On a Friday afternoon at Miller Elementary School in Warner Robins, Amanda Miliner spreads out treasured supplies — colorful rubber bands, neon pipe cleaners, fuzzy balls, patterned duct tape, beads, string, card stock and glitter glue. It’s project time. Georgia’s Teacher of the Year promotes &relationships innovation technology By Carolyn Crist 20 | KNOW • Volume 10 Issue 4 Houston County fifth-graders approach the table and carefully decide what they need to make the goods they’ll sell in the school’s marketplace in October. Bookmarks, wallets, hair bows, pom poms, bracelets and dolls. You name it, and they’re creating it. Before they carry off coveted batches of stickers and markers, the students must justify what supplies they need, how much and what they’ll create. It’s a real-life lesson in entrepreneurism that incorporates math, economics and critical thinking skills. “If I were a student, what would I want to do in the classroom?” Miliner says. “Sometimes you need to sit and write, and sometimes you need to move around and talk to each other. It helps them to feel at home.” During the project time, the students answer questions about inventory and supply requirements, decide appropriate prices for the market and teach each other how to create products. While they work, Miliner notices several groups are creating similar bookmarks and bracelets. She asks how they can make their products more marketable. They quickly reply: Be more creative. Use different supplies. Make them cheaper. “Now you’re thinking like a business owner,” she says. Stand in Miliner’s classroom for five minutes, and you’ll see the magic. There’s no doubt why she’s the 2015 Georgia Teacher of the Year.
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