Published Online: January 16, 2002
Published in Print: January 16, 2002, as Take Note

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A Shoe-In

More than 150 7th graders at Deer Creek Middle School in Edmond, Okla., have discovered that when the shoe fits, you can do more than wear it.

In fact, you can graph it, draw it, see the world from the shoe's point of view, and even discover how a single shoe can make or break a country's economy.

Teachers at the 450-student school made shoes the theme for the first year of an interdisciplinary program they created to provide students with a hands-on learning alternative. The program, "Think on Your Feet," began after teachers attended a state education department seminar on how to teach critical-thinking skills.

"We started looking for ways to apply a theme into all areas of study," said 7th grade math teacher Ann Bullard, who headed the project.

Teachers asked students to each bring in a new or like-new pair of shoes, and began four weeks of activities that used the shoes as a basis for lessons in everything from literature to science.

In history and geography, for example, students learned all about the origins of their shoes' materials, why shoes made by major brands such as Nike and Reebok often are made outside the United States, and how shoe manufacturing affects the economies of the producing countries. In literature classes, students were asked to write about a day in the life of a shoe.

At the end of the monthlong program, students took their efforts one step further. Every pair of shoes, along with socks, jewelry, toys, scarves, hats, and gloves, was donated to a local charity.

—Marianne Hurst

Vol. 21, Issue 18, Page 3

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