Meet Our First Winner of the High 5 Initiative, Amanda T.
Art and Exceptional Education Teacher
The big moment is here! Teacher Peach is pleased to introduce the first of five visionary and talented teachers whose engaging school projects are true winners! These teachers and their projects add incredible value to their school communities. The winners of this initiative are dedicated educators and we believe their work will inspire students and colleagues alike—that’s why they were selected by principal and thought leader, LeeAndrea Khan, to receive a $100 Teacher Peach award to fuel their educational project as part of Teacher Peach’s “Granting Teacher Goals!” High 5 Initiative!
Amanda Transforms Blank Spaces into Celebrations of Art—and Life!
Amanda T. encourages her students to look at blank walls, doors, and bulletin boards and envision the colorful and informative possibilities! This heartwarming High 5 Initiative includes the beautification of her Floridian middle school and improvement of the community image of the school. With this grant, her art class will now have the freedom to continue to paint beautiful, artistic murals around the school, helping to make their school environment even more inviting for the community. Amanda’s educational project goes beyond aesthetics, giving students a unique sense of pride when they see their original works publicly displayed. It also help students to connect visual expression to some very important life lessons that serve us all well to remember.
Our esteemed judge, LeeAndra Khan, explains why this project was a “picture” perfect choice as one of the winning entries. “Getting students to be part of keeping their own community beautiful only enhances their learning experiences. It is important for students to have voice and choice in their school. This increases engagement and ultimately impacts success. When they feel like they belong there, they act like it.”
Amanda Says . . .
We had the privilege of interviewing Amanda about her experiences in education and her goals for her project. Here’s what she had to say . . .
TP: How long have you been teaching?
AT: I have been teaching for 10 years.
TP: Why did you become a teacher?
AT: I became a teacher in the field of Special Education/Art to help students who learn differently become confident in their personal learning styles—and to keep learning in their own special ways. This applies to all students, of course.
TP: What are the most inspiring aspects of teaching for you?
AT: The most inspiring aspect of teaching is to watch students become interested in and eager to participate in the learning process, enough to want to show off what they know.
TP: How do you think this project will impact your students and what outcomes are you hoping to achieve?
AT: The “Beautify the Door” Contest involves my students in my art classes. The students use perspective in the literal way with drawing buildings and then they add a written component with sayings about how we look at life—learning and behaving, for example. They’re able to see the significance in how art can impact people in a variety of ways. (We’ve included a short video illustrating her “Beautify the Door” Contest below!)
TP: What advice would you have for other teachers?
AT: My best advice to other teachers, especially new teachers, is to stay on your toes and be creative! Also, be on the lookout for where your kids are and what they bring to the table. Students drive the lesson forward by what they bring with them from their own life experiences. What they have inside and are willing to share with us can teach us, as teachers, in the process. Then we can connect the lessons to their realities in ways we wouldn’t have imagined would be possible. Just by listening, we learn, too.
Sparked by Amanda?
Amanda’s colorful concept will have a BIG impact on both her students and the community as a whole. By creating an inviting and expressive academic environment, she is inviting her students to express themselves, enhance their environment, AND she’s also reminding her students that there are people who care for them, about them, and are willing to support their successes. Teacher Peach is proud to help Amanda create these vivid, fun, and creative displays that will spark students’ creativity and curiosity—and those of the school’s faculty, too. In addition to the $100 award, Teacher Peach is also sharing some awesome products with Amanda and her students.
Check out just a few of these Teacher Peach products Amanda will use to help her students beautify their learning space!
Take a Peek!
Amanda shared a quick video of some of the work her students have done so far. In under a minute, she’ll give you a fast tour of how these amazing students express themselves and make connections that will inspire all of us! Go, Amanda!
What ideas does Amanda’s project spark for you? How could you create or adapt a project like this for your students? What spaces surround your classroom that could be enlivened by the creativity of your kids?