DIBOLL, TX (KTRE) - For the past week, Peak Learning Systems has been teaching Diboll Independent School District new development tools, and the district says those tools are putting them on top of the learning curve.
It's a new way for kids to learn that allows teachers to incorporate technology, music and fun activities inside the classroom.
"I'm really excited. I think it's a little overwhelming the first time that you see it because there is an enormous amount of information and a lot of activities. I think what I encourage myself to do at first and a lot of people is to pick three things that you are willing to try and go with it," Olivia Fant, a Diboll High School Algebra II and Statistics teacher, said.
Spence Rogers, the president of the Colorado based Peak Learning Systems, is teaching the district the 6 keys of learning, which is a strategy typically used in bigger cities.
"What we focus on is more effective ways to teach. Our basic philosophy is teaching as if we're coaching, or parenting our own children. We're committed to all children reaching standards and we share lots of ways and lots of tools," Rogers said. "We play music. We get people up and talking. The music is because people will tend to talk more openly when there's music in the background. It kind of lets us feel like its more private and that way kids will talk more."
One of the ways Peak Learning incorporates new ways of learning is by engaging the kids in ways they are familiar with, such as through music.
"If I'm going to have my kids working together or have them discuss something like he said it's a barrier. It makes you more comfortable to talk when the music is playing in the background because if it's silent, you're kind of all just sitting there and when you have the music playing in the background, you feel more comfortable," Brad Pesek, a freshman Algebra teacher, said.
Daniel Lopez, the assistant Superintendent for Diboll ISD, says the new learning platform helps teachers engage their students.
"There's not a single person in this room that did not learn a great strategy that they can use immediately in their classroom," Lopez said. "It's engaging every student, every time. That's basically the premise behind this."
Pesek says the strategies he's learned will help him exponentially in the classroom.
"As a math teacher, they have all these different posters around the room as methods. One of them that they refer to is clouds, sprinkle, and shower. A lot of times as math teachers, we're guilty of teaching a brand new concept that day [then] expecting the students to learn it and then go home and practice. With the clouds, and the sprinkle, and the shower they told us the clouds are for example nonlinear equations. Instead of just going into it that day, I might have a poster up in my room two to three weeks before I'm going to teach that," Pesek said.
It's a way to help the students visually see what they will be learning in advance, Pesek says, so when the lesson is taught the kids will feel more comfortable because they have already become familiar with it.
Meredith Walker, a first grade teacher, agrees.
"20 to 25 years ago, students were in rows. Columns and rows, and they would go to the blackboard and do this math problem and the ones that got it wrong would stay up there. Well, that's totally embarrassing to the student," Walker said.
Now, with Peak Learning, the students will be engaged as a team. It's a way to make classes more exciting, Fant says.
"In high school, it's not typical to be able to get up and go around the classroom, but we do different activities where they can get up periodically. In math, it's hard. But we can do some things," Fant said.