Extreme Classroom Makeover | Oak Ridge Associated Universities



From Students to Peers, Alvey Continues to Dazzle

Makeover Teacher Inspires Fellow Educators with the Benefits of an
Extreme Science Classroom

Jenny Alvey

“Super teacher!”

That’s how one fellow educator greeted Jenny Alvey between presentations at the Tennessee Educational Technology Conference in Nashville where Alvey led seminars on Thursday, Dec. 3 and Friday, Dec. 4 at the Nashville Convention Center.

Alvey smiled but waved off the compliment. “I’m still new at all of this,” she said.

She might be a newbie, but word has traveled fast about Alvey. As the recipient of Oak Ridge Associated Universities’ (ORAU) first ever Extreme Classroom Makeover, she has been teaching her 6th-grade science students in a transformed classroom at Knoxville’s Gresham Middle School since the 2009-10 school year began in late August.

The statewide conference—sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Education—was Alvey’s first chance to share with a large audience the leading-edge tools in her arsenal, particularly Promethean’s ActiveExpression board system.

In addition to leading two presentations, Alvey also demonstrated ActiveExpression during the two-day vendor fair.

“This has been great,” she said. “I’ve learned so much. I had a basic understanding of how to use these tools, but being here I’ve gotten lots of new ideas.”

Make no mistake: Alvey also gave away lots of new ideas to teachers who visited the booth or sat in on her sessions. Several attendees had just received an ActivExpression board and were soaking in her knowledge about its power to engage students in lessons, quizzes and fun activities. Several others had not seen the board before but went back home eager to advocate for it in their schools.

Thomas Trenkler, a related-arts teacher in Nashville, has had a board for a year—but he was learning from Alvey. “She has clearly put in the time and energy necessary to make this tool work in her high-tech classroom, and it’s obvious that her students are benefiting,” he said.

The most “oohs” and “ahhs” Alvey received followed her demonstrations of the ActivExpression’s on-screen attendance chart (students drag their name into a shark’s mouth to indicate “present” each morning), recording function (she can pre-record exam questions, for example), and the “Hot Seat” game (a team quiz race).

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