GCPS 2015 Teachers of the Year

I am thrilled to announce and celebrate our 2015 Teachers of the Year, selected at each school:

  • Goochland High School: Wes Farkas
  • Goochland Middle: Rhonda Kass
  • Goochland Elementary: Betsy Alvis
  • Byrd Elementary: Marcy Meiller
  • Randolph Elementary: Kim Austin

These teachers are selected by their peers using a school-based process designed to recognize the dedication, knowledge, and skill of exemplary teaching in Goochland.

A division selection team of nine individuals, using a rubric and criteria provided by the State Program selects a division representative to advance to the State level competition. The 2015 GCPS Teacher of the Year is Wes Farkas, Health & PE teacher at Goochland High School. We are extremely proud to announce Mr. Farkas as the GCPS Teacher of the Year. He exemplifies the excellence and honor associated with both this recognition and the GCPS Core Values, in general.

After coaching the Varsity Baseball Team to an 11-0 victory over Buckingham, Mr. Farkas was able to join us last week in the school board meeting to receive his trophies and monetary award provided by the Goochland Education Foundation.

Please join me in honoring these 5 outstanding educators who sacrifice daily to pour into the lives of students and families – and their colleagues.


Technology PD Needs

Following my early call to staff, we received 115 responses towards preferences in technology professional development this year. We began last Friday putting a calendar together and hope to publish it this week. I thought I’d take a moment to summarize the findings of our questionnaire for staff.


83% of the total respondents were teachers; 2% were instructional assistants, 8% were building administrators or central office administrators, and 8% were support staff. Among the teacher respondents, 30% are teachers in our 1:1 program and 70% were not.


When it came to application software, we asked about specific titles and found that there is an interest across the board for all the options we advertised. The app with the least amount of interest was Microsoft Word (4%) and the one with the most was the combination of Google Docs and Sheets (44%). Other apps showing high interest include:

  • Microsoft Excel (26%),
  • Promethean ActivInspire (23%),
  • Google Sites (Wikis) (22%),
  • Interactive Achievement (22%),
  • iMovie (20%),
  • Apple Keynote (17%),
  • Comic Life (17%),
  • Calendaring (Calendar, iCal, Google Cal) (17%).

Learning Formats

We hope to innovate in the area of formats for professional developments, getting away from the standard 2-hour after school workshop. While every other option doesn’t offer the convenience of a one-time shot in the arm, research on professional development suggests that the “shot in the arm” approach is not as effective as on-going support. In addition, when talking to leaders in other districts, they have explored shorter PD sessions with more frequency. We might describe the difference between a 2-hour and a 20/30 minute session as the difference between a “meal” and a “snack” or “appetizer.”

In fact, among our respondents, the most popular format was the 30-minute “appetizer” session at 57%! Following that, this is how the other options shaped up:

  • 2-hour workshop (43%),
  • formalized online course (37%),
  • short videos and online tutorials (27%),
  • ongoing facilitated PLC approach (20%),
  • lunchtime or planning time stop-in (17%).

Please note that in this question, we asked for your top two formats.

I’d like to know more about…

And then we asked questions about what you want to learn how to do with technology. Again, there was interest across the board with the ideas we provided, and 6% of you also keyed-in your own ideas. Here are the top seven responses:

  1. I want to learn how to create eBooks.
  2. I want to learn how to personalize instruction with Schoology.
  3. I want to learn how to track standards and skill sets using Schoology.
  4. I want to organize a blended course experience using Schoology.
  5. I want to learn how to share curricular materials using Schoology.
  6. I want to learn how to create and manage online student discussions.
  7. I want to know more about how to use the shared iPads/iOS devices in my school.

Clearly, we have a lot of professional development to do around Schoology, and this is no big surprise.

Some of the topics above require a significant amount of time and others fit more clearly into a 20-30 minute session. In fact, there are some things that fit into an even shorter session (how to do a discussion), but the pedagogical piece of discussions could really be flushed out over a longer period of time to cover how to best engage students through discussions and peer feedback. Some teachers have this in their back pocket, and for others, it’s brand new. What’s my point? As always, one style of PD or one particular session can’t meet everyone’s needs 100% of the time, and we’ll have to be flexible with what we offer. Likewise, expectations for what we can offer in the opportunities we have have to be tempered by what the majority of our needs are as an organization.

