Team of teachers receives Golden Apples

WEST DE PERE – We meet another 2014 Golden Apple recipient as we celebrate some of the outstanding teaching going on in area classrooms.

In this case, it’s classrooms for a team of teachers in the West De Pere School District.

How do you keep 100 third graders focused and learning?

“They’re a fidgety group,” said one of their teachers.

Besides staying busy and on the move in their individual classrooms, a couple of times a week this team of third grade teachers at Westwood Elementary bring them all together.

On this day, it’s to figure out the main idea behind a 150-year-old Norwegian fairy tale, “Three Billy Goats Gruff.” But figuring out main ideas extends back to the classroom.

“For example, there was a tub of different basketballs, baseballs, bat. And they had to kinda figure out, we’re talking about sports,” said third grade teacher Regan Budek.

No matter which of the four classrooms you’re in, it’s the same.

“Everything is done together. We’re just one. We walk into each other’s classrooms. We’re all doing the same thing,” said third grade teacher Stacey Derbique.

They believe togetherness builds benefits long-term.

“I feel like it benefits the students as they are going on in 4th grade and then 5th grade, because we all worked together to make sure that we taught and touched on all the standards that we need to meet,” said third grade teacher Kayla Weyenberg.

“Does anybody see a main idea going on here?” the teachers ask. “What do we have? Simple machines. Write it down.”

So what are simple machines? The students know.

“There’s a wheel and axle which like rotates. There’s levers, pulleys and wedges,” said third grader Landon Maus.

And the teachers are not really surprised their students know what they know.

“They know so much more than we sometimes give them credit for. They’re very, very bright,” said third grade teacher Samantha Sullivan.

So, if you’re so inclined to have a ball, just get into the swing of things and let the good times multiply in the Golden Apple classrooms of Budek, Derbique, Weyenberg and Sullivan.

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