If Smith seems right at home teaching at Hazelwood, that’s because she is.
"The school was built in 2000, and that’s when I was in second grade. We took a big school picture over by that hill right there," recalls Smith.
The teacher of 5 years says it was always her dream to return to her old school and pass her love of learning on to her students.
Today’s lesson was on collecting and analyzing data.
And, that data? Gummies of all different colors.
Smith says a few months ago, she and her fellow teachers were asking their own tough questions, like how to keep third graders engaged online when they need so many hands-on visuals to learn well?
"We were having to think about, ‘Ok, these kids aren’t in the building right now. We have to try extra hard to make up for this lost time with them, face-to-face," explains Smith.
Smith says the solution was sending many of those visuals, like the individually wrapped Gummies, home with the students.
After the pressure of being extra innovative online, Smith says, "I feel like I’ve spent the last two months doing the best teaching of my life."
Now that the students are back in class, the days seem extra sweet.
"She has this huge personality. It’s like positive, and stuff," says student Caroline about her teacher. "She tries to keep calm when there’s something crazy going on."
"Since we had to do this test yesterday, she gave us twenty more minutes of extra recess," adds student Aiden when asked what makes Ms. Smith special.
"They were just so eager to come back to school. So, they really want to be here." says Smith.
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