Outcomes and Recertification

Professional development is successful when it changes the way you work, how kids learn, or when you’re more efficient. For instance, if you take a Comic Life class on storytelling and this school year your kids publish 3 different graphic novel-style stories, then likely the session had some success. Classes are less successful if you learn about a new pedagogy or application (say, GarageBand), but you never implement it because while you can now use the software, you’re unsure how best to use it with kids with a given amount of time you have. I want to talk about this for a few sentences, so please indulge me in reading further.

  1. We won’t always convince you in a session that what’s “new” is necessarily better. But please do know that we think it’s a great idea and we are here to support you. Until you put a new pedagogy or tool into the hands of kids, you really don’t know what the impact can possibly be.
  2. We know that teachers need support outside of a class. That’s why our instructional technology coaches (Bea and Zoe) are here to help. Their role can be tailor-fit to your needs: they can lead a class for you and model, they can assist you when needed, or they can simply be in the room if you’re afraid “something with blow up.” In order for their time with you to be successful, it may require some pre-planning with them. Please know in advance this should take place before you schedule them to work with you and students.
  3. The recertification system we used to use in the past assumed you’d be exploring the use of new tools and pedagogy beyond the session. If you didn’t do that, you got “free” points.
  4. Some teachers need a lot of points.
  5. To some teachers, the points are insignificant. “I took a class, and I’m overflowing in points!”

This year I’d like to innovate in this area and also on what’s “required” for technology training. This is not official and will need to be discussed with our leadership team. But I did want to share my thinking on this:

  • If we offer more than just 2-hour classes, what’s the unit for required training?
  • If teachers are really working alone to learn (either to figure out how to plan a new project-based lesson, or how to best use a new app on the iPad, or watching video tutorials), how do we capture that as legitimate PD?
  • If we offer shorter after school sessions less than an hour, how many points is that?

I’m thinking of the following. The reason why I’m sharing this, is that’d I’d like your input in the comments (or if you prefer, by email).

Proposed Changes to Technology PD

  1. Instead of a requirement of “1 class”, let’s make it based on points. The state sets a baseline of 5 points in one area, so let’s make it a requirement to earn 5 points, where 1 point=1 hour of professional development.
  2. For an online class or a PLC type meeting, that’s a potential of a lot more time. Let’s reward that with the time the designer as designated for that experience (if the online course is focused on 10 hours of “seat time,” it will be worth 10 points).
  3. After school “appetizers” or “personal 1:1 time with an ITRT get points. In good faith, these sessions will be no more than 30 minutes but equate to 1 point each. Calling into practice our core value of honor, we will award these points full-well knowing that our teachers will continue to engage in the activity beyond the face to face time with our trainers.
  4. We will provide a submission system for us to review evidence of further learning beyond our face-to-face or virtual sessions to earn points. For instance, if you attend the Comic Life class, but can later upload Comic Life examples you shared with kids, and a student artifact, we offer additional points beyond the class. A 2-hour class, for instance, turns into 5 points.

Again, looking for teacher comments on this… and then I’ll share it with Dr. Geyer and our principals for their input. Thanks!

GCPS Staff and Partners Inducted into VA CTE Hall of Fame

The GCPS CTE Department Director, Bruce Watson, and local company partner, Luck Companies, were inducted into the Virginia Career and Technical Education Hall of Fame. The division received a program award for its Orthopedic Evaluations and Modalities for Student Athletic Trainers program.

Luck was recognized for the invaluable partnership and participation on the CTE Advisory Board, having helped to foster the unprecedented growth and expansion seen in the program offerings over the past two years.

Melissa Black and Jodi Chewning joined the superintendent and Mr. Watson along with other members of the advisory committee. The division’s emphasis on integrating STEM education into daily instruction has also placed GCPS as a leader in statewide STEM initiatives.

Anne Moore Recognized for Excellence

We were delighted to recognize GCPS CTE teacher, Anne Moore, on her recent distinction as Air Force Association Teacher of the Year. During the school board’s regularly scheduled June meeting, representatives spoke on behalf of Anne’s selection and presented her with the award.

We are so fortunate to work with exemplary teachers such as Anne, who bring inspiration and excellence to their work every day!

Keith Shaffer, VP Aerospace Education, Air Force Association (far right) presented Anne with the Teacher of the Year recognition.


