DEN Community Member of the Week: Matt Hawkins

Matt is a 5th grade educator at Gull Lake Community Schools in Michigan. He has been using Discovery Education for his first two years in a traditional classroom. He shared “It is a big help to have access to so many resources and not need to worry about checking out from the library or unexpected content.”

How do you start your day?
Starting my coffee pot and pouring my first round…and then checking with my team teacher to see if we need to make any changes to our plans. When she picks up my favorite from Biggby, this process get moving faster (Thanks Shelly!)

Why did you become a teacher?3D printer
After graduating with a business degree I went to Colorado to work and play for the summer. Summer day camp turned into a part time job of outdoor education and after school programs which turned into a full-time outdoor education job in Michigan. I couldn’t get away from education because I loved to opportunity to work with kids, who made the job new and fresh everyday!

What is one of your favorite ways to use Discovery Education?
A favorite time using board builder was creating one for Pi Day when I was away for a conference. The board allowed students to explore content in the order they chose…then create their own board to show what they had learned.

What is a ritual you have in your classroom?
A new ritual has been to watch the weekly student news (the Ryan Report) produced by DEN Star Jeremy Badiner!

How are you involved in education aside from your role as educator?
I am partnering with a science teacher at the high school to build a school garden. We were awarded a grant from the local schools foundation and are near completion of 500 square feet of raised beds! We will be ready to plant some hardy vegetables this fall.
I also am active in a partnership with Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station. Opportunities include research experience with scientists in the field, workshops and networking with local K-12 science teachers, and mentoring a graduate student in my classroom.GL Garden

What advice do you give to a teacher who is hesitant to use digital media in their classroom?
It seems simple….but just do it! Some things will work and some won’t. Kids are very forgiving and will help you figure it out along the way. By giving digital media a try, you will find what works best for you.

What advice do you have for first year teachers?
Balance is best! This being just my second year in a traditional classroom, I know I could still spend all of my day reflecting, tweaking, and creating, but I also need to spend quality time with my family and personal recharge.

IMG_2064What sites do you visit to assist in your teaching practice?
-NYTimes ed and tech news
-Blogs (Jeremy Badiner, Ben Rimes, Erin Klein, etc.)

When you’re not working, where are we most likely to find you?
Spending time with family at our lake cottage up north

What is your favorite kind of donut?
Snickers from Sweetwaters

How can others connect with you?


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