Lesson Combines Technology, Safety

A Hilton Elementary School teacher talks about lessons that apply to real life.

Sometimes, the lessons learned in school transcend subjects, encompassing more than just math skills or vocabulary words.

That was the case in Morgan Kolis’ class this spring. The teacher combined the technology her students love with an important lesson she hopes they’ll carry with them beyond their classroom walls. 

Kolis, a Plain Dealer Crystal Apple award winner and a special education teacher at this year, took on a tough topic for her students' final project this year – how to recognize and respond in an emergency. Individuals with special needs, like those with autism, don’t always instinctively know how to interact with authority figures, Kolis said.

Barb Vajda, one of this year’s classroom aides, said she hoped that this project taught students that they don’t need to be afraid of police officers or fire fighters if they're lost or in some sort of an accident.

“It’s a hard thing,” she said.

Kolis said she wants to bridge that gap between the non-school community and the students she teaches. In the future, she’d like to continue the lesson by inviting police and fire officers into the classroom to interact with students in a non-emergency setting.  

This year, the kindergarten through third-grade students created “Glogs” and hard-copy posters with vital information, like their addresses, on them. The hard-copy posters were made to go home and be posted near the phone. The “Glogs,” interactive online posters, let the students practice their technological skills. Technology tends to grab students’ attention, she said, adding that most of them adjust to new technology like computer programs and iPads quickly.

“I’ve been really impressed,” Kolis said.

If any parents want to create a similar poster for their children, here’s a list of the information Kolis had students include:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Emergency number to call


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