Grace Creasey Appointed to Virginia’s Commission on Civics Education

Please join us in celebrating GMS teacher, Grace Creasy’s appointment to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Commission on Civics Education.  Among other things, the Commission is charged with:
  1. Making recommendations to the Board of Education regarding revisions to SOLs for civics and government.
  2. Submitting an annual report to the General Assembly and the Governor regarding the work of the Commission.
  3. Identifying civics education projects around the Commonwealth and provide technical assistance where needed.
  4. Building a network of civics education professionals and strengthen partnerships to assist in the sharing of information.
  5. Developing and coordinating outreach programs to help schools across the Commonwealth in improving their civics education programs.
  6. Developing all civics education resources provided to DOE – lesson plans, resources, bulletin board ideas, events calendar, best practices, etc.
Each year the Commission is also responsible for a day-long professional development conference for Virginia civics and government teachers.  The conference always takes a particular focus on one SOL topic (i.e. the judicial branch) and members of the professional community are brought in to speak to teachers about the SOLs in action which helps to breathe life into our teaching practices.
Grace will be working with 4 members of the House of Delegates, 2 members of the Virginia Senate, 3 citizen members, 1 representative of the Commonwealth’s We the People Project (based at James Madison’s Montpelier) and ONLY 3 other current or retired Civics/Government teachers.
“I cannot wait to begin work on the Commission as this is such a unique opportunity,” Grace shared. “I am so proud and honored to be able to represent Goochland County Public Schools by serving the Commonwealth in this capacity.”
We extend our heartfelt congratulations and admiration for Mrs. Creasy’s work with the Commission and representation of our great county and school division.

School and Campus Safety Week in Virginia

Governor McDonnell has proclaimed the week of December 9-13 as School and Campus Safety Week in the Commonwealth.  The proclamation emphasizes the critical importance of maintaining safe environments for learning in schools and on campuses. The Governor has also set December 13th as a Day of Mourning for those students and teachers who lost their lives in the tragic event at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December.  He has called for a moment of silence and reflection at 9:30 a.m. on that day.

We will observe the moment of silence in all schools and departments at the specified time. We invite our families and communities to join us in the period of reflection.


Big Bold Bulldog

Please join me in congratulating GHS teacher, Bridget Parker, and her students on the upcoming grand opening of the Big, Bold Bulldog! Students participating in the management of this coffee shop will exercise career readiness skills in a real-world setting.

The shop is open to all Goochland County Public Schools faculty, staff and parents. I plan to grab a cup!

Thankfulness: A Message to the Staff

Faculty and Staff,

Thank you so much for all of your excellence, creativity, courage, honor, and optimism in the first semester!  This year has honestly been one of my favorite school years as we have watched our students’ creativity and engagement with the iPad initiative, we learned more about our students and their growth with our Balanced Assessment Project, and we are extremely excited to reward our teachers with strategic compensation.  We have also seen many classrooms beginning to proliferate student-centered learning opportunities such as project-based and cross-curricular experiences, performance assessments, and children’s engineering lessons.  All of these while continuing to focus on the heart of what matters, educating every child, every day in Goochland.  With all of these new initiatives, we know you may be ready for the break! Our hope is that we all remain excited for what these opportunities mean for our students.

For these reasons, we are thankful for having you in our school division and are appreciative of your efforts to take on these new projects and would like to give everyone the day off on January 3!  We will not have any trainings on this day.  Principals, we will discuss at our principals’ meeting tomorrow, but please help us arrange at least some time to have buildings open in the event that any teachers want to come in to have their rooms ready before students return.

We will try to host some make-up trainings during planning times or faculty meetings to bolster everyone’s expertise with the new MAP assessments, but we felt like time with your families on January 3 was important as well!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

GES Students Bring technology to Colonial Jamestown

If you’ve been following Joe Beasley’s blog, you’ll know that students are doing incredible things with the new iPads. Recently, students visited Jamestown and used the devices to capture material they would have otherwise gotten from secondary research. They are creating their own research materials, visiting the site first-hand and creating the media representations using the tools themselves.

Joe and his colleagues continue to inspire tremendous learning.

Students use iPads to capture moments in history for development of their own research materials.

Spiders, Fun AND Engaging Instruction

Ours is a staff that takes instruction seriously. Accordingly, we know that we have to be able to laugh with our students, allowing the organic humor of life to find its way into our classrooms.

