GOOD and University of Phoenix recently teamed up to present the Great American Teach-Off, an open call to kindergarten through sixth grade teachers to share their favorite innovative lessons. We asked five of our contest’s finalists to tell us about what they’ve learned through their experience, and how we can find and support the innovative teachers of tomorrow.
Did you know books are as delicious and necessary to a healthy life as food? Sample some of the things on the menu in teacher Terry Dougherty
’s Reading Café, and you’ll see why students’ eyes light up when they can share favorite books with their parents during a special in-class project. Or perhaps you didn’t know how deeply immersed Boston, Massachusetts was in the history of both the anti-slavery movement and the American textile industry. Teacher Chris Hoeh
invites his students to take a dramatic and compelling journey with him into the process of growing and making the cotton in everyone’s clothing.
Kindergarten teacher Trisha Riché
will go to any length to celebrate and stimulate her students, using dance, costumes, fun physical activities, hugs, and even the occasional donated winter jacket to make sure their many needs are met. Teacher Jessica Templeton
helps her kids gain important familiarity and confidence to use computers when they often come from backgrounds where computer use or access cannot be assumed. And teacher Jane Franko-York
helped her fifth graders organize a book and fundraiser that contributed to a non-profit service dog training organization, helping the students put math, reading, writing, and art skills to work.
Read the GOOD Guide to Finding the Teachers of Tomorrow and learn more about these five teachers, their views about the future of the profession, and the many ways to interpret innovation in the classroom.Text by Cynthia Liu Illustration by Kate Slovin
A message from Meredith Curley, Ed.D, Dean of the College of Education, University of Phoenix
As I organized my backpack for a recent trip, I was amazed at the number of cords I had to include to support the multiple electronic devices inside: iPhone, iPad, Kindle, laptop. It was a reminder of how far we have come and the wonderful tools available for knowledge acquisition, entertainment, productivity and efficiency. More powerful is the innovation and integration of these tools that is occurring in classrooms across the country. As a parent, I use Edmodo to connect to my son’s middle school teachers; monitor his progress through online grading portals; subscribe to school district Facebook pages; download dictation apps as homework tools, and so much more. Teachers, students and parents are communicating and exploring—creating new opportunities and exciting connections.
In this GOOD Guide, we’re proud to present some of the country’s most innovative teachers and share their thoughts about how to keep creativity—and creative leaders—in our classrooms.