In a series of educator profiles, SCCPSS will showcase talented teachers from across the district who are using innovative teaching practices that bring learning to life!
Sarah Lucas is a third grade teacher at Georgetown K-8 School and she’s having a great impact on students with teaching that is full of energy, hands-on, and filled with innovative instructional practices.
Ms. Lucas is a winner recognized by Governor Nathan Deal in the Innovation in Teaching Competition, a recognition and reward opportunity for teachers available through Georgia’s Innovation Fund which is a competitive grant program created through Georgia’s Race to the Top plan.
Her classroom practices have drawn the attention of the Governor’s Office and the school recently received a visit from the First-Lady of Georgia Sandra Deal.
The Georgia Department of Education caught up with Ms. Lucas for a Teacher Spotlight to showcase positive educational strategies that that are making a difference right here in Chatham County.
Teacher Spotlight: Sarah Lucas of Georgetown K-8 School
About this feature: The 100,000+ classroom teachers in Georgia’s public schools are on the front lines of education. They’re nurturing dreams and showing children what’s possible. And they’re making sure students have the tools they need to make those dreams a reality. Teacher Spotlights, a recurring feature from the Georgia Department of Education, introduces you to those educators.
In this edition of Teacher Spotlights, meet Sarah Lucas. She’s a third grade teacher at Georgetown K-8 School in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, and a project on ocean pollution she created for her students led to her being named a recipient of the Governor’s Innovation in Teaching Award. We talked with her about innovative instruction, project-based learning, moments of inspiration and the passion that makes learning fun.
Read the full article on the Georgia Department of Education’s Website: TEACHER SPOTLIGHT
MEET MELISSA MAIKOS - Beach High School
When many people think of teaching in the classroom, images of chalkboards, erasers and pencils come to mind. But if you haven’t visited a classroom lately, what you would find might just surprise you. Chatham County teachers have made new strides with innovative instructional practices that leverage technology to reach students and inspire learning.
The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System has always encouraged teachers to be innovative with instructional strategies and best practices that bring teaching to life. Technology enhances instruction with tools like Interactive Whiteboards, Student Response Systems, and Mobile Learning Devices. A teacher at Beach High School is stepping up to meet this challenge and has never missed the opportunity to utilize a variety of tools as a way to enhance instructional delivery.
Melissa Maikos is dedicated to the daily challenge of finding new methods that engage and connect with students. She bridges the gap between technology and learning by making her classroom interactive. From using computers to presenting her lessons using an iPad, she gives students a chance to work with tools that are often available to them 24 hours a day – making the window for learning available anytime and anywhere.
“I grew up where the primary method of teaching was with the paper and pencil, and now when a student tells me I don’t have paper and pencil, it’s ok. I give them a computer,” explained Maikos. “I’m constantly looking for what to put in a new app or how I can put new information online, so the students can have access to it. How they receive it is up to them, but I want to give them that option.”
However, it’s her work with a new application called Aurasma that puts her at the top of educational innovation. Maikos is passionate about the Aurasma application because it captures the attention of her students.
“Aurasma is unique in that it gives that extra engaging factor for the simple fact that kids haven’t seen anything like it and they can use their phones,” Maikos said. “Plus, it’s pretty ‘cool.’ I use it in the classroom for easy access to the lessons or materials.”
For example, during an American literature lesson, Maikos recorded the class discussing character analysis in the assigned novel. Then she edited the video and connected it to a trigger image. Using the Aurasma app, students could easily scan the trigger image and immediately have access to the video discussion to review.
“If a student is absent, they can use their phone or tablet to scan the trigger image for video lessons they may have missed,” Maikos said. “They can scan pictures around the room, and the pictures come to life with information pertaining to what we’ve learned.”
Students aren’t limited to using the app in class. As long as they have the trigger image, they can access the interactive material from anywhere. Maikos implements trigger images for the Aurasma application in her science and English curriculum. She also uses the technology for bulletin boards, like the teacher of the month board. Students, faculty, and staff can scan the trigger image to immediately see a video of that teacher in action in the classroom.
“It brings the lesson the life,” she said. “The kids are blown away by it. It’s visual and moving images, almost like watching a highlight reel. It adds an element to the lesson that keeps it fresh.”
By combining the Aurasma interactive technology with traditional textbook instruction, Maikos is able to provide a classroom environment rich in differentiated instruction.
The administration at Beach High School is in full support of teachers using technology in the classroom. Principal Derrick Muhammad has seen the way students react to the use of technology. He makes sure teachers like Maikos have the resources needed to satisfy their students’ needs.
While adults might have a learning curve transitioning from traditional pen-and-paper, students are thriving with digital instruction. “I like that Mrs. Maikos is not afraid of trying new technology in the classroom,” Muhammad said. “An innovative approach to teaching and learning will always be one of the most beneficial aspects an educator can have.”
Maikos’ connection with the students is what drives her to work hard in order to provide a valuable education for students in the 21st century. She wants to make sure students are equipped with the knowledge it takes to navigate an ever-changing world. “For me, innovation is all about finding creative ways for building relationships with your students,” Maikos said. “It’s a way to relate to them. If you’re able to meet them in the middle, then it shows them that you care.”