New Windsor instructor wins top teacher award Her consumer education deemed best in Maryland

March 20, 1997|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

A tabletop soccer game, bananas, hamburgers and a "shopping village" earned New Windsor Middle School eighth-graders community service credits toward graduation and garnered their teacher a state award.

Sarah A. Thompson and students in her family and consumer science course worked with first-and fifth-graders at nearby Elmer Wolfe Elementary School on three projects to help improve literacy.

"The little kids relate very well to the older children, and the older ones want to be role models for the younger," Thompson said.

The projects met school requirements that eighth-graders complete 15 hours of work toward a Maryland community service requirement, which requires Maryland students to spend 75 hours in service to graduate from high school.

Thompson received a Teacher of the Year award from the Maryland chapter of the Family and Consumer Science Association. The 209-member association will present Thompson with the award April 19.

She also becomes eligible for the national association's Teacher of the Year award.

Thompson, a Uniontown resident, said she likes working in her community because she gets to know students on a personal level outside school.

One of her students, Ryan Humphries, 13, of New Windsor came up with the idea of setting up a "shopping village" for fifth-graders who were learning about writing checks and managing money in mathematics classes.

"You have a better chance of remembering that than stuff you don't like, like sitting down and writing checks over and over again," Ryan said.

Students collected donations to stock a toy store, bookstore, bakery and sports store from which fifth-graders could buy items. The younger students paid for purchases with checks they obtained from a "bank."

Another group of eighth-graders brought oranges, bananas, chicken, hamburgers and other food to a first-grade classroom for a nutrition project tied to study of the food pyramid. The students even cooked hamburgers and chicken for the students.

A third group from the class helped make the first-graders' study of magnetism into learning games.

The eighth-graders designed a fishing game with magnetized fish and a tabletop soccer or field hockey board in which players used magnets under the board to move balls to score.

"It was really neat working with the kids," said Samantha Stambaugh, 13, of Union Bridge, who helped with the magnetism project. "They enjoyed it. I didn't think they would. I thought they'd be bored."

Thompson, 42, is in her fourth year of teaching at New Windsor Middle School. After graduating from the University of Maryland College Park, she taught for 4 1/2 years at Sykesville Middle School and then spent 10 years away from teaching as a homemaker and day care manager.

She plans to finish her master's degree at Western Maryland College this spring.

Pub Date: 3/20/97

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