By Lisa Carolin
Comparing and contrasting their generation to that of their grandparent’s gave sixth-graders at Beach Middle School a motive to practice their interviewing skills on Dec. 6 during a visit to the Chelsea Senior Center.
The sixth-graders had the opportunity to interview seniors as part of their Generations Interview project.
Beach teacher Amy Doma and Senior Center Assistant Director Jennifer Smith collaborated on the Generations Interview project by pairing up small groups of students with seniors and letting the students ask questions including “How does place, culture and experience influence a person?” and “How can I learn from someone else’s experiences to help me make responsible decisions now and in the future?”
Sixth-graders Samantha Bieber and Charlotte Doma interviewed senior Suzanne Murray.
“It sounds like a lot of traditions have changed,” said Samantha after listening to Murray.
“There are a lot of very different things in their lives like not having had all of the technology we do,” said Charlotte.
On the other hand, Samantha and Murray learned that they are both beginning piano students.
“The subject of piano came up when they asked if there’s anything I’m proud of myself for doing,” said Murray. “We had a lot to talk about that was quality conversation. They were good interviewers.”
Beach global studies teacher Mike Lott co-teaches the Generations Interview project with Doma.
“Non-verbal listening, clear questioning, and conversation skills are things that most sixth graders have not mastered,” said Lott. “The kids are having fun building these characteristics while becoming more effective and harmonious communicators, listeners, and collaborators. The goal is that they will take all of the lessons they have learned and be able to apply them to their future classes, the workplace, and everyday life to be happier, more empathetic, and well-rounded people.”
“We love hosting the Beach Middle School sixth-graders,” said Smith. “Making connections is a big part of what we do at the Chelsea Senior Center and promoting intergenerational connections is a priority. Our senior volunteers look forward to sharing their unique stories. It’s a great experience for all.”