Say you’re a teacher. And you have this popular, mind-expanding lesson plan that gets your seventh graders to explore how people around the world celebrate winter holidays. Only this winter, one of your students is a Jehovah’s Witness. His family doesn’t believe in celebrating holidays.

Do you design a separate curriculum for that young man and risk making him feel left out?

Cram Middle School students in Civil War 'battle'
Barb Godby's lesson planning led to Civil War 'battle'

Not if you’re Barb Godby. In that case, you work with a colleague to come up with the massively engaging and educational Civil War re-enactment described in SpongeBomb SmartyPants: Re-enactment teaches history.

In the WSU News story, the 2005 graduate explains how she learned the importance of teacher collaboration when she studied secondary education at WSU. In an interview, she also praised our faculty for emphasizing that students need different ways to process and make sense of information. “WSU also had a lot of cutting-edge teaching about the brain, about teaching to every child in their own way,” she said of her undergraduate lessons. “That wasn’t the mainstream idea that it is now.”

Barb has worked at Cram Middle School in Las Vegas for five years. She loves teaching seventh and eighth graders, she says, despite “the hormones and the craziness and the angst. It’s my favorite age.” And despite struggling through a case of pneumonia and her grandmother’s death during planning for the first Civil War project, she’s looking forward to working with her colleagues on an even bigger re-enactment in May. “We’re a family here.”