First-Year Writing Students Simulate Service Experiences Using Marshmallows

By S-LTA Katie Elliot

On the Thursday before Spring Break, First-Year Writing Students got their hands powdery while building structures to express important parts of their life using marshmallows and toothpicks. This was part of a Service-Learning reflection activity for a class partnered with the 826 Boston Writer’s Room at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science. The students enrolled in the course serve as tutors in the Writer’s Room.

The activity was a challenge that gave each student in the groups a role to play. One person was a student  the project, the others were tutors, teachers, community members, or 826 Boston staff. The students were given different roles to play and rules to follow like: Tutor- you cannot touch the materials and can ONLY ask questions of the student; or Teacher- you are constantly reminding the student of the rules of the project, the guidelines, and the time constrains. The purpose of this activity was to simulate different experiences, challenges, and situations our students may face while tutoring and to contemplate some successful strategies for managing the influences from stakeholders in a way that benefits the student and his/her work. A lot of laughs were had and marshmallow families, pyramids, and hockey nets were made!


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