Engaging in meaningful work that spreads throughout the school and the community is a powerful catalyst for learning, and Michelle David believes this as the founder of Small Town Studios. This educator guides and watches over her 5th-grade students as they build a business at Ramsay Elementary in Mount Pleasant School district. The community has rallied around their efforts which has resulted in several opportunities for students to share and sell their products including selling events and large restaurant orders for coffee mugs.
“Through this experience, my students have been able to work as a team, communicate, and problem solve. The students manage money and time, and complete price comparisons. They have practiced communicating with question and answer sessions for their business interviews. When discussing persuasive speaking, the students created their elevator pitches. I feel that no matter the subject or topic, our business is used as a means of real-world application.” ~Michelle David
A Big Deal: The Supplier Relationship
Small Town Studios customizes coffee mugs using sublimation in their classroom maker space. After receiving a shipment where some mugs were broken in transit, Michelle challenged her students with drafting an email to their supplier, Coastal Business Supplies. That led to some exciting exchanges between the supplier and the students. Building a close relationship with the supplier has led to mentoring and feedback as the students dealt with production issues. It’s also led to students getting to test cool new products like mugs that change color and markers to draw designs on mugs.
Matthew Maurer, the Marketing Coordinator at Coastal Business Supplies, also reached out to Michelle and pitched the idea of involving the students in their current marketing campaign including an article about the students, and a commercial. The students were delighted to plan and record videos including the mugs in design and production, and a customer unboxing a finished mug. Coastal Business Supplies is currently editing the clips to create a complete video showing the journey of the mugs from their warehouse to Small Town Studios students for design and then to the customer.
Through their business growth, Small Town Studios has been able to dissolve the walls between their classroom and the community beyond the school, while building customer and supplier relationships that impact their learning.
To learn more about Small Town Studios, visit their website at www.shopsmalltownstudios.com. You may also be interested in how Michelle David started with EdCorps here. And, connect on Twitter for regular updates about their classroom activities: @Mrs5David.