Third Grade

Third Grade Learns All About Jackson

Every year, USJ’s third grade classes complete a Flat Stanley unit to learn about new places, but this time, they utilized their study as an opportunity to discover more about their own city. The project is based on the book Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown, which is about a boy named Stanley, who is flattened when a bulletin board falls on him and who is then sent in an envelope by his parents to visit people through the mail system. Each third grader creates his or her own "Flat Friend" and sends it to someone who lives in a different community. The "Flat Friend" returns with information and pictures for the students to share. The third grade teachers realized that each year, the students learn about other communities, but they had never discussed their own. They reached out to the Jackson Chamber to help them make a change.

Chamber representatives were excited for this opportunity. "Importing talent and knowledge is critical to the growth and success of our community," says Ryan Porter, Chief Operating Officer/General Counsel for the Chamber. "However, retaining our homegrown talent is equally, if not more, important. We want our residents to have a passion for Jackson and a sense of pride in its development. You are never too young to have a passion for your community."

Mandy White, Senior Vice President in charge of Economic Development, agrees. "It’s very important to instill a sense of pride about Jackson in our youth," she says. "It is my hope that most of these students will either stay in Jackson upon graduation or eventually make their way back home. This begins with knowing more about your community."

On Thursday, February 11, Ryan and Mandy began their day with USJ third graders. They explained their roles at the Chamber, as well as discussed the functions of the Chamber itself, and went on to tell the students exciting facts about Jackson. Students learned some details about the history of the city and also participated in a conversation about local treasures, like the symphony, the Jackson Generals, and the large businesses and corporations that call Jackson home. Ryan and Mandy made the time fun by rewarding those who answered questions correctly with candy. The inquisitive students then turned the tables and asked questions of their own.

"This was a great opportunity for us to get in front of a group of young people and share the things that make Jackson such a great place to live, work, and play," says Ryan. "We were able to share new facts with them and impart information that will hopefully instill in them a sense of pride about their community."

"This was the first time for Chamber representatives to come out and visit a school for this type of presentation," says third grade teacher Kelly Barnes. "They said they definitely want to start doing things like this at more schools."

Ryan praised USJ for reaching out to the Chamber. "Several factors make Jackson unique, and we love to share our passion for Jackson every chance we get," he says. "I think we’re going to steal this idea and reach out to the other schools in our community in an attempt to grow this opportunity. It is so encouraging that USJ is proactive in educating their students about their own community."

Safari Park

This slideshow contains pictures of the third grade students visiting Safari Park.