HUDSON — Jonathan Shaw and Lauren Fenimore’s kindergarten students just finished their last project-based learning of the year, a way of teaching and learning through projects in the classroom.
Every year, teachers create a guiding question for their work in the classroom on which each PBL focuses.
"This year our guiding question was, ‘How can we give back to Hudson?’" said Shaw, a kindergarten teacher at Evamere Elementary School.
Earlier this year, Shaw’s class helped in a courtyard cleanup and improvement PBL by planting more than 30 plants in Evamere’s main courtyard and spreading more than one ton of stone for a walkway.
In January, Fenimore and a few of her students attended a City Council meeting to tell city leaders about the projects giving back to Hudson, and "The Kindergarten Guide Map to Hudson" was born shortly thereafter.
Students in Shaw’s class brought a Hudson information brochure into class to aide their work in the block area. The students wanted to recreate Hudson landmarks and buildings, one of them being the Hudson Clock Tower. Some students in Shaw’s classroom were new to Hudson and were not familiar with places to visit in town. This "problem" inspired Fenimore’s class into action, and her class brainstormed all of their favorite places to visit in Hudson. Fenimore’s class worked on making categories such as: favorite restaurant, favorite treat shop, favorite park and favorite place. Fenimore turned her class’s work into an online survey and 319 students at Evamere voted on their favorite for each category.
"We had all this great data about the best places in Hudson according to our students, and knew we had to make something out of this, " said Shaw.
"I threw the idea out that maybe our classes could make our own pamphlet about Hudson using this information," said Fenimore.
The two classrooms got to work with the help of James Kurtz of The Kurtz Graphic Design Company and father of one of Shaw’s students. Working with Kurtz, students created map icons, cover design, building drawings and even student handwritten font. Using student work, Kurtz designed the pamphlet and included an origin cartoon to explain the origin of the pamphlet. Students wrote reviews for the No. 1 voted places for each category and Kurtz used handwriting samples from the students to create a digital font so even the typed words on the pamphlet were student-created.
In April, students from Shaw and Fenimore’s class were invited to attend a Rotary Club of Hudson meeting where they accepted a check of $300 to help fund the printing of the pamphlets. With Kurtz’s persistent pursuit of the most affordable printing and the help of the Hudson Rotary Club grant, 2,000 pamphlets were printed.
Both classes then loaded up a wagon May 16 with three cases of pamphlets and started their trek from Evamere Elementary toward the Hudson Visitor Center. Printing delays and rainy weather had both classrooms nervous about being able to make the delivery, but the sky was clear and weather great for dropping off the pamphlets to not only the visitor center, but also to the Howard Hanna Hudson Office and Keller Williams Realty located downtown.
"Now if you are a young child who just moved to Hudson, there is a pamphlet made just for you by children of your new town. I can’t think of a better way to be welcomed to a community," Shaw said.
"I am so proud of our kindergarten students. They have such passion about our community," he said. "They were so excited to share about their favorite places to visit in town."
"The students worked hard to collaborate and communicate through drawing and writing to create this brochure," Fenimore said.
The Kindergarten Guide Map to Hudson can be found at the Hudson Visitors center, Hudson Library and Historical Society and the Hudson Chamber of Commerce.