In a small rural elementary school in De Soto of about 130 kids, 3rd grade teacher Rhonda Kiedinger makes a big impact.
She's a firm believer that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to education.
The first step in her lessons is getting the kids attention, after that the priority is maintaining it.
Kiedinger teaches at Prairie View Elementary and says the main ingredient in her classroom is love.
"I love, love, love this work. I love it,” says Kiedinger, “I think that it is frustrating and amazing, sometimes in the exact same moment."
Since she started teaching, she’s learned how to do more than teach words straight from the textbook.
"It's not about pulling out a workbook, getting to page 58, putting a plural 's' on all of the nouns on the page. That's not what teaching is."
And that’s especially important for her 3rd graders.
"We have, sometimes, that fine line of, 'Oh, you're now in 3rd grade. You are now going to take the state test. You are now going to fit into this standardized curriculum. And that doesn't work for me as an educator."
To accomplish this, she conferences with each child one and one so together they can figure out how the student learns best.
"They explain to me their thinking, I understand them better, they understand themselves better. We find some strategies and some skills they need to work on and they grow in that way."
It’s the individual attention, collaboration, and, of course, love that help her students grow long after they leave 3rd grade.