Nineteen IDEAS Academy juniors attended LTC Discovery Day this morning to focus on specific career areas and learn what Lakeshore Area Technical College offers. Three seniors and one sophomore also participated.
Students were asked to register for one of nearly a dozen career clusters. After learning about the admissions process and campus life, students headed off with a tour guide to explore that career. Each tour included a facilities overview, classroom experiences and hands-on opportunities with instructors, providing understanding of the program and the field.
For IDEAS, follow-up to college tours is important. Spending time reflecting on the experience gives it meaning and dimension. On this trip, students enjoyed lunch together in the LTC cafeteria where they could sit in small groups and share what they experienced. Conversation helps them process and reconsider what they learned, and compare the different fields. Some students sampled foods from the culinary division of the hospitality industry. Others practiced nursing skills by giving shots to imitation tissue or revisited childhood through learning to read to preschoolers in the early education class. One student discovered wind energy and another was surprised to find an inviting welding program.
As the students talked, they also filled out Field Reports. These forms, also in digital version, capture basic information about the field trip and the student’s thoughts with questions and thinking routines: What aspects of the trip stood out to you? Why was it beneficial to you? to others? Who did you meet that may be a helpful contact in the future? How did you “used to think” and “how do you now think”? These forms help students remember the experience and make good reference points for discussions about and support for future plans and college choices, especially during Presentations of Learning.
After lunch, everyone circled up in the lobby at LTC for a whole group reflection—a chance to share using Think-Puzzle-Explore. All around the circle students shared what surprised them, what they enjoyed, what impressed them, what questions they have now and what steps they plan to take next.
When we headed for the bus, a student said, “I enjoyed doing this, hearing other people’s thoughts about the school.” This group activity bonds our community, and it also bonds the new learning of the day to the students. They will remember, and staff learns ways to assist them with goal-setting.
Thursday during paired Advisories, the travelers will again share their experiences, this time with the younger students at IDEAS. Field Reports in hand, they will inform the freshmen and sophomores about the careers they checked out at LTC and the programs of study they learned about. Our goal is to develop a culture of curiosity. What’s out there to explore? How can I learn more? What will I look for when I next visit a college? And considering this early will help them make good decisions about their futures.