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'Just make it interesting:' Anser STEM teacher focuses on adding excitement to lessons

Richard Incorvia, a.k.a 'Captain Richard,' says he has been keeping his students engaged online by having fun.

GARDEN CITY, Idaho — A STEM teacher at Anser Public Charter School in Garden City is finding ways to keep students engaged, even though lessons have moved from the classroom to online. 

Richard Incorvia - who also answers to 'Captain Richard,' his pirate persona -broadcasts instruction to elementary and junior high students.

"If you think about it like art classroom, people go to art, it's the same thing but STEM," he said.

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As he adjusted his classes for remote learning in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Incorvia says, he actually wasn't that worried.

"Since the invention of YouTube, kids have been engaged on screens," he said. "I mean, the amount of content they have learned, absorbing information, and it's always about things they're into, so that's the trick - just make it interesting."

That's exactly what he's been doing, but focusing on excitement.

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"The school has given me the liberty to do that," he said. "I'm in the ballpark of the content that I typically cover, but it's much more just like, okay, here's this fun way of presenting it all."

Incorvia says the main challenge right now is instead of letting the kids discover, he has to show them.

"STEM has been much more of a challenge than if I was going to teach English," Incorvia said. "I would say 'hey, let's read this together,' - with science it's been hard to not be able to say 'here's your cup of flour,' or whatever we're working with. So, I've just been focusing on kids to just like love watching the shows and hold on to that, so when we come back they're like, oh yes, this is my favorite class."

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Incorvia, who says he caught COVID-19 during in-person teaching earlier this year, can't wait to return to the classroom once it is safe. Until that day, however, he'll continue to encourage his students to find excitement in science subjects and the world around them.

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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