Teacher uses hands-on approach to help first grade students learn, communicate

Published 10:15 am Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Project-based learning is Morgan Webb’s main focus when it comes to her classroom of first grade students at Dana Road Elementary.

“I’m a project-based teacher,” Webb said. “My kids learn through project-based learning, which is considered hands-on (with) a lot of collaborating with one another. We communicate with one another. I think communicating amongst each other is a key for their future.”

Every week she plans an activity for her class called Fun Day Friday, which is typically a cutting and pasting project. Last week’s Fun Day Friday consisted of the class reading the book “Rainbow Fish” and then creating their own rainbow fish. Many of this year’s projects deal with the ocean because Dana Road’s Leader in Me theme this year is Swimming through the Seven Habits.

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“I incorporate lessons pertaining to different animals in the ocean,” Webb said.

She said the seven habits from the Leader in Me program are used in each lesson. Webb is a major proponent of the Leader in Me program and serves as the facilitator on the school’s Lighthouse Team, which means she organizes and schedules weekly meetings of the team that works to promote the program at the school.

Webb has taught at Dana Road for 12 years. She spent 10 years teaching second grade, the same grade her mother taught, and last year she moved to first grade.

“This is my second year in first grade, and I absolutely love it,” Webb said. “My students are so eager to learn, and I soak that up.”

Webb said her students like to sing songs, have dance breaks and they come to class with smiles and hugs. She finds it rewarding to watch the class learn and understand, and she makes it a point to challenge each one of the children in her classroom. Her goal each year is to prepare her students to be promoted to the next grade.

“I have high expectations for every single one of my students,” Webb said.

Webb, a Jackson native, grew up helping her mom grade papers and always wanted to become a teacher herself. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Delta State University and earned her master’s degree in administration from Mississippi College.

“This is my passion. This is what I love to do,” Webb said.

She plans to someday become a principal and eventually a superintendent, but for now she is happy to continue teaching for at least a few more years.

“I’m not pursing that right now,” she said.

Webb is married and has two children, a girl in third grade and a boy in fourth grade, at Dana Road.