Our teachers are amazing, which is why we share the story of a school’s Teacher of the Year every week ... please help us celebrate 2021 E.T. Booth Middle School Teacher of the Year Cathy Fernandez …
In the hands of E.T. Booth Middle School Teacher of the Year Cathy Fernandez, even a Rubik’s Cube becomes a social studies lesson.
Now in her 15th year as an educator, Ms. Fernandez takes the familiar puzzle and turns its colorful origin story in her hands until it’s solved into a lesson about the former Soviet Union and its control over countries including Hungary (where the Cube’s inventor lived), command economics and globalization. The lesson culminates with a class six-week challenge to solve an actual Cube, with a “Wall of Fame” for completers.
“This lesson demonstrates the power of making content relative to students,” said Ms. Fernandez, who also was named a Cherokee County School District Teacher of the Year Finalist. “It provided students with a way to grasp our content standard, learn how to set goals, deal with frustration, work together, read and follow directions and celebrate success.”
Not only is blending social studies and relevant applications a skillset in her toolbox, so is her ability to integrate STEM learning and instructional technology into social studies and her agility in differentiating lessons to meet the needs of learners of all levels in her sixth-grade classes. “She is able to make connections with students in ways that transcend the curriculum,” Principal Todd Sharrock said.
Her peers see Ms. Fernandez as a role model and mentor, and she brings considerable education and experience to the table, having earned master’s and education specialist degrees and Microsoft Innovator Educator certification, as well as honors including Social Studies Teacher of the Year for Pinellas County, Fla. prior to joining CCSD in 2017.
In her own words: “I aim to have my students complete the school year with not only mastering the standards, but also mastering those standards with tools that will assist them in other content areas and in the real world. I do not want my students to rely on rote memorization, but rather to know what happened in the past, why it happened, how it connected with other events, how the events relate to their personal lives, and accomplish all of those things using 21st Century skills.”
Special thanks to our 2021 Legacy Makers: CCSD Teachers of the Year Celebration's Presenting Sponsors: Cherokee County Educational Foundation, Credit Union of Georgia, Northside Hospital Cherokee and Shottenkirk Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Canton.