March 16, 2016 at 10:45am

Dennis-Millikin project-based learning continues to thrive

Millikin University's partnership with Dennis Lab School is thriving this academic year with several project-based learning opportunities for Dennis students as well as increased collaborative learning opportunities for Millikin undergraduates.

Tyler HendersonCities Presentations

In Nov. 2015, Millikin students made a visit to Dennis School to deliver presentations on their home cities. The goal of the project was to find common ground through the presentations and help Dennis students learn more about the cities of Illinois. 

"I think it was good that someone in the class was working on each city we presented because it gave them an idea of what they should put in their own presentation," said Tyler Henderson, a junior music education-vocal major from Naperville, Ill. "Dennis students were actively engaged and I thought it was great how after I did my presentation on Naperville, a student who also presented on Naperville showed us his presentation, kind of a little show and tell experiment."

Emily Wheeler, a junior music major, gave a presentation on Springfield, Ill., her home city. Many of the Dennis students were excited and quick to add thoughts about their experiences in Springfield.

Dennis Rock Ensemble"My experience in partnering with Dennis Lab School has been incredibly positive," said Wheeler. "Even though my major is not education, I've enjoyed getting to share my knowledge and inspire curiosity through the partnership."

Dennis Rock Ensemble

The Dennis Middle School Rock Ensemble is a music making academic experience as well as a social experience, according to Millikin student Christian Wilkey, a senior music education major from Savoy, Ill. Millikin student musicians, led by Wilkey, have been working with Dennis students this spring to create music and to help Dennis students grow as musicians.

Through playing rock music, Dennis students are learning dynamics, tuning, musical phrasing and improvisation. With these skills, the students are able to see different musical connections.

WJMU"The idea of the Rock and Roll Ensemble is to invite students into the world of music making," said Wilkey. "Our titles are 'music teachers' and we should be teaching our students music and encouraging students to have an open mind about the art."

The rock ensemble has appeared at several Dennis School functions and on Millikin's campus for faculty and students to enjoy.

On Air with WJMU

Dennis students working on a Habitat for Humanity project sounded loud and clear over the airwaves Feb. 17 on Millikin's student-run radio station 89.5 WJMU The Quad. Millikin student Paige Bequett, a senior music business major from Edwardsville, Ill., interviewed the students during the spring semester about upcoming fundraising activities.

Bequett noted, "It was fun to watch the kids work together to figure out something brilliant to say terrestrially to the public of Decatur."

Paige plans to have the students back at the station to promote upcoming events and to make the station available for all Dennis students with community projects, allowing the students to gain experience in the studio and have their message heard by a wider audience.

Dennis-Millikin projectDennis Lab School Partnership Liaison Trevor May, a senior commercial music major from Dundas, Ill., says, "As the first liaison to the partnership, I'm allowed to see first-hand the learning that is taking place through our unique programs and activities. Students learning together through different perspectives is inspiring."

May added, "Together we are becoming stronger, lending a hand and constantly finding common ground while making authentic progress towards greatness. This vehicle of innovation can be used as a support system to advance Performance Learning. We are extremely thrilled to launch new programs this semester that will sustain personal growth for students on both campuses."

Click here to read more about Dennis-Millikin activities through the Dennis Lab School Link.