September 20, 2013
Latasha Lawrence: Gizmo Educator of the Month
A ten-year teaching veteran, Latasha Lawrence is a science teacher at James Weldon Johnson College Prep Middle School, a magnet school in Jacksonville, Florida. She has a Master’s Degree in Health Science from the University of Central Florida and a Bachelor’s of Science in Gerontology from Bethune-Cookman University. She is an active member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., which provides community service and scholarships. She continues to expand her science knowledge through participation in professional development opportunities including the Summer Space Camp and the Institute for Food Safety Summer Research Program. She has been using Gizmos for six years.
Latasha Lawrence, sometimes known as “Coach” because she is the head boys basketball coach, is a respected member of the JWJ Middle School faculty. The school culture promotes academic and athletic excellence by celebrating diversity and positive competition. Ms. Lawrence brings these values to her classroom by focusing on developing her students’ unique talents and strengths. Using Gizmos to differentiate learning is one way she “brings out the best” in her students. With Gizmos she is able to enhance student learning, because they are so versatile. In her 8th grade advanced and honors science classes, Gizmos are used frequently to give students a chance to develop higher order thinking skills and new ideas. The Gizmos allow students to experiment, hypothesize, test scenarios, and draw conclusions. The Student Exploration sheets support the kind of practices that are required of students with the Next Generation Science Standards too. She explains, “I was just amazed with how well Gizmos align with the standards.”
Ms. Lawrence also likes how Gizmos meet the specific needs of her visual learners. When her class was learning about chemical equations and how to balance them, the Chemical Equations Gizmo helped her students understand the concept because as the equation is manipulated, the amount of each element is shown as individual atoms, histograms, as well as numerically. The students liked being able to see what happened when they changed the coefficients of reactants and products.
She continues to strive for excellence in all she does. She is inspired every time she reads a new Gizmo success story. She shared, “I know my usage will double this year because of the excitement that I have about this program.”
Thank you for your dedication Ms. Lawrence!
Posted by Heather Jones at 09:17 AM | Permalink