A Weiser, Idaho teacher who benefits from Idaho Public Television’s expertise in online learning and in the classroom.
Melissa Reed just started her 22nd year teaching Idaho youth. And on this August afternoon, she’s staying late in her classroom, waiting to visit with parents at Weiser School’s Back to School Night.
Melissa’s students have benefited from the expertise of Idaho Public Television’s Education Manager, Kari Wardle over the years.
Kari traveled to Pioneer School in Weiser and met with Melissa and other teachers, sharing useful apps and tools for teaching. Melissa says “It was a game changer.”
“The kids learned to research and after all they learned they wanted to continue researching all the time, because they loved this new tool.”
Then during the pandemic, Melissa had to quickly switch to teaching online. She needed resources and relief. Her first call? Kari Wardle.
“Kari was a tremendous resource when we had to make the last-minute decision to teach online due to COVID. We needed to learn new ways to engage the students.”
When Melissa saw how engaged the students were in the lessons, she incorporated the tools and new lessons, such as Apple Classroom into the class’s daily routine. She started each day with a mystery person, place, based on Michael Soskil’s Five Clue Challenge.
Melissa says this exercise inspired students to come up with their own daily challenges and take on leadership roles in the classroom.
“It’s hard to keep students engaged online, and we are always looking for new ways to keep them excited about learning,” Melissa says. “The tools that Kari shared allowed me to get my students seated, thinking, and ready to learn as soon as they entered the classroom.”
What’s more, she explains, is that the resources are free. “If someone is looking for something new and engaging for their students, whether online or in person, they should give these tools a try. Everything is free. Our school didn’t have a lot of money, so any extra free resources we can find is a big deal.”
This PBS Digital Innovator, teacher and instructional coach makes it clear: “sit and get learning” is a thing of the past. Idaho Public Television puts learning in the hands of the students while teaching them twenty-first-century skills.
Paige Somoza has just finished her summer canning: strawberry and rhubarb pie filling. She loves a good project.
Somoza takes lessons from Idaho Public Television and PBS and brings them into her job as a teacher and instructional coach. Paige is crystal clear that the old concept of “sit and get learning” is a thing of the past.
“Project-based learning teaches practical skills that students need to solve problems and succeed in life," she says. "Idaho Public Television brings solid educational resources into a community, and puts learning in the hands of the students while teaching them twenty-first century skills that they will absolutely need to succeed.”
Recently while organizing a collaborative national film festival for Idaho high school students, she had an “aha” moment. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I could facilitate something like this, but through all I’ve learned from national and local PBS, I realized we are all striving for the same thing: a sense of belonging and a sense of celebration for the community.”
Somoza says that her experience working with PBS and Idaho Public Television has shown her “the educational resources are based on improving lives, not economic gain; it’s about enriching everybody’s experience and building a strong community.”