GREENSBURG – Students in Jodi Koors’ sixth grade class at North Decatur Elementary School (NDES) are learning through action as they progress through a project-based learning (PBL) assignment.

The Daily News reported earlier this year about the class’ first project, which raised around $600 to assist with operations at the local animal shelter. The goal of PBL is to have students as active, engaged participants in their educations by addressing lessons through their interests. This hands-on style of learning has been successful so far, Koors said.

On Thursday, Koors’ class visited Arbor Grove Village to spread a little pre-Christmas cheer. Koors said she asked the class what they were interested in and had students write persuasive speeches about each subject. After students gave their speeches to the class, they voted for a winner.

“They decided they wanted to spread cheer, because it’s Christmastime, to a local nursing home,” Koors said. “Then they went on the internet and did research of all the local nursing homes in Greensburg and after they came up with all the fact and everything, they decided they wanted to go to Arbor Grove because it was one with the most residents and it was local.”

The class spent the morning with Arbor Grove residents, performing plays they created for those assembled and creating and distributing candy-filled stockings for all 70 people living at the facility.

“We had about 25 residents come down for the plays,” said Arbor Grove Activity Director Kathy Morford. “That is a huge group for us and they had at least as many for the stockings.”

Koors said the supplies for the crafts were provided through a series of movie nights hosted by the sixth graders at school. Students make donations and the funds are used for PBL projects.

Morford said the students definitely made an impact on the residents – a very good one.

“This is amazing,” Morford said. “It makes such an impression on the residents to have kids here, for one, and for those kids to come and interact with them one on one – it’s been amazing. This is a great group of kids.”

Students used pieces of cut felt and upholstery needles with yarn to assemble the stockings. Some of the residents gathered to participate in a group setting. However, many of those calling Arbor Grove home are not able to be up and moving much. Students met with these residents individually, helping with stockings and asking questions.

Everywhere one looked, both the students and the seniors appeared to be enjoying themselves. Students were pointing out residents as they passed through the halls, saying, “she has great stories” and, “he reminds me so much of my grandpa.” Clearly, this project has left an impression on the students as well.

“They worked with them one on one, got to know them, talked to them and asked them questions,” Morford said. “Oh, my gosh, the residents love that! To have somebody to talk to who is interested to listen. I just love this group, they’re great.”

Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004; amanda.browning@greensburgdailynews.com

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