Teens Teaching the Young


An image of the three art projects prepared for the elementary class. A paper bag puppet made by Mr. Keefe, a flat paper snowglobe by Bethani Moore, and a yarn stick ornament made by Sophie Haines.

On November 12th, Kettle Moraine School for Arts and Performance (KM Perform) began a new seminar series. One of the classes offered was “Elementary Art,” taught by new Art Focus mentor and teacher Mr. Keefe. In this seminar, students were able to create art lesson plans for 4th and 5th grade students at Wales Elementary.

The “Elementary Art” seminar was created for KM Perform juniors and seniors to demonstrate competency in Career and Leadership Studies. During the first few classes, students discussed methods of teaching, how elementary-aged kids are learning and processing at that age, and the lesson plans they’d like to write. As they worked on the curriculum, KM Perform students went to Wales Elementary to observe and assist the 4th and 5th graders in their art class.

Not only did the high school students get to create their own lesson plans for the children, but they also worked directly with the kids. They gave kids three art projects to do, each over the course of three class periods. Sophie Haines, Art Focus senior, suggested making ornaments out of sticks wrapped in yarn; junior Art Focus Bethani Moore suggested the idea of making flat paper snow globes; and Jimmy Brooks, another Art Focus senior, came up with the idea of making paper bag puppets. On the first day that the high school students taught, the class chose between making the ornaments or snow globes. On the second day, students continued working on the ornaments, or finished glueing their snowglobe(s). On the final day, the kids worked together to make their own paper bag puppets.

The children responded well to KM Perform students’ lessons, and most of the volunteers agreed that the students were participating well and enjoyed the lessons. Although students sometimes got distracted, that was mostly believed to have been due to a lack of structure in the class. When asked what they would have changed, KM Perform student volunteers said that they wished they made the class a bit more rigid and would have liked more time to plan their lessons.

The KM Perform students in this class got to experience something most students wouldn’t while earning credit at the same time. This opportunity proved to be a good leadership feedback tool for both the elementary and high school students. As well as learning something new and exploring career options, students were able to see how well the children responded to their teaching, which brought a smile to everyone’s face.