In Kristine Becker’s fourth grade classroom at Topeka’s Logan Elementary, students connect deeply with the curriculum while building a lifetime of memories. Becker is a master of classroom transformations, creating immersive environments where students have so much fun they hardly realize they’re learning. A unit on the branches of government results in the classroom becoming a courtroom, with students taking on the roles of judge, plaintiff, defendant, jurors and attorneys as they learn about the judicial system. Becker has held mock elections to mirror the national presidential vote, built a fake campfire in the middle of her classroom-turned-campsite for science experiments, and created a spy headquarters with black lights and glow-in-the-dark accessories. During project-based learning, students plan and sell breakfast items as they explore entrepreneurship and concepts like supply and demand. Becker’s holistic, creative methods contribute to meaningful results — the school’s fourth grade student proficiency nearly doubled in ELA and more than doubled in math from 2019 to 2021.
Inspiring and well-respected throughout her building and district, Becker has worked on curriculum, grade card realignment and social committees. She personalizes student learning through small-group instruction, provides opportunities for student choice, and embraces technology, leveraging multiple adaptive learning platforms to enable self-paced mastery of concepts. Becker earned National Geographic Educator Certification and created the district’s first elementary STEM fair, building lessons and programs colleagues can bring to life in their own classrooms. She mentors first-year and student teachers, helping to build skills and competency for the next generation of Logan educators.
Becker works to build relationships with every student. She creates a classroom culture that fosters compassion and respect, highlights students’ personal interests, and makes students feel safe to try new things and push beyond their comfort zone. She tutors students after school, teaches summer school and coaches Girls on the Run. During pandemic school building closures, Becker delivered notes to students’ homes and went the extra mile to create engaging remote content, including a video series in which she dressed like a pioneer on the Oregon Trail and students made choices to help her find food, secure shelter and survive the arduous journey.
Becker is a graduate of Emporia State University, earning a bachelor’s in elementary education in 2013 and a master’s in instructional coaching with a concentration in elementary STEM in 2016.
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How We Teach This | Emporia State University | Jun 07, 2023 | Emporia, KS
Emporia State University | Jan 20, 2023 | Emporia, KS
KSTN-TV | NBC/FOX/ABC | Jan 19, 2023 | Topeka, KS
Topeka Capital-Journal | USA Today | Jan 19, 2023 | Topeka, KS
WIBW-TV | CBS | Jan 18, 2023 | Topeka, KS
KANU-FM | NPR | Jan 18, 2023 | Topeka, KS
2013 B.S., Elementary Education, Emporia State University
2013 M.S., Instructional Coaching with Emphasis in STEM, Emporia State University