November 2020 Top Notch Teacher: Kim Novak

Novak uses a "flipped classroom" method that allows students to learn content individually before meeting up in class

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – For teachers that build a bond with their students and parents, chances are the students will learn more productively.

“The better partnership that we can have as teachers and parents, the better education and better experience our kids will have,” Lincoln Middle School math teacher Kim Novak said.

Novak’s schedule is usually pretty full.

“I teach all math classes,” Novak said.

And at home, she’s just as busy.

“I have two boys of my own, and so I get that parenting is challenging,” Novak said.

To make things easier for everyone, Novak uses a “flipped classroom” method, where students learn math lessons individually first.

“I make my own videos, very similar to Khan Academy, but my own videos,” Novak said.

The homework for her students is to watch and take notes on her videos.

“And then in class we work on the actual math concepts,” Novak said.

Novak says she thinks her flip classroom method is more effective.

“Parents are more able to support me as a teacher because everyone can sit down with their kid and watch these videos, learn this concept together,” Novak said.

It looks like her lessons are working well in today’s world, too.

“Honestly, in the teaching condition we have right now, it’s really lended itself to continue that,” Novak said.

Math is hard for some students. It’s hard for some parents.

“Math has changed from when we learned it, and when parents learned it,” Novak said.

But whether there’s a pandemic or not, Novak is showing why virtual learning can be done successfully.

“And if we can pull that battle and that experience away from the parents and put it back in the classroom, it’s better for everyone,” Novak said.

Kim says she’s been doing the flip classroom method for about five years now. She has been teaching math at Lincoln Middle for seven years.

Kim also says her spunky attitude personality is why she loves working with middle schoolers, but she’s also a believer in humor because she thinks it makes for learning math easier.