Albert Einstein once said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Several decades later, these words still ring true, especially for one teacher: Mrs. Kim Morand.
Morand is a fifth-grade teacher at Burnette Elementary School on a mission to plant a passion for math in the minds of her young students. She works to ensure that no matter how a student feels towards math when he or she first sets foot in her classroom, the student walks out on the last day of school with a stronger grasp of mathematical concepts and an appreciation for everything arithmetic.
“I always get some students that start the year stating that they ‘hate math,'” Morand explains. “That challenges me to try to change their attitude and instill a love of learning in math!”
Morand encourages her students to creatively think beyond the conventional equations of the classroom and take their critical thinking skills out into the real world. With Morand’s interactive games, students learn to apply their abilities into real-life situations to solve challenging dilemmas. Morand seamlessly transforms the seemingly foreign world of calculations into students’ everyday lives, compelling them to dive into the realm of problem-solving that math entails.
She recently transformed her classroom into a “Decimal Diner,” plastering menus across the walls and laying a checkered table cloth on the desks. Her students learned how to add, subtract, and multiply decimals by determining costs of different meals. Another activity that Morand created was a shopping simulation. Students used ads and catalogs to create complex problems that could apply to actual shopping experiences.
Throughout her twenty-six years of teaching, Morand’s math lessons and caring attitude towards her students have created lasting impacts on their abilities to think creatively and utilize math. William, a former student, can attest to this fact: “Mrs. Morand taught me that math isn’t just memorizing formulas or doing conversions; you can use math in so many innovative ways too. Taking her class has encouraged me to explore math even more!” William is now participating in competition math; last spring, he became a member of Georgia’s American Regions Mathematics League team, an opportunity awarded to the top forty-five math students in the entire state.
With newfound dreams to pursue math-related passions and careers, a myriad of students can say the same. It is no doubt that as an educator, Morand has shaped the lives of her students, opening up their mindsets along with countless doors for their futures.