I had the opportunity to visit Ms. Hall’s Spider Maze last week at BES. What an amazing obstacle course she set up, taking such great care to appeal to every student who would come through the gym doors that day. I’m only sorry I hadn’t been there earlier to capture some video of Dr. Geyer actually running the course with the students!

I’m thankful for our caring teachers and staff, who take fun seriously.

The RES staff…


Congratulations to Coach Fowler

I want to again express my personal congratulations as well as gratitude on behalf of the entire school community to Coach Fowler. Being selected as best high school coach in the state by USA Today High School Sports is an extreme honor. Having been so close to the regional victory is incredible as well, earning over 311,000 votes from the Metro Richmond community!

But as Coach Bryan Gordon stated so well in this article, it’s so much more than just coaching football. Coach Fowler, a recognized instructional leader, has touched the lives of countless students over the span of his career. His influence and example continue to lead young people to a life of dignity and character.

We are fortunate to have Coach Fowler in our midst. And I am personally very honored to consider him a colleague.

Congratulations, Coach Fowler!

A Focus on Minority Student Achievement

On behalf of the GCPS Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee, I’m delighted to announce an event on October 21 in the JSRCC Goochland Campus Community room at 7pm.  Faculty and staff members from the division will be invited to hear Dr. Tonya Moon from UVa, who will be presenting a detailed report on the research regarding how schools can improve academic achievement for African-American students.

We view this as a pivotal conversation and one we hope will inspire fresh perspectives and ideas to further help our schools address achievement gaps that exist within student populations.


Arts Grant Received at RES

RES Art teacher, Cindy Edmonds, and RES librarian, Sue Vaughan, took a Partners in the Arts Class this summer.  The organization thought the unit they created was fabulous and awarded them a $2,000 grant to implement it here in GCPS!

Please congratulate these exceptional teachers and ambassadors of our great community when you see them.

Back to School Events and Fees

GCPS community,

As the excitement about beginning a new school year builds, we have received numerous calls regarding school-specific “back to school” events. Please mark your calendars for these important activities we hope you can attend:

Back to School Nights:

  • Byrd Elementary – September 17 at 5:30 PM
  • Randolph Elementary - September 10 at 6:30 PM
  • Goochland Elementary - September 19 at 6:15 PM
  • Goochland Middle - September 23 from 4:00-7:00 PM
  • Goochland High – September 26 from 4:00-7:00 PM

Other upcoming events:

  • 9th Grade Orientation at GHS on August 8, beginning at 9:00 AM
  • “Business Day” on August 14 from 3:00 – 7:00 PM at ALL SCHOOLS - All parents should consider coming to school to handle any final registration issues, potentially obtain student schedules, sign forms, and pay fees.
  • Kindergarten Orientation on August 15 at 9:00 AM
  • Eagle Evolution (6th Grade Orientation) at GMS on August 8
  • Community Day at BES on August 24 (time TBA)

Please contact your child’s principal for specifics or information about any of these and other events.  Principals will also be sending home a letter to all families later this week with even more information.

As the year progresses, each school will update an individual calendar. Division-wide events will also be updated and all calendars can be accessed here, by navigating the scroll bar on the right side of the page (you will be able to select an individual school’s calendar or view multiple calendars).  Additionally, the 180-day school calendar as approved by the school board (i.e. includes dates for Winter and Spring Breaks, etc.) is here.

Fees - the fees recently approved by the school board are included in policy JN and will be updated in the school board’s policy manual.  In the meantime, the approved fees are posted here. Activity fees are only required in grades K-12 (Pre-School students do not pay activity fees).

Elementary School Fees

Fees are waived for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.


  Activity and Consumable Material Fees Voluntary Student Activities


Student Activity Fee



Recorders & Workbook


Chorus Shirts


Middle School Fees

Fees are waived for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.


  Activity and Consumable Material Fees Voluntary Student Activities


Student Activity Fee






Gym Uniform



High School Fees

Fees are waived for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.



