Visiting Schools

Last Friday I had the opportunity to visit several Falmouth District schools with Dr. Benson, Superintendent of Stafford County Public Schools.  It was a quite enjoyable experience. 

During the day we visited three schools and various classroom at each school.  We started our day at Drew Middle School.  The first class of the morning was Mrs. Robinson’s 8th grade science class.  Mrs. Robinson was teaching a lesson on electricity and had the students working with kits in which they could build circuits in series and in parallel.    It was great to watch the kids build circuits and make the light bulbs light up.  I could tell this was an effective method of hands on teaching that really connected with the students.  Dr. Benson jumped in and co-taught the lesson and relayed some great information to the students. 

The second classroom we visited was Mrs. Rollins 7th grade English class.   Over the last year I have gotten to know Mrs. Rollins fairly well.  Through various school projects and events I have worked with and observed Mrs. Rollins, but this was the first time I had the opportunity to be in her classroom during a lesson.  What I enjoyed the most about his class was the use of technology.  During the lesson Mrs. Rollins had the students writing blog posts on books they were reading using school laptops.  It was obvious the students were in a zone they understood and were comfortable with.  This method helped the students to be encouraged to read and respond to what they were reading.  Dr. Benson even jumped in and provided replies to some of the blog posts by the students.

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After Mrs. Rollins class Dr. Benson and I headed over to Falmouth Elementary school.  There we visited with Mrs. Repass’ (actually Dr. Repass) 3rd graders.   Mrs. Repass was giving lessons on math, including fractions (I avoided participating in that lesson – fractions scare me).   Dr. Benson jumped right in and worked with students on the floor.  After Mrs. Repass’ class we headed to the Falmouth cafeteria and enjoyed some pizza and fruit for lunch.

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Conway Elementary School was our last stop.  We visited a number of classrooms at Conway.  Teachers there had some very creative methods for teaching going on.  In Mrs. Roberts 4th grade class we observed project based learning where the kids were actively participating in various projects.  In Mrs. Hunt’s class we watched the kids work on projects in which they had to design playground equipment using various materials.  The students had to read the project brief, draw their concept, label their design then gather the materials.  With the materials they had to measure, cut, glue and build.  It was incredible to watch the kids use so many skills in a short time to build their project.  At one point I leaned over to Conway’s principal and said “They have no idea how much learning they are doing right now, do they.”  We finished our day at Conway by visiting one of my favorite classrooms.  Mrs. Pearson, who happens to have my son in her first grade class, was doing an experiment in which she was blowing up a balloon using vinegar, baking soda and plastic bottle.  She was demonstrating the various states of matter.   Dr. Benson and I both participated in this lesson.

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Friday was a great day.  I wish I could spend more of my time visiting classrooms.  I was amazed at the talented teachers and engaged students in every school.   I was also so happy to see so much use of technology.  In almost every classroom teachers either had Apple laptops or Chromebooks out doing lessons and having the kids interact on them.  At Conway we also had the opportunity to visit with reading specialist from across the county as they were there receiving some professional development from Mrs. Raybold, reading specialist at Grafton Village Elementary School.  

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Watching Dr. Benson in his element was also quite exciting.  It became very obvious pretty quickly Dr. Benson has the soul of a teacher.  At each school and in each classroom he gravitated to the students.  No matter the age of the students he was immediately able to connect with them on their level.  Again, making me realize how fortunate we are to have him leading our school division.

I hope I can get into more schools in the coming months.  My hat is off to the dedicated and hard working teachers in our schools.  After just one day of visiting classrooms I was exhausted.  I didn’t have to create any lesson plans or take tests and papers home to grade, and I was very tired interacting with students.  Teachers, like many public servants, work very hard and put in immeasurable number of hours serving our county.  I thank each and every one of them for their dedication to the profession and passion for educating our students. 

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@scotthirons tweeted this page. 2015-03-30 18:57:42 -0400
Visiting Schools with Dr. Benson . . .feeling inspired http://www.scotthirons.com/visiting_schools?recruiter_id=8702
Scott Hirons, Stafford County School Board - Falmouth District posted about Visiting Schools on Scott Hirons, Stafford County School Board - Falmouth District's Facebook page 2015-03-30 18:57:42 -0400
Visiting Schools with Dr. Benson . . .feeling inspired

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