The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Lupton Renaissance Fund Update

Graduate Course Sparks Creativity

Dr. Chrystal Partridge challenged Ringgold graduate education students in her Instructional Planning and Evaluation class this summer to design learning centers that would be educational, creative and entertaining with minimal expense. The community outreach assignment also included donating a completed center to a community and child-oriented summer program.

Children from pre-K through sixth grade enrolled at The Henry Branch YMCA, North Georgia YMCA, and Dalton Dawg Gap Preschool Programs were the fortunate recipients of the students’ hard work, according to Partridge.

“The community agency and school representatives were excited about receiving learning tools specifically designed for their summer programs, and the children were ecstatic,” Partridge said. “The learning centers were designed and implemented based on our class discussions of the curriculum, teaching strategies, methodologies and assessment tools deemed appropriate for a variety of student developmental levels.”

Partridge asked that a minimum of 15 activities be prepared per center, with three required activities developed by each graduate student. But the graduate students enjoyed the project so much they did a lot more than that, according to Partridge. “The graduate students felt that this was an outstanding university and community initiative and strongly suggested that this project be repeated next summer,” she said. Partridge was proud of the students for using their decorating cents wisely.

“At the end of the school year, the graduate students combed the hallways of their schools looking for items the teachers were throwing out. They were able to recycle many discarded items, keeping costs minimal,” Partridge said.

The preschool, early, and middle elementary school educators in Partridge’s class are part of a cohort, a well-defined group pursuing the master’s degree. Learn more about Graduate Studies at UTC, or to learn more about forming a cohort, please contact Dr. Beth Dodd, UTC Continuing Education coordinator.