2006 Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching
Each year the President of the U.S. recognizes outstanding K-12 science
and math teachers throughout the country. One math and one science
educator is chosen from each state who exemplifies deep content
knowledge combined with the ability to motivate students in science and
Jayne King’s United We Solve and Get it Together mathematics problems encourage teamwork among her students. She writes a problem out on several clue cards, each one essential, making it impossible to solve the problem without cooperation and sharing of information. King explained, “I like to use this cooperative structure because students learn to work together, enjoy genuine problems in interesting situations, and understand mathematical thinking more clearly.” She uses problem-solving scenarios that apply to real life because her students become more engaged when they see and understand that connection. King said that motivation for a task becomes heightened when the students can answer the question, “Can it happen to me?” with a “Yes.”
A respectful learning environment ensures that all children will thrive academically and socially. However, a climate of trust does not happen by accident or automatically. It occurs over time by incorporating the expectation of respect and tolerance for one another into each lesson. By providing praise, modeling positive behaviors, eliciting helpful conversation, and encouraging constructive actions, students are validated at every opportunity and feel good about themselves. Curriculum content is ever-changing; providing a nurturing classroom environment is a constant.