Luther's "Project ResPEct" pairs a current student enrolled in one of assistant professor Ellen Drewes-Stoen's Physical Education Methods class with a Luther alumnus who is teaching in Northeast Iowa.
The student and teacher develop projects of mutual interest, such as teaching strategies, management protocols, professionalism, assessment, teacher-coach roles, planning a field day or other school-wide activity, reading and discussing scholarly articles, and curriculum planning.
The projects can be directed to any level between elementary and high school, and must include one or more of these categories: hot topics, golden nuggets and/or unsolved mysteries. Each involves four to five hours of collaboration, either in person or by phone, email or Skype. Upon completion, master teachers and teacher candidates present a "reflection and summary" of their projects.
Luther student Jackie Hoyme two years ago completed a strength-conditioning warm-up video for students in master teacher Jess Tangen's middle school classes at St. Benedict's School and Mike Tangen's classes at Decorah High School. She met with the students, developed the choreography, and created a video that was an immediate hit with students.
"I like working with technology, which is being incorporated more and more into the classroom, so this was good practice for me," says Hoyme. "I am happy we were able to create something that brought the two schools together. Working with Jess and Mike, I was able to create a fun and useful tool that students really enjoy." She says the video is slowly gaining interest outside of the group for which it was intended.
Another student, Melissa Norman, incorporated activity breaks — brief bursts of activity — into master teacher Amy Pipho's health classroom in Decorah Middle School. Norman observed that students' test scores turned out higher than the control group that did not have activity breaks.
"The project was a great experience," says Norman. "I was able to work in the schools and explore a topic I found interesting. It was extremely helpful to see how activity breaks can affect a student's learning. I will be able to use the knowledge and hands-on experience I gained in my future classroom and gym."