I Am Not Smarter Than A Second Grader

Second graders at Tuscaloosa City Schools’ Oakdale Elementary taught me a lot as a volunteer with the Summer Bridge Program in July 2011.

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Before too much time goes by, I have to write something about an incredible summer experience I had doing journalism with a second grade class here in Tuscaloosa.

This past Tuesday was the last day of the Summer Bridge Program at Oakdale Elementary School, which is located on Culver Road on the West End of the city.

In just three weeks, the students produced a four-page newsletter with stories they themselves wrote, edited and typed.  They also took most all of the photos that appear in the very first edition of  The Oakdale Eagle.

I know I could not have done what these students did when I was a 2nd grade student back in 1977 at Luther Memorial School in my hometown of  Richmond, Va.

Best of all, these students taught me something about how to learn to type– hunting and pecking can work when you have to get the story done.

You can learn to type (as one student did) in the second grade.

You can learn to use the Promethean Board, which these students showed me how it’s done.

This photo was just for the guys--Tywaun Smith, Dorian Pugh (who decided not to look at the camera) and I were the only guys there on Monday.

And, iCarly has nothing to do with the iPod or iPad.

Now I know what iCarly is, thanks to some very smart second graders.

That lesson came as we worked with the digital video camera this week.

I think this experience will not only prepare the Oakdale students who participated, but me, as a college journalism instructor, as well.

I am now more prepared for what will come to our college classrooms in a few years.

I realize the digital literacy of second graders is much higher than many might think.

And when I have my own children soon, I can know what to expect.

What a great outcome to wonderful summer enrichment experience!

Author: George Daniels

George L. Daniels is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Alabama. After spending eight years in the local television newsroom working as a producer at stations in Richmond, Virginia; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Atlanta, Georgia, Daniels moved from the newsroom to the classroom. He’s conducted research on diversity issues in the media workplace and change in the television newsroom as well as media convergence. Before going to work in television news, Daniels worked briefly as a freelance writer for The Richmond Free Press in his hometown of Richmond, Va.

1 thought on “I Am Not Smarter Than A Second Grader”

  1. Very cool experience! I couldn’t imagine producing a newsletter when I was in second grade either. What great photos, too!

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