As educators across the state prepare their lessons, their classrooms, and their teaching hearts for the start of school, the groundwork for expectations is in the works.
Jaysa Fillmore is the Agriscience Instructor and FFA Advisor at Cassia High School. The effectiveness of her lessons depend on her demonstrations that are designed to shift kids into the “Ag Mind Set.” She teaches students about soil using an Inquiry Hook, Dave Burgess-style. “I use a large glass jar and fill it with big stones. I ask them, ‘Can anything else fit in the jar?’ The kids just look at me and shake their heads ‘Nope.’ Then I add gravel and I restate the question. The kids’ faces light up…they get it right away. We continue and kids start guessing what else might fit. This is how I introduce the ingredients of our soil. It’s cool!”
Fillmore added, “I show kids that I expect success by teaching them to expect success from themselves. I use ‘walks’ (around campus) to help kids feel safe. I walk next to students, not in front of or behind them, and we walk and talk. You can’t believe the conversations that happen during a simple walk.”
Alex Usog is a veteran and retired from the U.S. Army. He teaches 11th and 9th grade social studies and at Kuna High School, and in his “free time” coaches track, football, and debate. He’s most famous for his mock trials and interactive, dynamic teaching style.
Usog stated flatly, “Kids don’t care what you know until they know you care. Some of the kids that challenge us the most are the ones who need us the most. I teach kids to believe in themselves like I believe in them.”
Chelcy Rodriguez has taught for eight years. For the past four years, she’s been teaching at Harrison Elementary. This year she’s ramping up her game plan to teach kindergarten. The three strategies for Kindergarten Success this year are:
- Math Talk – Every morning her class goes over the number of the day and practices addition. Chelcy stated, “I had amazing results last year.”
- “I teach kids the routines and rules of ‘Respect Yourself and Others!’ Nothing specific because, let’s face it, how long can a kindergartner remember a rule? It makes life so much easier.”
- Rodriguez added, “I also emphasize to have fun…there are no specific rules for this but teaching them that if you’re doing what you’re supposed to, it’s a good day.”
No one can argue with that!
Ray Kinsella said it best in the Field of Dreams, “If we build it, they will come.” Idaho’s educators do the same dream building. They set the expectations and believe students will rise up to them.