Activity and Consumable Material Fees

Class Dues

Voluntary Student Activities

Post-graduate classes


Student Activity Fee



Class fee



Class fee



All Night Graduation Fee



Art/Graphic Art Activity Fee



Adventure Games Activity Fee



Marching Band Fee



Color Guard Fee



Parking pass (1/2 price for second semester)




 $45 (before 9/1) $55 ( 9/1 - 1/2) $60 (after 1/2)


AP Tests



JSRCC dual enrollment courses

Tuition determined by and paid directly to JSRCC. Reimbursement of 50% tuition for “C” or better, maximum 2 classes/year


JSRCC College Connection Courses

Tuition determined by and paid directly to JSRCC. Reimbursement of 50% tuition for “C” or better, maximum 4 classes/year


JSRCC Career Technical Courses

Tuition determined by JSRCC and paid by GHS. Non-reimbursable tuition cost to students is $250 per semester. 

School Breakfast and Lunch


Student Breakfast



Student Breakfast – Reduced



Student Lunch



Student Lunch- Reduced



Student Breakfast



Student Breakfast – Reduced



Student Lunch



Student Lunch- Reduced


I look forward to seeing you at these great events as we start the year off with a tremendous burst of community support!

Welcoming New Teachers to Goochland

I had the tremendous pleasure this morning of joining our leadership team in welcoming 23 new teachers to Goochland County. We began in the new Community Room of JSRCC. After we all introduced ourselves, we engaged in an interactive discussion about our newly defined core values.

New GCPS teachers discuss the division’s core values during New Teacher Academy at JSRCC.

New Teacher Academy continues through the week, providing folks new to our division with an opportunity to meet colleagues, establish a great relationship with a veteran mentor, and develop their role with the organization. Wednesday the group meets at the Science Museum to do continue the orientation and enjoy some creativity.

I’m thrilled to partner with these new colleagues to look forward to a year of maximizing the potential of every learner.

New teachers, welcome to Goochland!

Civics beyond the Classroom: Former GHS Student Leads Campaign

We are very proud of 2013 Goochland High School graduate, Grayson Royal, who has been asked to manage the McAuliffe Campaign for Governor of Virginia in the Goochland regional area of the state. While at GHS, Grayson was an exemplary student of civics and history, with a special tendency toward the study of politics and government.

Grayson leads volunteers and other campaign staff through the various aspects of campaign development and communication. His leadership and organizational skills, largely fostered under the direction of former government teacher and GCPS Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Yearout-Patton, are already being put to use.

Grayson is a shining example of a young leader working to impact the world around him. We’re proud of him and his GCPS teachers who helped him maximize his potential and discover his passion.

GCPS Teacher Published!

RES fourth grade teacher, Sarah Rowan, has published an inspirational story that I hope all of you will experience. She writes about the Math & Measurement Fair which prepares students for future educational and career endeavors.

See the article now at ideastations.com

I offer special thanks to our Science Museum partner, Chuck English, and Ms. Rowan for pursuing excellence and creativity on behalf of our community and children!

unConference an Inspiration!

Monday’s teacher-lead unConference at Goochland High School was an inspiration to me. I always enjoy our time with Mark Fernandes, and this was no exception. The first hour was a deeper dive into the behaviors associated with greater alignment with the core values and mission of the division. It was a great give-and-take in which teachers shared the stories of the year that illustrated how they had taken the opening convocation message of Getting on Your Dance Floor back in August and put it to work in their lives and the lives of their students.

What was most powerful to me was the presence of teachers who devoted themselves to this important conversation – of their own volition. There was no requirement to attend. It was an open invitation, extended by a colleague (RES teacher, Sarah Rowan) who believed her fellow teachers had wisdom and knowledge to share that would improve our collective work together.

She was right. And it’s teachers like these who are willing to take a risk and sacrifice their time in the interest of reaching for something higher that make such a tremendous difference in Goochland.

I’m thankful to our partner, Mark, for helping us extend our journey toward greater alignment and I’m thankful to members of my leadership team who participated as well. We are all in this together and I’m excited about what the future holds for our great division.

GHS Senior Awards Night a Tremendous Success

I offer my sincere thanks and admiration for Mr. Newman, Mrs. Scott, Dr. Covington, Mrs. Hartley, Mrs. Watson, Mrs. Fowler and the many other high school staff members who contributed to a glowing ceremony to honor our graduating seniors. The event was outstanding, a stellar tribute to the exemplary work our seniors have done throughout their academic and co-curricular careers.

I was especially impressed by the broad display of community support and representation from industry, higher education, and countless community groups who have so generously given their time and resources to help so many seniors make the transition to their next phase so much more smooth.

I look forward to great things from the GHS graduating class of 2013 and I feel privileged to have begun my leadership in Goochland during your senior year!

