SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA) — It’s just another day at Anna Shaw’s sixth grade math class at J.O. Kelly Middle School. But Shaw’s not just another teacher. In fact, she’s one of the best math instructors in the country, proven by a prestigious award—the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
Shaw’s students weren’t surprised.
“She’s really good at explaining stuff,” said Dominika Vargas, sixth grade. “If you don’t understand it, she’ll come to you individually and help you.”
The method Shaw uses is called differentiation, which involves tailoring lesson plans to each student and allowing them to learn at their own pace.
“I kind of assess their performance along the way, and if they’re not ready to move on, then we practice a little more on one skill,” Shaw said. “Others can move on at their own pace.”
Shaw motivates her students to reach their individual potential.
“I’ve always been kind of ahead in math, and she really started pushing my thinking by doing pre-algebra,” Vargas said.
Shaw, who went to a special ceremony in Washington D.C. in late October to receive the distinction, said the honor motivated her to continue down the same path.
“I’ve got a network of people that I can lean on and learn from, but also my love right now is my classroom,” Shaw said. “That’s where I wanna be.”