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Lineville Golden Apple recipient empowers for transformation

Lineville Intermediate School Educator Heather Potts, at right, is surprised during a school assembly as she is named a 2023 Greater Green Bay Chamber Golden Apple recipient. Greater Green Bay Chamber photo

By Kris Leonhardt
GREEN BAY – A Lineville Intermediate School educator is growing the next generation of difference-makers through empowerment.
Heather Potts is a fifth-grade math and science teacher at the school and a recent Greater Green Bay Chamber Golden Apple recipient.
“In my classroom, I want every child to feel seen, heard and loved. I want them to feel empowered to be themselves and feel safe to grow and collaborate with others,” Potts explains.
While providing an education, Potts incorporates many opportunities to communicate and collaborate.
“One of the big concepts that I teach in my grade level is mathematical operations with decimals. It’s rather abstract and students often struggle with mastery of these skills. I tell my students all the time that math without application is just playing around with numbers, which isn’t something most people want to do,” Potts explained.
“I want math to be fun for my students and applicable to their lives, so I look for projects and activities that take the math we’re learning and apply it in a real-world setting,” Potts added.
“If I can’t find a project, I make one which is what I did with our ‘Store Project.’ We do it every year, and it’s something my students come back and talk about all the time.
“In this project, students choose a product they want to create and sell. They research the cost of supplies and write to investors-parents, other family members, friends-and raise money for their project.
“Then with a team, they create a store name, branding materials and their products. They use their knowledge of decimals to set prices and figure out how many items they need to sell to ‘break even.’
“During this time, I have former students come and tell the students about their experience at the store. I also have community small business owners and professionals come and teach students about what running a business is like.”
Students then create a marketing plan and design posters as advertising.
“This all leads up to our sales night where they invite everyone they know to come and shop. After the sale, students analyze their sales and decide how their business did,” Potts explained.
“We talk about profit and paying back investors; and as a class, we donate the profit to a local charity.
“This project gives students so many opportunities to grow and expand their ideas of what is possible. When they realize that they are able, as children, to actually create something with a team that people want to buy and then make a difference in others’ lives as well, it’s transforming.
“Every child has a voice and can show their own creativity. Students who have never felt successful in school, suddenly find themselves thriving.
“It’s the essence of the environment I strive for in my classroom.”

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