Lincoln 3rd Graders Dream Up Their Own Neverland
Lincoln Elementary School third graders in Cassie Stronz’s class became their own Peter Pans by creating their individual, special Neverlands as part of an ELA unit. Neverland is a fictional island where Peter Pan lives. It is best known because its residents refuse to grow up.
“My Neverland was about what I like to do in real life,” said Lincoln Elementary School third grader, Noah Langworthy. “I like to make tree houses and forts. I created my Neverland by thinking about nature and what they might be made out of. It was a fun project because we got to use our imagination.”
One of the goals for learning while reading Peter Pan includes analyzing characters through their traits, actions and motivations. Throughout the book, the class discusses how events in a story are moved forward through a character’s actions and motivations. Additionally, they focus on how an author captures the reader’s imagination in different ways, including the use of figurative language, dialogue and suspense.
“In the past, we have given students the opportunity to create their own Neverland through writing and illustrating,” said Mrs. Stronz. “Knowing how important a strong writing foundation is, I didn’t want to change this component. I wanted to build on it. Given all the academic, social and emotional obstacles students have faced this past year with the pandemic, I wanted to find a way to allow them to have fun while learning. Having such small class sizes this year, I felt confident in trying something brand new. I wanted to show students how creating a written story with your imagination can also inspire a piece of art.”
Students were given the freedom to create their Neverlands using their imaginations. Mrs. Stronz provided some guidelines for the written portion within the classroom, but the choice was theirs when it came to creating the projects at home. Mrs. Stronz felt strongly about including families in this project by promoting learning at home in a fun and creative way. Her hope was to inspire academic discussions at home while creating a fun art project together. Students brought their rough drafts home to share with their families and to use as a guide while creating the project.
“Hands-on learning opportunities are important for students, because they allow them to express themselves,” said Mrs. Stronz. “We all have different learning styles and preferences. By incorporating hands-on activities, all students are given the opportunity to feel welcome and be heard within the classroom no matter what their academic ability may be. Additionally, hands-on activities encourage connectivity and positivity amongst peers.”
This was the first time Mrs. Stronz asked families to take part in an at-home project
“I felt a little nervous being that this was the first time. But, as the projects started to roll in, I was in awe over the creativity and effort that was put forth. I received many messages from parents thanking me for this opportunity and telling me how much fun it was for them to work with their child. Listening to students present their Neverlands to their peers with pride was heartwarming. Our classroom was filled with joy and excitement. We loved seeing the different style projects and hearing about who took part in helping. Not only did students work with their parents, but grandparents and siblings also took part in the creating. Each Neverland truly reflected the personality of the child.”