Kansas Master Teacher Award Program
Sixth Grade Teacher
Marlatt Elementary School
USD 383, Manhattan
"Education is a partnership involving the students, parents or other care-givers and myself. At a parent orientation meeting at the beginning of the year I let the parents know that I want the students in my classroom to become more independent than they have been in previous years. Students learn to be more responsible for their own actions while in my class. Parents are given a homework assignment to tell me about their child and their goals for their child. Together we work on a plan to help the child be successful. At conference time I visit with the parents and the student together. I want students to know they have a voice in the decisions made regarding their learning."
Music is an important part of Ken's life, and he shares this love by using various songs to introduce topics of study. "When students are working individually on an assignment, music to help students relax is played quietly in the background. Frequently students bring music from home they want to share with me," he says.
Honors and Awards
National Board Certified, Middle Childhood Generalist
State Farm Insurance "Good Neighbor Teacher Award" for economics unit
Kansas Medical Society/AMA "Excellence in Kansas Elementary Science Education Award"
FDA/NSTA Professional Development Program in Food Science
Operation Primary Physical Science (OPPS) State of Kansas Team
What People Say. . .
Penny Sturr, Principal writes, "Ken is a highly respected teacher in our district and considered to be an expert in the area of math and science instruction having attended and presented at building, district, state and national workshops. When Ken teaches the Connected Math curriculum in his classroom the students are totally involved in the learning process. He does an equally fine job when teaching the FOSS science curriculum. He truly knows how to get students invested in science investigations."
One of the best known sixth grade traditions is the building and launching of six feet high hot air balloons, according to Jared Rogers, a former student of Mr. Garwick. Jared relates in his letter, " When I was in preschool, I got to go to my sister's launch and learned the phrase 'hot air rises.' I help Mom chase some of the balloons too. Last year, I worked with two other boys to design and build our balloon. It was a challenge as we were assigned to the team and had many different ideas and our first color selection was already taken. We regrouped over the weekend and were proud of our final project."
Meghan Ward, now a second year biochemistry major at Mt. Allison University in Canada related some 6 th grade experiences: " 'Cigams' are a currency that Mr. Garwick invented to help students learn about economics and how to manage money. Through this program he not only teaches students about balancing a checkbook but also uses it as a reward system and also as a way to teach students about real life. One day when we had an auction, where students bring in items to sell for cigams, Mr. Garwick brought in a bag with a dollar sign written on it. Students bid many cigams to get that bag of money, but it turned out to have only a bag of shredded money in it. In this way, we learned that in marketing, and in life in general, things are not always as they seem, so one should always use one's intellect and question all things."