Thinking Outside the Box

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A student at the Omaha Home for Boys School used innovative thinking and initiative to turn a popular movie and book into an educational experience for his peers.

Kyle (right) and Mr. Springhower are pictured with copies of The Outsiders, the book Kyle based his vocabulary lesson around.

Kyle, a teenager in Omaha Home for Boys Residential Care Program, recently designed a vocabulary unit around The Outsiders, a story about two weeks in the life of a 14-year-old boy and his struggles with right and wrong in a society where he believes that he is an outsider.

“Kyle came to me with the idea a few weeks ago about using The Outsiders as a base for a weekly vocabulary unit,” said Jim Springhower, a teacher at the Omaha Home for Boys School. “After talking with Dr. Dancer and discussing Kyle’s specific ideas, I agreed that it was something that could work and asked Kyle if he would be willing to help design the lesson.”

From there, Kyle took the ball and ran with it. He used the book and the movie to come up with a 25-question vocabulary quiz that assessed students’ understanding and emphasized specific words, many of which were unfamiliar to students. After a few revisions and discussions with Mr. Springhower, the quiz was ready for students and was ultimately utilized in class as a study guide.

“Kyle’s study guide not only helped keep students engaged, but it also served as great tool to help students demonstrate their knowledge,” said Mr. Springhower. “After having gone through Kyle’s lesson with all three of the school groups, I would consider it a solid success.”

Mr. Springhower also noted that it can be hard to get students to engage in vocabulary lessons because they do not earn a school credit for vocabulary studies. However, the students participated in several constructive group discussions and were genuinely interested in Kyle’s lessons from The Outsiders that addressed issues applicable to their own lives.

“Kyle really hit it out of the park, not only with his idea, but the effort he put into developing a week-long lesson,” said Mr. Springhower. “The fact that his fellow students bought in and were participating because they had a true interest was huge.”

About the Omaha Home for Boys School

The Omaha Home for Boys School opened in August 2014 with six students and has grown to include all new residential youth once they arrive on campus. The school’s goal is to provide educational programming that enhances learning and leads to school success, graduation, employment or higher education.

How You Can Help

You can help other young men like Kyle and his peers attain valuable education and develop a love of learning by making an investment in the Omaha Home for Boys School. Please contact the Development Department to discuss giving options or click the “Donate” button below.


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