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Weather Academy visits Galatia students

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Galatia Grade School

GALATIA (WSIL) -- Even though they're young, these students have a bit of weather in their daily lessons, all thanks to a little technology.

"We actually start off with weather every day. We ask our Echo what the weather's like today," says Abbie Hart, a first grade teacher at Galatia Grade school.

Yes, the teachers at Galatia Grade School have employed technology, but the students get to interact with it.

"I actually let the student of the week do that, so that's something that the kids get to do, and they think it's fun to be able to go up to the Echo and say 'Alexa, what's the weather like today?'"

It's meant to get the students thinking and learning.

"And usually she'll tell us if it's going to be sunny or rainy, and they seem to enjoy that," she says about the classroom's Amazon Echo Dot.

But these teachers don't just use tech to encourage learning, they incentivize it.

"This is actually our Bearcat Store. So, every Friday, the kids earn Bearcat Bucks with good behavior, and they come in here every Friday, and they're able to choose their little prizes."

Meagan Biggerstaff, who teaches second grade, explains the reward system.

"If they get a 100 on a test, they get five. If they just come to school every day, they get one, just to encourage that getting up, coming to school."

Biggerstaff and Hart have noticed improvement when Bearcat Bucks are introduced.

"They try more in their spelling and math, and they do a better job, I feel like, so they can earn that Bearcat buck," Hart says.

"And I know in my class if they are doing like handwriting, or kind of an independent work, and they start getting a little noisey, if I pass out a few Bearcat bucks to the quiet ones, they ship-shape right away, so they want those Bearcat bucks," says Biggerstaff.

Each Friday, they get their payout and take a trip to the Bearcat Store.

Biggerstaff says not all Bearcat Bucks are spent the same.

"But yeah, I have some that are real savers, and some that spend it all every time."

"I have a lot of my first graders that try to save up for the big prizes, like the $20 and the $50 items, which would be like the posters, and the bigger games. So some of them, that is helping them learn the value of money by not spending it every week, but they are able to save up to get the big prizes," Hart says.

You can follow the Weather Academy's adventures here. Next week, the team travels to Hardin County.

John Ross

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