Two Webster Parish teachers were honored with the distinction of becoming 2014 Teachers of the Year through the Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators.
Amanda Greer, second grade teacher at J.L. Jones Elementary, and Casey Fields, pre-K teacher at Webster Preschool both won the awards for Region 7 for their inspiration and incorporating the use of technology in the classroom.
Greer, who uses a tool called “active expression,” allows students to post their answers onto a SMART Board from their seats.
“Active expression is a tool they use to interact with the SMART Board,” she said.
Greer will ask them a question and the students will input an answer from their “expression” (a handheld device with a keypad). Once all answers have been input, a graph will appear on the board with their answers and how many students got the answer correct.
She also uses iPads and iPhones to allow the students to scan a barcode which interacts with the SMART Board as well. She can use these tools on the overhead projector to show the answers student groups have agreed upon.
Greer is very active and interactive with her students. For example, when they used the SMART Board to show their answers, that day’s lesson dealt with Germany and the history of Christmas trees.
She will use this lesson to incorporate English language arts and social studies. In other lessons, such as the topic of symbiosis (the relationship between animals), students will go the computer lab, research the topic on a teacher-approved, kid-friendly website and come back at the end of the week and do a presentation. Some presentations have been PowerPoint presentations or they might perform a skit.
She also uses a Quick Response Code, or a QR code, where the students will scan the code and on the device, questions to be answered as a group will appear.
Greer and her students have a class pet too. A bunny rabbit named “Snow.” The students learn the concept of responsibility through caring for the rabbit, such as feeding “Snow,” cleaning his cage and petting him. Taking care of “Snow” is a reward for good behavior, she said, because the students love him.
Both teachers expressed their excitement and said they were honored for the recognition.
“I feel honored to be thought of by my peers in this way,” Fields said.
Fields, who has worked with pre-K and kindergarten children for 17 years, uses a “SMART Table” which in essence does the same thing as the SMART Board. It allows her students to be interactive and learn through play.
“To them, it’s a game,” Fields said, “but they are learning at the same time. This allows them to work in small groups too.”
While Greer has 26 students, Fields has 20 with a full-time paraprofessional in the classroom at all times. Much of what these four-year-olds learn is developmental skills like listening and social skills, along with academics.
“We adapt to their learning style through the use of technology and hands-on,” she said.
They use online interactive videos which are projected onto a screen. They learn songs that relate to the current theme or skill they are covering.
Right now, students are learning rhyming words, sequencing pictures, sizes, counting and letter recognition.
Greer is a 2002 graduate of Lakeside High School and received her bachelor of science degree from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. She lives in Minden with her husband and three boys – and the fourth boy is on his way.
Fields is a graduate of Haughton High School and received her bachelor of arts degree from Louisiana Tech. She lives in Minden with her husband and son and daughter.
LACUE was founded on Oct. 3, 1985, according to its website, by Dr. Robert Gillian, Richard Loftin, S.H. Comfort, and Dr. Paul Ohme. The purpose of LACUE is to provide a professional nonprofit organization in the State of Louisiana which recognizes and promotes the use of computers in education.
Lisa Dick, of Minden High School, is the Area 7 director for LACUE. Recipients in the other categories (higher grade levels) are from Bossier Parish.