Jordan Walker-Martin started teaching grade 3/4 in North Spirit Lake First Nation in September. Jordan did his undergraduate degree and his Bachelor of Education at Laurentian University in Sudbury. Jordan orginally hails from Barrie, Ontario.
Jump up, get down and move it all around! Words that have come to define Mr. Jordan’s grade 3/4 class in North Spirit Lake First Nation. The 18 movers and shakers that spend their days with Mr. J are almost always doing just that.
Their day often begins on the class carpet for stop number one: a game in which Mr. Jordan hides an item from the classroom in his little pink bag and students can ask 21 questions about it. As their curiosity bubbles, they learn about different types of questions that help them figure out what’s hiding in the bag. Once they figure out what is in the bag, students then ask Mr. J other questions about the item or about another item in the classroom, and, sometimes, about life in general. At their next stop, students will build on what they learned during this session of questions.
Stop number two: it’s time for these active learners to move on to the literacy circuit, which includes silent reading, journal writing, guided reading with Mr. J, and the ever popular “I Wonder” station. There, students have the chance to jump on their Chromebooks and look into the tricky questions that have been on their minds since the 21 questions game. Last week at the “I Wonder” station, students were busy learning how dinosaurs were born and how long it takes to get to the moon.
It’s almost time for recess and energy levels are rising. Perfect timing for stop number 3. Everyone heads to the front of the class for a daily crack at “Just Dance”. With the choreography up on the screen, all 18 hip hoppers and their funky teacher show off their moves before dancing out the door to recess. Phew! Time for a break.
YOU’RE IT! Everyone goes crashing into stop number four, which is outside on the field, where the routine game of freeze tag unfolds. Although Mr. Jordan’s long legs seem to give him an unfair advantage, his learners have become experts on how to dodge, dart, and scoot their way around him. As recess comes to an end, everyone is ready to roll back inside to warm up and refuel with a snack.
It’s now time for stop number five, the last stop of the morning: math. To complete a unit on subtraction, Mr. Jordan becomes host of his own game show, where contestants are urged to “COME ON DOWN!” to test their skills and review what they’ve learned on the board. As the contestants excitedly jot down answers to the game’s questions, their peers cheer them on and volunteer to face the next challenge. As the last contestant is called upon, the game ends with hands still up and students still ready to show the math questions who’s boss.
But the beloved lunch hour has finally arrived and, in a straight line, Mr. Jordan’s class heads out the door and down the hallway to pick up their lunches and catch the school bus home.
Research shows that tactile, kinesthetic learning improves classroom outcomes for most students. Mr. Jordan’s students are no exception. Since the beginning of the year, he has seen a significant increase in completed work, a sharp rise in reading stamina, and a newly fostered love for math. The energy and excitement Mr. J brings to his class every day is contagious and has, in a few short months, created an environment where students can have fun, are excited to learn, and actively participate in every part of the school day.