PTK + Students = Learning

From: (Bonnie Lock)
Subject: PTK + Students = Learning
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 20:48:52 -0800

Well, here I go for try number 11. I just can't seem to think of the best
way to start. It's hard to put into words the praise I'd like to give to
the Passport to Knowledge crew and all those of you who have been so
willing to share in the on-line discussion.

I have the challenging task of working with 23 at risk 8th graders. Of the
7 eighth grade science classes in our building, these students have
previously had the highest absentism, highest number of tardies, highest
number of incomplete assignments, lowest grades, and largest number of
referals. Seriously, I had no idea how I was going to teach them any
science, especially earth and space, since this is an area in which I have
the least amount of background. Yet, with the help of the PTK teacher's
guide and discussion group, these students have not only been to class
daily, but they've been on time and are asking me to copy materials and
research information so they can learn more about Pathfinder, Mars and its
exploration. They have even completed a proposal for the P.E.T. project and
can hardly wait for the debate to begin.

Today I brought in an article from my most recent edition of Popular
Science called "Assault on the Red Planet." You could have heard a pin drop
as they read through the article. The discussion following was great. We
had just built models of Pathfinder and Sojourner, so they were especially
interested in the explanation given as to its travel through the martian
atmoshere and the landing, but I think they were just as excited about the
possibility of using our computer lab to access the web sites and learn

They now not only seem excited about coming to class, but today they asked
to take home additional research material. These kids are truly motivated.
A matter of fact, they are even making plans for bigger projects. I'll keep
you posted.

I even have students from the other science classes asking if they can
transfer...and no, I don't believe I can take any other credit than to have
been willing to accept the invitation to become a PTK advocate and to be
willing to try it in my classroom.

I was sold on it before, but even more so now.

Thank you, PTK.

Bonnie Lock
La Center Intermediate School
La center, Washington (The State.)