If you walk into the classroom of seventh grade teacher Paul Walter ’00 at Slinger Middle School you will find students smiling and having fun with learning. This is because Walter is a believer in hands-on teaching and learning.
“With every concept I teach my students, I try to think of ways to get them thinking and actively involved in the process of learning. Whether that means using plastic army men and a Flip camera to reenact Revolutionary War battles or guiding students in peer revisions using Google Docs, I try to put them in charge of their learning,” described Walter who uses a constructivism teaching philosophy. “Teaching at the seventh grade level, active engagement is especially critical as it’s an active age that doesn’t lend itself well to prolonged sit-and-get sessions.”
Putting his schooling into action, Walter has served on numerous school and community committees to write the School District of Slinger’s guidelines to mentor new teachers and has assisted teachers to meet their PI 34 requirements. He has also facilitated a Professional Learning Community workshop that implemented Google Doc technology and trains teachers and staff to use SMART Board technology.
Walter attended the Fox Valley Writing Project (FVWP) Summer Institute in 2010. FVWP teaches educators how to approach the teaching of writing in the classroom.
“The program is an internal tug of war between vulnerable writer, presenter and confident professional in a nurturing and stimulating environment” said Walter. The FVWP gave him the opportunity to collaborate with other professionals to improve his writing.
Teachers are able to use the skills they learn in the FVWP and implement them into their classrooms.
At the end of this past school year Walter received an email from one of his students that read, ‘You inspired me to write’. What else could an English educator ask for?
By Carlyn Brown