Top Notch Teacher March 2020: Karla Lawrence

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)– Karla Lawrence has seen a lot of change throughout her time as a teacher in the La Crosse School District. Most recently, she’s been taking a new approach to teaching her students.

It was back in 1999 that Lawrence got her start in the School District of La Crosse.

“The first 14 years I taught here at Logan Middle my emphasis was science,” said Lawrence, now a sixth-grade math teacher at Logan Middle School.

She found herself wanting to try teaching younger minds, so she went to Northside Elementary for four years.

“It was fabulous, I learned so much about myself as a teacher and even more about children as learners,” Lawrence said.

But the middle school was calling her back. This time, she returned for a math teaching position.

“Unlike science, there’s always an answer with your math problems,” Lawrence laughed.

This year, her latest change has been how she approaches the classroom. One of her school district colleagues introduced her to the flipped classroom model, which starts with the students watching a video about a concept the night before.

“Then they come to class the next day with a warm-up about that skill. And that’s really like their second shot at learning,” Lawrence said.

She feels the students are more engaged with their work.

“As a teacher, I’m there to guide them on the side as they’re working on their math problems,” Lawrence said.

Then, they go into their homework practice.

“We do their homework right in class. Parents are so thankful that they don’t have to be helping their student with math work at home,” Lawrence said.

This also gives her time to help the students who might need extra attention.

“And then challenge the ones that need an extra challenge,” Lawrence said.

Before they leave, they have a little quiz to show that they’ve learned the skill.

“And if they don’t do well on the exit ticket, I can pull them in during study hall or extra time after school,” Lawrence said.

She said she’s excited to see how it can help students.

“I can’t wait to see how the results improve on their test scores over the next few years,” Lawrence said.

That will provide a great foundation for them throughout middle school, high school and beyond.

“As a teacher, my philosophy is to help our students be successful adults,” Lawrence said.