Ship Bottom — Reading, writing and arithmetic. Those three Rs of education first appeared in print in the 19th century, but the idea dates back nearly 500 years earlier. While the tenets have mostly remained the focal point of basic skills, times are changing, and with them the call for real-life applications to education. At the LBI School in Ship Bottom, sixth-graders are getting just that, thanks to a cross-curricular unit of career exploration.
“It is so important that our students begin to think about the future and to recognize how the curriculum they learn each day will benefit them as adults,” said Janelle Gosline, an English languages arts teacher.
Students began by taking a career interest inventory in the tech lab and will use the results to move ahead, Superintendent Peter J. Kopack said, and will use the inventory combined with interests and skills to determine a possible career path.
In technology classes, students will be preparing a slideshow presentation that will showcase their career research findings. In math, the students will explore levels of education, cost of education, and salary ranges for various careers. By the end of the unit, students should be able to explain the required education, cost and potential earnings of their selected career. Additionally, they will be able to explain how their career path requires or uses STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) in daily practice.
“These math lessons, science investigations, essays and technology skills are the foundations of future success,” Gosline said. “By making a direct connection between their lessons and their career dreams, students begin to see the value of an excellent education.”
In the English language arts classes, students will complete a mock cover letter and resume for the career of their choice. They will also be preparing for a mock interview to be conducted at the end of the unit.
A career day is planned for January. Students will participate in simulated interviews with teachers and/or administrators in the morning. In the afternoon, they will have an opportunity to meet with community members in a variety of careers. This will provide an opportunity for students to meet an adult who works in their field of interest, ask questions and get a “real life” look at the daily life of an adult in each career.
“As we are in the planning stages to host members of the community for this event, we are looking forward to having the sixth-grade students learn more about different career paths and how to prepare for them,” Kopack said. “We can see the amount of opportunities is ever-changing, and we want our students to be focused on learning about multiple paths and how to make important connections to academics, and to their social and emotional growth.”
— Gina G. Scala