Roy Mitchell, an Honors science teacher at Coosa Middle School, was named the 2015 Teacher of the Year for Floyd County Schools at the October Floyd County Board of Education meeting held on Tuesday, October 7, 2014. Floyd's new top teacher has flipped his classroom for his students. Instead of lecturing in his class and giving the students homework, he videotapes his lecture information on video and posts it to YouTube for kids to watch at home. This leaves class time to practice what was learned in the lecture while the students are in class where he can help with questions. “This has worked great because I can now work with the kids while they practice and answer any questions they have over the material,” stated Mitchell. “With the old format, they were on their own with practice at home with no one to help with questions or to help extend the learning process.” Class time for students in Mr. Mitchell’s class is now a whirlwind of activity with time for experiments, group learning and even learning games to expand the science concepts being taught. “It’s not all about the videos, but rather what I can now do in the classroom, that lets me go beyond the base level of information,” added Mitchell.
The flipped classroom has reinvigorated the creativity of this veteran of more than 20 years in the classroom. Mr. Mitchell has taught high school and middle school and has been at Coosa since 2002. Mr. Mitchell loves working with middle school students and getting them excited about their learning journey. His classes are not always the quietest on the hall. “My class is probably away from their seats as much as they are in them," commented Mitchell. “I enjoy implementing tasks in the classroom like skits, games and songs to help children learn.”
The students in Roy Mitchell’s class will quickly let you know that his class is a fun place to learn and they love the videos. The YouTube assignments are not just Mr. Mitchell in front of a camera lecturing. He gets creative and puts science information to the tune of songs that are familiar in the life of a teenager. He may put the information about minerals to the tune of a Justin Bieber song or the theme song from Sponge Bob. “The good thing about the YouTube videos is that if you did not catch something you can just watch it again,” said Zack Mitchell, a student at Coosa Middle. “It also lets us do a lot of projects and fun things in class." Student Heather Fleming added, "He has given us three projects so far and it really has helped me to get it into my brain easier.” The videos, class projects, games and silly learning songs are all about one thing for Mitchell – learning. “When a kid’s face lights up, when you see on a kid’s face that instant they get something, that is a really good feeling,” He said.
Mr. Mitchell is a graduate of the University of Alabama with a secondary education degree in English and history. He received a masters from the University of Alabama at Gadsden. Mitchell has a gifted endorsement to teach Honors courses. He has learned that his videos are providing instruction for more children than just those in his class. “I have people contact me who have used my science videos for home school children and for children in other school systems,” Mitchell said. He has also become a contributor to the website socratic.org when the organization discovered his video lessons online.
Mitchell was selected for the Teacher of the Year honor by a review committee from the Rome/Floyd Retired Educators Association. He will now represent Floyd County Schools in the Georgia Teacher of the Year recognition program. The Georgia Teacher of the Year will be announced by the Georgia Department of Education in the spring.
The Teacher of the Year program in Floyd County Schools is sponsored by Northwest Georgia Credit Union. The organization provides a $100 gift check to each finalist in the teacher recognition program and a $500 gift check to the Teacher of the Year. Northwest Georgia Credit Union has sponsored the system Teacher of the Year recognition program for more than 17 years.
Mitchell; Sabrina Price, a teacher at Armuchee High School; and Dunny Blankenship, a teacher at Model Middle School were the finalist for the 2015 Teacher of the Year for Floyd County Schools.
Local school teachers of the year also honored at the October board meeting were: Karen Snow, Alto Park Elementary; Laura Brooks, Armuchee Elementary; Deirdri Nicole Reed, Armuchee Middle; Sabrina Price, Armuchee High; Amanda Jacobs, Cave Spring Elementary; Roy Mitchell, Coosa Middle; Miriam McGhee, Coosa High (now CHS assistant principal); Robina Gallagher, Floyd County Schools College & Career Academy; January Ballard, Garden Lakes Elementary; Stephanie Montgomery, Glenwood Primary; Alicia Whitehead, Johnson Elementary; Dori Treglown, McHenry Primary; Andy Henderson, Midway Primary (now teaching at Pepperell Primary); Nancy Stallings, Model Elementary; Tim Burton, Model High; Dunny Blankenship, Model Middle; Zach Battles, Pepperell Primary; Stacy Thompson, Pepperell Elementary; Mary Hunnicutt, Pepperell Middle; and Linda Casey, Pepperell High.
Video of Roy Mitchell's class and flipped classroom.