- Gaston County Schools
Teachers ‘rock their school’ with fun lessons
Hawks Nest STEAM Academy celebrates ‘Rock Your School Day’ with classroom transformations and fun lessons
In an effort to make memories for their students while involved in fun learning activities, teachers at Hawks Nest STEAM Academy transformed their classrooms and dressed up in costumes for ‘Rock Your School Day’ on October 21.
“It’s a day for teachers to teach outside-the-box lessons,” said principal Tammy Mims. “For example, our kindergarten teachers taught about reading and vowels using a bat theme.” Other teachers used themes from Monsters, Inc., Rock of Ages, Woodstock, Carnival, and more.
In addition to themed lessons, teachers were encouraged to add decorations, ranging from the simple to the elaborate, to their classrooms.
“The most important part of a room transformation is planning engaging activities that have an impact on learning,” said kindergarten teacher Amy Hofferbert, whose lessons focused on reading, engineering, and science. Her students designed bat shelters and tested the strength of the shelters by making sure that toy bats could hang and not touch the surface. The students also enjoyed sampling various fruits that bats like to eat.
Teachers participating in ‘Rock Your School Day’ believe it is important to make sure that school is not only a place where students come to learn, but where they also can have some fun.
One fifth grade classroom became the “Decimal Diner.” Using a restaurant-inspired setup, students worked together to solve math problems from items listed on a menu, said teacher Tara Gingles. It made learning about decimals easier and practical as prices on menus often include decimal points.
In another classroom, fifth grade science teacher Taylor White taught students about convection, conduction, and radiation in relation to making everyone’s favorite campfire treat, smores. “Our students were split into three groups, and each group had to see how long it would take to make smores using a convection oven, a hot pot of water on a burner, and a lamp,” explained White.
‘Rock Your School Day’ is part of the ‘Get Your Teach On’ movement that encourages educators across the country to use innovative ways to get their students excited about learning. While ‘Rock Your School’ takes place on one day, the idea is for teachers and students to ignite an affection for learning that will last throughout the school year.
Noah Cole, a fourth grader, said, “We like that our school makes learning fun. Just when you think it’s going to be a normal day, our teachers surprise us.”
As principal of Gaston County’s only elementary magnet school with a focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics), Mims encourages her staff to make the five subject areas interesting, engaging, and inspiring. Using a creative approach to teaching helps students grasp concepts in reading, math, and other subjects that may otherwise be challenging.
“We want an experience that our students enjoy and remember,” said first grade teacher Ariana Waldrep. “We want them to be so excited about school that they look forward to coming back the next day.”