Loxahatchee Groves Elementary School Principal Richard Myerson recognized something extra special in two of his teachers, and his nomination of their work earned each of them a DENny Award from Discovery Education.
The award recognizes educators who have contributed to the growth of their community through teaching or leading. The award was given to Lisamarie Sapp and Jelina Gonzalez.
Sapp was recognized in the creativity category for her “engaging and inventive approach with her students.” According to Myerson’s nomination, “Not only does she use DE resources with her students, she also stretches her instruction to meet the needs of other grade levels.”
Although Sapp is a fourth-grade teacher, she wanted to find a creative way to help fifth-grade students revisit previously learned standards to prepare them for testing. She enlisted her students to create a class project using Studio Board to target these standards. “This was a great way for Mrs. Sapp’s fourth-grade students to really delve deep into a topic, and for our fifth-grade students to learn from a classmate,” Myerson said.
Sapp has also brought her class lessons to life by hatching baby chicks in her classroom. “Some teachers would just hatch the eggs and look at the cute babies, but not Mrs. Sapp,” Myerson said.
Applying the math standard of conversion, Sapp had her class learn how to convert the 21 days it took the eggs to incubate into seconds, minutes and hours. “Conversion is one of the most difficult concepts for our students, and by bringing the subject to life, the students really bought into it and learned how to do conversions,” Myerson said.
Gonzalez was honored in the expertise category. She was recognized for her work on the digestive system, which she learned to do during the STEMmersion program last summer. As the president of the Literacy Leaders of Palm Beach County, Gonzalez has also shared her strategies with fellow teachers. She has given presentations on how she uses the Discovery Education Network web site to incorporate the lessons into standards instruction and daily teaching.
Sapp also gives of her own time to help support the school’s STEAM family programs, and Gonzalez chairs the Science Engineering Communications Mathematics Enrichment (SECME) after-school club, which builds bottle rockets as well as mousetrap cars and bridges to compete against other schools during the Palm Beach SECME competition.
DENny winners receive an award and certificate, digital badge and recognition of their achievement sent to their leadership team.