James Clemens language class collaborates with Liberty history students

Liberty Middle School students Jared Kolowski, from left, Delaney Horton, Battle Clayton and Lily Wright show the Schultuten (gift cones) that they received from German students at James Clemens High School. (CONTRIBUTED)
Liberty Middle School students Jared Kolowski, from left, Delaney Horton, Battle Clayton and Lily Wright show the Schultuten (gift cones) that they received from German students at James Clemens High School. (CONTRIBUTED)
The Schultuten, or gift cones, that James Clemens German students made for Liberty history students contained candy, pens, pencils and markers. (CONTRIBUTED)
The Schultuten, or gift cones, that James Clemens German students made for Liberty history students contained candy, pens, pencils and markers. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – In a prime example of cross-curricular study, language students at James Clemens High School collaborated with history students at Liberty Middle School.

Peggy Boynton’s German I students at James Clemens constructed 60 “Schultuten” for Michelle Breeden’s eighth-graders in pre-advanced placement world history at Liberty.

A 200-year tradition, a “Schultute” is a back-to-school gift that German parents and grandparents give to six-year-olds entering first grade. They fill a large cone with sweets, school supplies and trinkets, Boynton said. Her students made Schultuten stamped with German images and words and filled with candy, pencils, pens, toys and stickers.

Also in a cultural exchange, James Clemens students used Skype to communicate with Liberty classes about the Schultuten and teach a few German words for gift items in the cones. “They did a short question-and-answer and then we watched the Liberty students open their cones, which was the best,” Boynton said.

Alyson Carpenter, Liberty’s instructional partner, observed the Skype session. “It was so much fun for kids on both sides of the screen,” Carpenter said.

Boynton said the project’s objective parallels the course of study for languages by gaining insight to another culture and identifying tangible products of the culture. Both sets of students realized their different subject areas shared commonality.

“Acquiring the skill of communication is applicable in every single subject area inside a school building,” Boynton said. “The heart of the lesson was sharing with someone else. Madison City Schools believes in ’empowering students for global success’ and learning another language and culture, while at the same time strengthening your ability to communicate ideas to others, is critical for 21st-century America.”

James Clemens’ German students also have collaborated with choir and tech theatre classes. Latin students have worked with chemistry, forensics and theater production students.

“James Clemens students learned that, not only can anyone learn about language and culture, but anyone can teach and share what they’ve learned,” Boynton said. “My students were sharing their knowledge and demonstrating language skills already in the fourth week of school.”

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