Second Graders Learn Economics First-Hand!

What an incredible way to bring economics and the study of math and finance to life for young learners! RES students created products to sell in their simulated retail shops, used currency to make transactions and took turns assuming the role of consumer.

RES second grade students learn economics.

Please join me in celebrating the innovative way Mrs. Crowder and this team of exemplary teachers brought out the best in these creative young men and women. A shining example of maximizing each learner’s potential.

Thanks, Teachers! Our superintendent’s message expressing appreciation…

Dear GCPS Staff,

Today is National Teacher Day, when teachers all over America are recognized and celebrated. Please join me in expressing sincere gratitude and admiration for the inspirational work our teachers do each day to bring education to life in the hearts and minds of our students. The instructional staff of Goochland County is without question the finest with whom I have ever worked. I am honored to live and work in Goochland among such exemplary teachers. Our community is fortunate to have a team of selfless and dedicated professionals moving forward each day to advance the educational experience of every single student.

On behalf of the GCPS leadership and school board, I wish you a very happy National Teacher Day.

Thank you for all you do for this great county.


James F. Lane, Ed. D.
Goochland County Public Schools
2938 River Road West
Goochland, VA 23063
Office – 804-556-5601
Cell – 804-310-5131
Twitter – @DrJamesLane

Another Successful Trip for the GMS Band!

Hats off to Mr. Sykes and the Goochland Middle School Band! They spent this past Saturday in a competition at Busch Gardens and, as always, returned to Goochland with tremendous honors:

The GMS Beginning Band: Received first place in the open division with the rating of “excellent”! This was their very first competition and what a great start!

The GMS Concert Band (7th and 8th combined) This group received first place in the division MS Single A with the rating of “superior”. Of the various groups in this division, one represented a large school from Maryland with three band directors and about 250 students in the competition. We outscored their concert band and their wind ensemble. In the face of stiff competition, Mr. Sykes and his students have honored us again. Thank you and congratulations!

As Mr. Sykes shared,

“It’s always nice being the little school from the country that outscores some larger schools!”

I didn’t know what to say…

Communication is a necessary part of our lives as educators in many different ways, but let me focus on communication as it relates to our parents. We must build partnerships with parents so their children stay successful. Because parents are not at school every day, we must convey messages to them regarding their children as far as academia, behavior, and socialization. Sometimes we are effective Sometimes we are not.

My own experience with parental communication is a little different as an administrator than it was as a teacher, but the premise is the same.

  1. Listen, listen, listen! (WITHOUT interrupting…)

  2. Assure the parent that you want the best for his/her child.

  3. Keep the focus on the child.

  4. Thank the parent for bringing the concerns to you. Tell him/her that we need to work together toward the same goal: student success!

  5. Let parent know that you will always be available if he/she has another concern.

Here are a few more perspectives:

In the Trenches: Everyday Solutions at Work – Effective Communication with Parents




Are they truly engaged or simply drifting through the realm of boredom?

Students achieve when they’re engaged. This is a no-brainer. How many times have you been reading a book, sitting in a movie, or listening to a lecture when you feel your mind adrift? Is your mind adrift now? :-)

My mind drifts too often. If something does not grab my attention quickly, I simply do not store it. Instead, I click my pen, tap my fingers, bounce my legs, think about what I am going to make for dinner, doodle, daydream…anything to entertain myself. How many of your students aren’t storing what you’re offering?

Student engagement is about capturing your students, giving them relevancy, getting them excited about what they are to learn. I applaud those of you who already know that engagement is important for students to succeed and thank you for taking the time to create lessons that capture them!

Please read the article below, self reflect, and describe what you do to engage your students.

How to Keep Kids Engaged in Class

Mrs. Stokes

As I wandered into Mrs. Stokes’ class today, I was thrilled to see collaboration in ACTION! Students were in cooperative groups (with assigned roles) sorting through the sales papers of various grocery stores. They were discussing and calculating the best sale to fulfill their grocery shopping list that Mrs. Stokes had given them.

When I asked several students what they were doing, all seemed to understand that their task related to Mrs. Stokes’ objective of the day: “Students will apply operations with decimals to real world situations”. Buying groceries…oh, the relevancy and engagement of it all!

You can find Mrs. Stokes’ class blog here: Math Minutes with Mrs. Stokes