COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS: ENHANCED STUDENT MOTIVATION AND GRANDMOTHER VOLUNTEERS
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Enhanced student motivation was observed in a small rural elementary school art room with the aid of grandmother volunteers and a lesson on local history. Improved qualities of transitions, participation and deep engagement were measured using audio recordings, visual recordings, and observational notes over a period of three 50-minute sessions. Students worked in small groups with grandmother volunteers to learn traditional quilting techniques to create small wall hangings celebrating the life of a beloved local historical hero. Highlights of this research study included beginning transition times changing from 5 minutes to 40 seconds within the 3 sessions. During the same period, ending times were extended 10 minutes with many students requesting to stay in during recess. Even more dramatically, four minutes of silence was recorded during the third session, with all students deeply engaged in the sewing process. The precise role that the grandmother volunteers played in these dramatic results is an area for further research. Compelling results provide new thoughts on classroom culture, relevant curriculum design and community-based learning.