Churchill County High School
Kirsten Ritchie’s freshman biology class took a non-traditional test to conclude their unit. Ritchie turned her lab into a hands-on testing space.
“I like to give non-traditional tests to reduce test anxiety and create a visual environment for testing my students,” Ritchie said.
Students rotated through six stations and answered questions at each one. Assistant Principal Rachel Knight said seeing this approach to testing made her very happy as an administrator.
“Kirsten transformed her lab and made a real-world testing experience for her students, really taking their exam to the next level,” he said.
Student Jeana Lee said the test setup helped her because it was not only more engaging but more fun than a traditional test.
“A traditional test setup makes me feel more stressed, but this hands-on test setup made taking the test more enjoyable,” Lee added.
Student Adey Flick agreed.
“It wasn’t like your average test in class, where you’re given a job and you’re expected to participate,” he said. “Everything was visual and practical, which made it easier for me to concentrate. I wish exams were like this in all my classes.”
Churchill County High School
The Gerka Store is where students can use Gerka Bucks to buy fun items.
“Students earn Gerka Bucks from staff members for demonstrating our expectations of mutual respect, careful listening, appreciation and kindness throughout the school,” said teacher Monica Davis.
Students have two months to spend a certain color of Gerka Bucks before they expire. Many students are excited to earn and save their Gerka Bucks for larger items like blankets, sports equipment, Bluetooth headsets, speakers, or even extras for their Chromebooks like headphones or a wireless mouse. Students can also purchase a pizza party for four or cookie parties for their advisory class.
“The store is amazing. I’m trying to earn as many Gerka Bucks as I can because I want a drone or maybe even a pizza party,” said student Russell Downs.
The store is funded by the Choose Kindness grant that CCMS received for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years. CCMS Student Council and staff members from the PBIS team run the Gerka Store, and it is open every Friday during lunch for all grades.
Members of the Fallon Paiute Shoshone tribe turned out for the Fall Festival in honor of Native American heritage month. FPST Seniors Vernon Roger’s and Stephen Frank shared their knowledge of Stick Game and songs. Student Keali’i Nioah and his father Jordan Nihoa, both members of the FPST, shared how Jordan made an arrow out of materials he collected for the Native American display in the library.
Jill Downs installed the FPST Tribal Veterans Table, joined by President Cathi Tuni and FPST Member Margena Dick.
“We can’t thank the tribal members enough for sharing their culture and knowledge with our students,” Principal Shawn Purrell said.
Third grade students concluded their Forces and Motion unit with a catapult throwing competition. Teacher Shannon Windriver has been doing this project for 12 years.
“When I started, my class made huge catapults and launched real mini pumpkins. It was quite an undertaking,” Windriver said.
Since then they have been scaled down and students make miniature versions, but the design process is the same. Making catapults demonstrates strength and movement in action. Students learn how to adjust the force of their catapults so that they launch farther. When something isn’t working, students articulate what’s wrong and decide what to do to fix it.
It also teaches perseverance. Often what students think will work doesn’t and adjustments are needed. This has become a competition between all third grade classes.
“The catapult that launches the furthest moves into the next round against the winner of another class,” Windriver said.
The students enjoyed this project and liked a bit of friendly competition with their peers. “My favorite part was winning, but I also liked extending my catapult arm and making adjustments,” said student Ryder Shingleton.
Kirby Goetsch has incorporated more games into his kindergarten classroom while continuing to teach expected state academic standards. Recently, students were able to play kitchen in their classroom.
“I borrowed a kitchen from the Northside and we started by using pots and pans to practice using the correct cooking materials and taking turns. We have now turned the kitchen into a bakery,” Goetsch said.
A project funded by DonorsChoose helped Goetsch buy play food for her classroom kitchen. During the centers, students learned basic baking vocabulary through reading aloud nonfiction, then practiced number recognition and one-to-one correspondence by rolling a die, reading the number on the die, and doing that many numbers. cookies using modeling clay, cookie cutters and metal. cookie sheets
The students also practiced their speaking and listening skills, and some early literacy skills.
“The goal is for the play kitchen to be a self-contained center that students can use as a bakery or restaurant to make their own menus and money,” Goetsch said.
Sandy Wassmuth’s Pre-K class used their skills to build a maze. They have been interested in seeing these circular mazes on her milk cartons.
“Not only are they working cooperatively to design and build it, deciding where to add another twist, but they are also helping guide each other through the work of giving and following directions,” Wassmuth said.