Kathryn innovated throughout the pandemic year to find ways to engage reluctant learners in the virtual setting. One way she did this was to use project-based learning to have her students create a fundraiser for the local CHI St. Alexius Nursing Unit. The class created and sold t-shirts with the motto "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much," a quote by Helen Keller. On the back, children created a heartbeat line and the phrase "Stronger Together." This project brought all 6th grade students together from the planning and designing, using technology to roll out the finished design and market the shirts, coordinate all logistics, while following all COVID-19 safety protocol.
Kathryn had several students who had modifications to their learning plans, which were exacerbated with a year of virtual learning. She took the time to talk to their prior teachers, met with their parents, requested modifications with desk choices, asked for and received snacks, books, anxiety fidgets, and met each child where they were with 6th grade literacy curriculum.
“I teach any child who comes through my door. I am a Native American woman and I have felt the sting of being considered different based on skin color. I have empathy for all children as I know what personal trials and struggle I had to overcome to become successful in school and in life.”- Kathryn Mavity, 6th Grade Literacy and Social Studies Teacher
Kathryn started the year with 36% of her students being either advanced proficient or proficient on their reading testing. By mid-year, she had increased that number to 68% of her students.
Continuing her use of project-based learning, Kathryn will use the Unconventional Thinking in Teaching grant to implement a sustainable garden that would be designed, built and cared for by her 6th grade class next year and through their middle school years. She plans to collaborate with the school’s core teams of math, science and literacy to integrate the learning across subjects. The fruits and vegetables from the garden will be donated to the school’s backpack program, which provides healthy food to students for the weekends.