Nikki Nalley is passionate about helping her students connect what they’re learning to the world around them.
A technology education teacher at Pike Central Middle School in Petersburg, Indiana, Nalley believes the best way to do that is through hands-on education. “The curriculum I use in my classroom enables the students to learn valuable skills when they work with their hands on their projects as they learn new material,” she said. “These [projects] require students to use real-world skills that their future employers are seeking such as teamwork, communication, [and] problem solving . . . just to name a few.”
Nalley, Pitsco Education’s January 2017 Teacher of the Month, said that, although she originally planned on being a lawyer, after she had a job at Head Start, she knew she wanted to be a teacher. Since then, she has never looked back.
“I love helping students to learn new things about our changing world and themselves,” she said. “Seeing the students grow during these pivotal years of their lives while using my curriculum is such a blessing.”
And the use of hands-on projects has been a key part of that growth. Nalley uses various hands-on products in her Pitsco Modules lab and believes they are integral to keeping the students engaged and learning. “The students can actually recall and utilize these valuable skills later in life,” she explained. “Research has proven that integration of reading, hearing, seeing, and doing all at the same time while learning new material enables learners to remember a greater percentage of the new material. I have seen this firsthand in my classroom.”
And the engagement doesn’t stop when the students leave her classroom. “Our middle school and high school are all in one building, allowing me to see previous students on a daily basis,” said Nalley. “I see them in the hallways or they come back to see me. They tell me about how this class has influenced them. They tell me how they still have their rocket, their dragster, their blinky kit, or their 3-D printed project and what they are doing with them. I have also had students use their Module work as a starting point for other scientific experiments for other classes. . . . My class allows my students to have tangible evidence of their learning, which they can take home to keep for as long as they choose.”
Nikki Nalley, thank you for giving your students concrete learning experiences they can hold on to for a lifetime. Congratulations on being named Pitsco’s January 2017 Teacher of the Month.
Learn more about Nikki Nalley
Read about our other Teacher of the Month recipients at pitsco.com/TeacheroftheMonth