Inver Students Visit Hilltop Elementary

Third graders are treated to cultural folktales and geography lessons

On Friday, March 23, 2017, students in the Introduction to College Reading and Writing course at Inver Hills Community College participated in a community-based learning experience at Hilltop Elementary School in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. The college students spent the morning with a classroom of third graders.

“My students read cultural folktales from their home countries,” said Laura Funke, English and reading faculty at Inver Hills. “They also gave geography lessons and facilitated discussions on the meaning of the folktales.”

Laura added that the college students, who are studying English for Academic Purposes (EAP), thoroughly enjoyed sharing their folktales and information about their homelands.

“As English language learners, my students come from a variety of different countries such as Somalia, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Mexico and Laos,” she said. “They were surprised the third graders were so energetic and engaged—and constantly asking questions. They expected the kids to just sit passively and listen to the stories.”

Click image below for a book of folktales created by Inver Hills students who visited Red Pine Elementary School in spring 2016.

Amazing Folktales

Laura has taken her reading students on community-based learning adventures to elementary schools for three consecutive years. Second and third graders work best because studying folktales is usually already part of their curriculum.

“At first, my students just read their stories, but the assignment has evolved to include reflections on the American school system,” Laura said. “The students complete a composition paper comparing our school system to school systems in their own countries. My students also create a book that compiles all the folktales as a way to the commemorate the experience. Whenever I ask my students what they liked best about the Intro to College Reading and Writing class, they always point to their community-based learning experience as the most memorable. Community-based learning benefits everyone involved.”

EAP 0090 • Introduction to College Reading and Writing • 5.0 credits

Introduces the beginning college student to the demands of college reading and writing through the close study of representative college textbook material and the production of short essays and other informal writing. Includes a study of English grammar troublespots. Intended for non-native speakers whose college assessment results suggest that further development of English reading and writing skills are necessary before attempting college-level English courses.
Prerequisites: Placement as recommended by college assessment. Student must register for this course at the enrollment services counter.

Hilltop Elementary community-based learning gallery

More about Laura Funke…

Laura Funke

Laura Funke

Laura Funke received her master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and her bachelor’s degree in English from St. Olaf College. Laura has taught at Inver Hills since 2005. She teaches developmental writing, composition, and English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.

Laura has served as director of learning communities at the college and is currently the English department coordinator.

Laura has been very active in local professional organizations such as Minnesota Association of Developmental Education (MNADE) and Minnesota Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (MinneTESOL). She served as MinneTESOL president in 2009.

When she’s not teaching, Laura can be found chasing after her two sons, training for marathons, reading historical novels and watching documentaries.

To learn more about English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses at Inver Hills, contact:

Laura Funke
English and Reading Faculty
651-45-3556

To learn more about community-based learning at Inver Hills, contact:

Dionna Jones
Center for Experiential and Work-Based Learning Director
651-450-3295

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