This year at our opening Convocation on August 13, 2015, the Goochland County Public Schools awarded three prizes of distinction to teachers based upon learning that took place by students during the 2014-15 school year. These G21 Awards were presented to teachers based on their success in planning and executing engaging learning experiences focused on the development of twenty-first century skills using a project-based approach.
Our elementary winner was Mr. Joe Beasley from Goochland Elementary School. As a 1:1 iPad teacher, Joe’s G21 Project was entitled “Zooapedia,” and required students to develop their own class wiki on animals. Modeled after the world’s most famous wiki, the Wikipedia, students developed webpages that collected factual information, photos, and even animations of animals. Using Google Sites software, he was able to engage the entire class with every page through commenting. Students took great pride in figuring out how to construct the pages in ways they wanted them to behave, using HTML code in some cases.
Our secondary winners are Mrs. Emily Holloway-Costa (English) and Mr. Neil Burch (drama). The two teachers worked together to find new ways to approach the teaching of myths. Students wrote their own plays, and Burch’s students performed the dramatic works. The approach adopted focused on the art of creation in the learning process. The resulting works penned and acted by students were of high quality.
Goochland also likes to recognize projects that go beyond a school’s walls. This year Goochland Elementary Teachers Ms. Ariel Kuykendaal, Mrs. Betsy Alvis, and Mrs. Sara DeLong (Kindergarten) designed a calendar project where their Kindergarten students developed calendars they could sell, with the help of older students who had iPads at the school. They later got help from Mr. Tim Greenway (CTE) at the high school and had outdoor easels built for art projects. The students got to see the fruits of their labor with a cool new outdoor learning space.
G21 is a district-wide initiative begun in 2008 to bring project-based learning opportunities to students. The G21 Awards are a way for us to highlight superlative efforts by our educators. GCPS appreciates the support of the Goochland Education Foundation which underwrites this award each year. Congratulations, teachers!