An unmasked drive for achievement, has given J.L. Jones Elementary second grade teacher, Amanda Greer, an edge in the classroom and the ability for her to earn Webster Parish Teacher of the Year.
"I am honored," Greer said.
The application process to apply for Teacher of the Year was long and rigorous. Applicants had to send in a video lesson, unit plan, student work and data to the state before being considered.
"Our project (the video lesson) was called 'The Path to Freedom' that included slavery, the Underground Railroad, the Civil War and important people of that time. It included Social Studies and Reading," Greer said.
Her method of teaching has her students engaged and focused on learning and comprehension, thus being able to make the connection from what is being taught to what is actually remembered.
Greer's unconventional classroom learning is based on students partnering and teaching each other, which is a basis of the methodology of Whole Brain Teaching.
"We do project based learning and they use a lot of technology," she said.
Greer introduced her school to 'Whole Brain Learning' after she became intrigued by the methods and continuous positive reinforcement from the website.
"Engagement is much higher," she said.
Whole Brain Learning uses gestures, acting out, partner teaching, repetition, listening for evidence and positive reinforcement to keep the students engaged and focused.
Students are given options for good behavior rewards, such as sitting with the teacher, taking care of the class pet rabbit 'Snow White' and having a lunch buddy.
A hands-on learning environment has been created by Greer in her classroom, that has enabled her students to create a book that tracked the process of a fertilized chicken egg from an incubator to a hatched chick in the classroom.
"I wrote a grant and was able to get a microscope and the students were able to see the process of a chicken hatch from an egg. Students were able to see inside the egg, so that they can see the whole process," she said.
Students know what is expected of them and the positive rewards that follow their quick-listening skills.
Greer is now entered into the state competition against other teachers that have won Teacher of the Year in their parish.