ohio.
For her recent birthday, my siblings and I bought her the gift she had been talking about for quite a while: a computer. In the weeks that followed, I was complaining to my brother - the designated "teach-mom-how-to-use-the-computer" sibling - about not receiving a barrage of e-mail from my now-cyber mom. His response to me was, "Slow down, Sister. She's just now conquering using the mouse."
So as I watched Naperville community members of all ages learning from Maplebrook Elementary School fourth-graders how to make labels on the computer, I very much wished Mom had been here - especially after learning the first class started with using the mouse.
Class No. 1 also included instruction on exploring the World Wide Web. "Making Your Own Stationary," was the topic of the 90- minute second session.
I should never be surprised by extracurricular activities at Maplebrook. The school's been a leader in this arena for some time. Young astronauts, running club, intramurals - they're all there and more. They're on the forefront once again by bringing Maplebrook's extras to the community.
Principal Kitty Murphy gives technology specialist Robin Lipkowitz credit for the Basic Skills Class. Lipkowitz got the idea while watching a show on public television about how some communities are staring to change their schools into more community-oriented learning centers. She sought and won a small grant from the Naperville Education Foundation to cover the cost of materials. Then people at Maplebrook contacted residents about the free class through a variety of channels: homeowner newsletters, flyers carried home by students and invitations to community members who have attended concerts at Maplebrook.
Their "Dear Neighbor" flyer said, "You might have been involved in the schools years ago, your children might have grown and moved on, but we want you to know you are still welcome at your community school." It indicated that if residents didn't have their own computers, they were welcome to come to Maplebrook to use any not being used by students.
Maplebrook educators were successful. The third class was filled as Lipkowitz started talking about new products such as magnet sheets, post cards, calendar makers and T-shirt iron-ons that can be used by people with some computer savvy and a printer.
Margaret Graves learned about the class from a friend who had a daughter at Maplebrook.
"She knew I wanted to learn more about computers," Graves said.
Parent Jeri Kneller took the class to become more computer literate.
"My kindergartner knows more than I do, "Kneller said.
Fourth-grader Daniel Ondik, who was teaching Kneller, said he and his classmates prepared to teach by learning everything they needed to know the day before the class.
Marlene Loeltz learned about the class because her grandchildren are Maplebrook students. …