Baltimore County Teacher of the Year – Brendon Penn | Celebree School

This week on the Parenting and Teaching Podcast, Richie Huffman and Ali Kraus talk with Brendon Penn, Baltimore County Teacher of the Year for the 2018-2019 school year.

Brendon teaches at Lyons Mill Elementary School in Owings Mills, Maryland working with third-grade students. Ali and Brendon have a history dating back to the very start of Lyonss Mill. 

From his days at Randallstown Elementary to Lion’s Mill, Brendon uses new techniques in teaching and specifically the STEM prgram to bring education further into the 21st Century.

S.T.E.M: Huh?

Brendon explains the programs as succinctly as anyone, “S.T.E.M stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. The focus was to teach these important components, but how do you blend them together? So, how do you do a science lesson but blend them together?”

S.T.E.M. tries to use an experiential approach to interdisciplinary learning that students enjoy and teachers use with confidence. 

Brendon developed his own way to integrate S.T.E.M. into his own classroom by using a program called ‘Makerlearning’, similar to Makerspace which focuses on coding, engineering and other newer techilogical sciences.

Makerlearning: HUH?!?

Makerlearning isn’t as fancy as it sounds. It’s actually a very hands-on approach to teaching while using a variety of different modes at once. It allows kids to make connections in everyday environments.

Think mathematical word problems, but with the actual experience of solving said problem.

Brendon gives the perfect example describing how his students learned multiplication and gardening, and nutrition, all at once.

“They used vegetable gardens because you plant your vegetables in nice neat rows and columns. So, its kind of that same type of thikning, same thing with equal groups.”

Brendon had his students draw out what become essentially blueprints of their gardens. The class accounted for the type of vegetables they wanted to plant, the food groups they needed to acknowledge, the nutrients necessary to grow their crops, and almost every other variable you could imagine.

They used rulers, specific lines and measurements and Brendon focused on the students putting, “their best foot forward.”

Teacher of the Year: What does it mean

Earning the title of teacher of the year for a single school is no easy feat. Earning that title for a single school district is incredible. Earning the honor for a county with over 13,000 educators is just special.

“A lot of things we do as a teacher, a simple, ‘Thank you’ would be enough, so to get all these calls and all these emails, it was overwhelming in a very positive way.”

The way that Brendon intends to spread his message and use his platform is to inspire other educators to use new and inventive methods to motivate their current and future students to success.