One group of students was working in teams, deciding what equipment would be most valuable if they were shipwrecked on a tropical island. The list they could choose from ranged from water to rain gear to a compass.
Two boys debated which was higher priority, matches or fishing gear or lunch.
“The fishing gear is lunch,” said Topher Evans.
“You’ve got to have matches, so you can cook the fish,” countered Donnie Neidigh.
“Eat it raw,” challenged Topher.
“No way,” said Donnie.
Teamwork was the emphasis of this section of Goals for Life, a class at East Valley School District’s Success Academy.
Another class was working on personal finance, with examples geared for teens. One student had completed his math: If his goals included buying a $1,000 set of rims for his car by March, he would have to save $42 a week. Doable, decided P.J. Greenan.
In the third section, teacher Ron Barsness led a discussion that flashed from personal finance to civics to life choices.
In all three classes at the alternative school, almost every student joined in. Even the boy who proclaimed he was having a bad day jumped into a discussion about taxes and welfare. Blank stares from slackers in the back row were nowhere to be seen. For one thing, there was no back row.
For another thing, several of the students said afterwards, the classes are small and teachers let you ask for help.
And if they failed to join in?
“Then you miss out,” said Lani Carver. That pretty much summed it up.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
MEMO: Education Notebook is the spot the Valley Voice devotes to telling our community about students’ accomplishments, about learning in classrooms across the Valley. Teachers or parents whose students have earned honors, feel free to toot your horn. Contact Marny Lombard at the Valley Voice, 13208 E. Sprague, Spokane, WA 99216. Call: 927-2166. Fax: 927-2175. E-mail: MarnyL@spokesman.com
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