Science teacher tackles literature course
When she was hired to teach sixth-grade science at Lansing Middle School, first-year teacher Jennifer Kolb was surprised to find out that her new job description also included teaching literature.
Kolb, who has an undergraduate degree in geology from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash., said science is her passion. But at LMS, students are taught by teaching teams. On Kolb's team, the Catpack, each of the four teachers teaches one period of literature in addition to the teacher's core subject class. Each team member teaches one genre of literature, and the students rotate to a new teacher and genre each quarter.
Several weeks into the semester, Kolb said she liked the setup. Teaching literature in addition to science lets her see a more rounded view of her students, she said.
"It's especially nice to see students' strong points," she said.
Kolb said she also enjoyed the team-teaching model at LMS. A first-year teacher, Kolb said her team meets every day and has been supportive in helping her to set up her classroom and fill out paperwork, and has given her guidance in dealing with students.
"They're awesome," she said about her team members.
Kolb said she strives to help students achieve their highest learning potential by catering to "multiple intelligences." Kolb received her teaching degree from the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, and said the school's program emphasizes multiple intelligences, a theory that students learn through different avenues, including listening, reading, hands-on projects and other methods.
To help her students learn, Kolb said she prepares interactive and hands-on lessons. In her literature class, Kolb's students played the game "Telephone," where a sentence gets whispered through a line of students, to demonstrate how folklore stories are passed down.
"I want to be sure students are actively participating and learning," Kolb said.