National Teacher Appreciation Week kicks off next week with special emphasis on National Teacher Day on Tuesday, May 9th, 2017. Between now and then, you can see the increase of gratitude showered upon teachers on social media by following the hashtag #ThankATeacher.
Here in DML, we have been sure to take as many opportunities as possible to feature some of the amazing educators within the Cobb County School District throughout the school year. Naturally, there are far more teachers that deserve to be recognized for their amazing work with our students. In three of our most recent issues of The Friday 5, we featured an array of teachers across the District.
In Issues #16 and #17, “Quadrants of Quality” parts 1 and 2, we showcased the ways in which four teachers not only develop engaging lessons for their students, but ones that are rigorous and academically rich as well. The featured teachers included:
- Nan Lanford, Media Specialist (Kennesaw Mountain HS)
- The Kennesaw Mountain HS Media Center has been “breaking out of the box” by exposing teachers and students to magic of BreakoutEDU. Nan has also lured students to try new novels through her “Cafe Literati” book tasting events where students get a quick peek into several books that they might find interesting.
- East Cobb Middle School‘s Science & Math Department
- This team of created an immersive Math and Science Night hosted on “Pi Day” or March 14th of this year. Students and teachers explored fun activities ranging from learning about the science behind slime, math required in the game Battleship, and the exploration of the CCSD StarLab. The stellar teachers on this team who made this night a reality include Ms. Sellars, Ms. Quenan, Ms. Kennedy, Ms. Outlaw, Ms. Barnes, Dr. Brown, Ms. Lindsey, Ms. Standifer, Dr. Shelander, and Ms. Rudick.
- Dr. Tamieka Grizzle, STEM Lab Lead Teacher (Harmony-Leland ES)
- The students of Harmony-Leland have been swimming in a sea of STEM enrichment ranging from games, Q&A sessions with some of Lockheed Martin’s engineers, as well as literacy integration into their school-wide STEM Days
- Noel O’Brien, iMation Lab Lead Teacher (Austell ES)
- Teacher Noel O’Brien transformed the Austell Elementary School Writing Lab into the iMation Lab, where students can explore the power of writing as it applies to real-world, multimedia situations. Through the lab, students are able to explore things ranging from podcasting, augmented reality, stop-motion animation, app design and more.
We then received recommendations for other teachers whose work was standing out in the ways they make the learning experience fun for students. These teachers, who were featured in Issue #19, included:
- Carolyn Galloway, History Teacher (North Cobb HS)
- Ms. Galloway looked at ways to connect the students in her courses to a larger view of life and the world at large. Upon introducing Harkness Discussions to her class discussions, her students began to develop communication and critical thinking skills they would need in college or the workforce.
- Sean Splawski, STEM Teacher (Mableton ES)
- Sean has worked make every day a fun day in his classroom ever since his first day of teaching. Some of the fun and enriching lessons his students have explored included a “Super Bowl Challenge” where the students investigated electricity, a “Build a Plant STEAM Challenge” for First Grade students who used their knowledge of botany to create their own plant, and the Mableton STEAM Garden where students learn how their Science and Technology skills can support them in the maintenance of a hearty outdoor garden.
- Jenny Felix, Physical Education Teacher (Lost Mountain MS)
- It is no longer for adults: Coach Jenny Felix has introduced the concept of CrossFit into the Lost Mountain Middle School Physical Education classes. By exploring fun and functional movements, students are benefiting from this partnership that spawned out of Coach Felix’s Cobb Tank grant winnings.
- Alexa Dean, Innovation Specialist (Tritt ES)
- As the Innovation Specialist at Tritt Elementary School, Alexa Dean harnesses the power of a variety of educational and technological tools and toys to support students in developing the “4 Cs”: communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. She even organized a Nerdy Derby competition for her 4th grade students which she plans to reinstate next year which will extend to the middle and high schools within her school’s feeder pattern. Alexa’s work was even showcased in Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “Share Your Story” section of their education website.
- Stephanie Lawson, Physical Education Teacher (Keheley ES)
- Stephanie Lawson and her teammates are grant collecting geniuses who were first awarded $1000 by the USTA (United States Tennis Association) to promote the sport of tennis by providing materials and even painting miniature tennis courts on the Keheley Elementary School campus. Stephanie also won a $250 grant from Jump Rope for Heart to promote the sport of jumping rope. Most notably, her commitment to supporting her students in learning how to make healthy decisions through her partnerships with community partners and even national companies such as KIND who offered healthy snacks to the classes who won in Keheley’s “Straw Walk” event, where the class with themost laps won.
We look forward to featuring more teachers across the District as time goes on, but are glad to have started with this small selection here. For more such features, be sure to follow each of our issues of The Friday 5.