Mrs. Lydia Jones has had a love for history, specifically surrounding the American Civil War, since her grandparents took her on a trip to the battlefields of Gettysburg as a young girl. Her interest in history, combined with her exposure to her mother’s teaching job and several shadowing opportunities, led her to pursue teaching when she grew older.
“History has always fascinated me because it is so complex,” she explained “You can always go deeper with the content and when you do, you uncover some pretty amazing things. That is so exciting for me.”
To begin her journey to become a teacher, Mrs. Jones attended Grove City College where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Social Studies for Secondary Education and became PA certified in Social Studies for grades 7-12. Shortly after graduating, Mrs. Jones joined the PA Distance family as a middle school history teacher.
For her first year, Mrs. Jones began teaching 7th-grade Geography classes. But now, for her second year at PA Distance, she will be teaching 8th-grade U.S. History while participating in a new research-based looping initiative with the rest of the middle school team. PA Distance teachers travel with their students as they move from one grade level to the next. This year, all of the 7th-grade teachers have moved to teach 8th-grade subjects.
“I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback from my students,” she said.
“As a teacher, you often utilize the first few weeks of school to get to know the students and for the students to get to know you,” she explained. “But with looping, I already know them and have their trust and they know that they can come to me and ask questions.”
Studies show that with looping, students are more comfortable attending class and participating.
“As a class, we have already done the hard work to build those relationships the previous year,” she said. “Now, we can jump right into new content. I have already seen an increase in class participation from my students.”
Mrs. Jones teaches five sections of 8th-grade U.S. History and covers early American history to the Reconstruction Era right after the Civil War. She teaches live classes on Monday and Thursday with supplemental asynchronous lessons that help them dive deeper into the content on the other school days.
Mrs. Jones covers hundreds of years worth of history in her U.S. History course and is always trying to get creative and use virtual field trips, Nearpods, Brainpop, Flocabulary, and a lot of kids content from National Geographic.
“I transfer my passion for history into my classes by encouraging my students to take a "hands-on" approach to studying history,” she said. “They analyze a lot of primary sources, we go on lots of virtual field trips, and share in lots of awesome discussions. My goal is to make history come to life for my students.”
“There's a lot of opportunities to be creative and design your time to be as impactful as possible in live class,” she added. “I strive to foster discussion within my classes and my students seem to enjoy that.”
“I’m really excited to see the students' academic and personal growth from last year to this year,” she said.