Editor’s Note: This is the seventh in a series on North Okaloosa County Teachers of the Year.
BAKER — The secret to Lisa Maradik's success in teaching math to Baker School’s third- through fifth-graders is making it fun.
"I'm just a crazy math teacher that will do anything to get their students’ attention," Maradik said. "I try not to be boring."
Several hands-on activities help her students better understand math.
Laci Powell, 9, said her favorite activity involved marshmallows and toothpicks.
"We took a bunch of marshmallows and paper and we made rays and line segments," she said. "It was really fun.
"Her class is different. She is really creative; you get to do different things in her class ... it’s just awesome."
Aiden Jones, 9, enjoyed participating in the Race to Space contest, which rewarded students whose paper rocket ship on a bulletin board inched closer to a makeshift moon as they learned multiplication tables.
Such fun methods can enhance students’ education, Maradik said.
"My job is to get them ready to get to the next grade,” she said. “I don't want to be just at grade level in this class; I want them to be at the next grade level."
Other teachers have noticed Maradik’s efforts and recently named her the school’s Teacher of the Year.
"I was very excited; I didn't expect (it), being from a k(indergarten) through 12 school, because everyone in the school voted; you didn't just vote in your grade level,” Maradik said.
Principal Thomas Shipp said he has enjoyed watching Maradik progress as an educator.
"I've known Mrs. Maradik for some time ... it's been a joy to watch her grow and develop in education," he said. "She has become one of our mathematical experts in the elementary grade levels and serves as a mentor for other teachers. So, we are really happy to have her on staff."
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.