Panama City Beach - This week's Golden Apple award winner is a 5th grade teacher at Breakfast Point Academy. Lori Fitzgerald was in public relations and marketing for several years before following her heart into the classroom.
You won't find many worksheets in Mrs. Fitzgerald's class. "In my classroom I've tried to create these real life experiences so that students have an opportunity to see that math is not a sheet of multiplication problems. They are not going to get a worksheet in the real world."
Math stations are one way she brings what's in a math book to life: A store to practice decimals, a table of 3D objects to to learn about dimensions, and an F-cat practice station where students are the teachers.
Her engaging teaching style has made a big difference for student Haley Hutto, one of three students who nominated her for the award. "Math is now my favorite subject, I used to despise math."
It's not just in math that she emphasizes real world application. "She will tell us real life situations that helps us remember what the vocabulary words are," said Hannah Courtney, another student who nominated Mrs. Fitzgerald. "You can tell that her students are having fun as they learn, they are all smiling and interacting and having a good time learning," said Principal Denise Kelley. "She always helps us whenever we are struggling," said student Madigan Hipes, who also nominated Mrs. Fitzgerald.
"The biggest thing I hope I've taught them is that they are capable of doing anything," said Mrs. Fitzgerald. She team teaches with Allison Moreira, another Golden Apple award winner. Fitzgerald teaches math, Moreira teaches science. Students say it's a winning combination. "This is my favorite year because her and Mrs. Moreira are both involved in it," said Hutto.
Congratulations to Mrs. Fitzgerald, this week's Golden Apple award winning teacher. "She really does deserve it," said Hannah.