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No Greater Calling
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Susan Armenta Nick Faber Steven V. Griend Evelyn J.Gunn Dona Hilton Carol Midgett
Teaching Strategies

  Impact on Students


Donna Hilton

Donna Hilton
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.

Behavior Management
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 doing—and 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 Hilton’s 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 behavior.”

Hands-on, Real Life Experiences in Conjunction with Classroom Instruction
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.

“It’s a story of survival, but it’s also a story of friends,” Hilton said.

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.