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Boise Online School teacher energizes students with movement

Sixth-grade teacher Lisa Stitt made the switch to online teaching after two decades in the classroom, but has not lost any of her passion for her work.

BOISE, Idaho — What's the difference between a setback and an opportunity? Some would say it's all in how you look at it.  

Boise sixth-grade teacher Lisa Stitt saw the setback of closing schools last spring because of the pandemic as a chance to try something different. After two decades in the classroom, Stitt made the switch this year to full-time online teaching.

"I was really just up for a challenge. I thought it would be fun," she said. "I enjoy technology, and I enjoy trying to find creative ways to reach kids. In the spring when we had our shutdown I took it as a huge opportunity to be able to connect with families in a different way.  And it went well. So I thought, why not? Nothing ventured, nothing gained."

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At Boise Online School, Stitt hit the ground running - or actually walking.  

"There's my feet. I'm moving. So I'm kinetic energy," Stitt tells her students as she records herself walking around her neighborhood on a 'potential and kinetic energy field trip.' She pointed out different things that were potential energy, such as a parked car, and examples of kinetic energy, like a moving stream.     

"I think it's important to be engaging. I get bored fast," she said. "So I need to be moving and engaging myself, and I'm also not afraid to be as ridiculous as it takes." 

Another project involved rigging up a rollercoaster contraption made of pipe insulation, a cardboard box, lots of masking tape and a marble.  

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"So I needed to increase its potential energy by adjusting some of the height on this," Stitt explained to students. "So as I went like this, then I could see that it would go better and this would loop up and come up to about here."

The creative curriculum has had a domino effect. The kids came up with personal projects on potential and kinetic energy, involving guitars, baseballs, and other objects in their own homes.

Stitt also wowed her students with a live launch of a homemade rocket, captured in slow motion.  

"Just the shock registering on the kids' faces, I think it entices them and brings them back wanting to know what else is going to happen," she said.

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Stitt also hosts theme Fridays, including Hat Day and Pajama Day.  

Although teaching remotely is a big change, Stitt says she has not lost any of her love for teaching.

"My mom has a journal of me in fourth grade saying what I wanted to do with my life, and teaching is it," she said.

If you would like to nominate a teacher who is going above and beyond, send us an email to innovativeeducator@ktvb.com. Educators, for more information on submitting an application for a classroom grant through the Idaho CapEd Foundation, visit www.capedfoundation.org.

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