2016 Teacher Winner
SCHOOL: Timber Ridge Elementary School, Cobb County Schools
FIRST GRADE TEACHER
Melinda Butler earned her B.A. in Elementary Ed from Siena Heights University in Adrian, MI. She has been an educator for 21 years, teaching in Kalamazoo, MI, Chicago, IL, and Marietta, GA. She later pursued her Master’s degree from Kennesaw State University in Instructional Technology, graduating in 2014. Melinda is presently enrolled in a Gifted Certification class to better enhance the creative and critical thinking skills of her students. Melinda has enjoyed teaching at Timber Ridge Elementary for 14 years. She has found her niche teaching first grade for the last twelve years. She has brought 21st Century Learning to her first graders on a daily basis through the use of technology, project based learning, and real world experiences. Melinda was voted by her colleagues to be the 2011-2012 Timber Ridge Teacher of the Year.
PROJECT: Active Seating
The purpose of this project is to introduce active seating opportunities to students in the Kindergarten through 2nd grade at Timber Ridge Elementary. We are using 21st Century instructional methods in our classrooms today. I’d like to propose that we add active seating opportunities to match the instruction that we are giving as well. We’ve seen that classroom design influences levels of interaction and engagement. And, engagement and active learning improves retention. This project would allow our four Kindergarten, 1st Grade, Second Grade teachers along with our one K-2 Special Education teacher to add stand-up desks, Hokki stools, Ergo Stability Seats, and Bouncy Bands to their classrooms for their students to use while they learn and work. These innovative seating opportunities will allow students to release energy as they are learning and working. Research from the AMAC has indicated that movement helps learning and that students who had an opportunity to stand up or fidget during class were more engaged with the teacher and with their work. It’s proven that being allowed to move/release energy while working produces higher quality work, better group collaboration, higher self-esteem, and increased achievement.