The nursing home residents told the teenagers how they went to school in schoolhouses divided into a few rooms.
Students at Indian Creek Middle School showed the assisted living residents how their school work is done on digital tablets.
The two groups, divided in age by 50 to 70 years, shared their experiences of public education in Johnson County.
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Indian Creek Middle School and Morning Pointe Assisted Living have had a partnership for three years, starting with a Day of Caring when students did crafts and played games with the residents. That first partnership blossomed into a monthly gathering, where about a dozen students visit the facility and spend time with the residents.
But this time, 10 residents of the Franklin assisted living center went to school as part of a learning activity for both groups. They make the trip about once a year.
They followed the middle school students to art class, making art right along side them. They participated in science experiments meant to teach natural selection and took an online quiz about kitchen safety in a family and consumer science class. Residents took a “back to school” picture and ate lunch with the students.
“(Students) get to show them what they do every day,” seventh-grade science teacher Jennifer Skobel said.
Each resident was given a class schedule to follow, based on their interests and pre-retirement jobs, and paired with students who visit them at their facility.
While the residents were learning the classroom, students were learning from the residents.
Neva Teipen, 88, shared an art class with seventh-grader Isabell Rauls. Teipen told Rauls how art class was nearly non-existent when she was in school and how Indian Creek Middle School eclipsed the school where she went in size.
“I really enjoyed it, I thought it was really fun,” Rauls said. “She didn’t do most of the things I did.”
Most of the residents began reminiscing about their own school days in preparation for the trip. They talked about their days in a one- or two-room schoolhouses, how most grades were educated together and how nearly everything has changed, said Mary Beth Piland, life enrichment director at Morning Pointe.
Some of the subjects students study now are new concepts for the residents, who had an education based on reading, writing and arithmetic, she said.
“They are seeing the huge change,” she said.
Students prepared for the trip too. They prepared to host guests who would move through the school at a slower pace than students and might use walkers. As each bell rang, students met in the commons to pick up a guest and take them to the next class.
Residents talked about the trip for a few days before and were excited to get a peek at the school, Piland said.
“I am enjoying all of these nice children,” said Janey Rynerson, 82.
Students listened to the stories of the old school days and realize they were learning a bit of history in the process, seventh-grader Wendell Ford said.
“It makes my day to have these people come back to school and teach me what they did,” he said.