In addition to emphasizing hands-on learning, Donna is also
successful in her classroom management. She is able to
create an atmosphere that is respectful of everyone. Students
understand that misbehavior is a sign of disrespect to the
teacher and to fellow classmates. Donna shows how teachers
are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning,
one of the five National Board Core Propositions.
In this segment of No Greater Calling, Hilton leads
her fifth-graders in what she calls Morning Meetings.
The children are taught to shake hands, look each other in the eye,
ask how each is doingand really listen. Hilton selects three
different students each morning to share personal stories to help
each one feel accepted and valued.
Everyone in this classroom is welcomed and welcomes
someone, Hilton said.
Students in Hiltons nearly self-contained classroom begin
each day shaking hands and greeting each other in an
exercise designed to teach better behavior, as well as make
the school environment more friendly, she said.
She feels that it is important for students social/emotional
needs be recognized in a nonjudgmental setting. Problems in
the school stem back to how well you were treated, Hilton
said. You constantly model what is respectful, responsible
Hands-on, Real Life Experiences in Conjunction with
Hilton also uses a field trip to reinforce material her students
have learned. Hilton takes her students to Palo Duro Canyon to
reinforce a book the class has just read.
Students read The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George
Speare, a book about a young boy named Matt who settles in
the area now known as Maine in 1768 with his family.
Its a story of survival, but its also a story of friends, Hilton
In No Greater Calling, Hilton, standing in mud to her knees,
asks her students where they would build their house in the
canyon, and where they would get water.