The Golden Apple goes to Marsha Winkles

Published: Oct. 28, 2016 at 6:29 AM CDT
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As October wraps up, not every student is aware of how teachers work to prepare them for end of the year tests. But in third grade classrooms, it's always on teachers' minds.

This week's Golden Apple Award winner incorporates high-stakes standards into everyday fun.

"I'm just always moving."

Marsha Winkles' class is all about finding creative ways to turn her students' energy into enthusiasm for learning.

"They like to have fun," she said. "For a lot of the older kids, they're too cool to have fun. Third graders are not."

They split up for educational games, get one-on-one time with their teacher, and sit whichever way suits their needs.

"You can bounce, you can kind of roll around, without distracting anyone else," Winkles said.

While fun's a big component of this Callaway Elementary School classroom, these third graders already have end of the year high-stakes testing on their minds.

"You do the best you can, but it is a lot of pressure for an eight-year-old child," Winkles said.

State standards may dictate each grades' curriculum, but Winkles finds ways to make it her own.

"I try to bring in books they will be glad to read at home and will have fun reading at home to teach the other skills," she said.

Not every child learns on the same level.

"But they are kids, and they're still learning, and they need a safe place to make mistakes and to grow," she said.

So Winkles calls on other students as resources in class.

"If I have a child who cannot get something, and I have tried everything I know to do, I call on another child," she said. "Can you explain it to them? Because quite honestly, I don't care how good a teacher you are, sometimes another kid can explain it a whole lot better than any adult in the world."

But her students, thrive under her guidance.

"I hope when they leave this room that they love to learn, and that when they start fourth grade, they're ready," Winkles said.

If you'd like to nominate a teacher for the Golden Apple Award, click the Golden Apple tab here on our website.