Willowcreek: Ready for its close-up

2013-02-10T00:00:00Z 2013-02-10T19:30:06Z Willowcreek: Ready for its close-upJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | Christine Keaton's seventh-grade English class at Willowcreek Middle School may never write the same way again.

The Portage students certainly won't describe a farmer as simply being "hot." They may paint a greater picture of the farmer wiping his sweat-laden brow.

It was a quick lesson they learned Tuesday from nationally renown education consultant Kristina Smekens, owner of Smekens Education Solutions of Warren, Ind.

Smekens spent 15 minutes with Keaton's class Tuesday morning teaching them a lesson in descriptive writing. The lesson, along with three others in different classes, was recorded by Smekens' company. The videos will be used on her website in the future as professional development lessons for teachers across the country.

It benefited Smekens, the students and the teachers.

Principal Michelle Stewart said Smekens' visit is providing professional development opportunities for teachers at her school that, because of changes in state legislation, the teachers wouldn't otherwise have an opportunity to obtain. Students in the four classes benefited too from the lessons.

"They are having the same professional development at no cost," Stewart said.

Smekens recorded at Portage High School last year and at Kyle Elementary School on Monday.

A former teacher, Smekens created the consulting firm, which she said has grown in demand. She's expanding the lessons to include web-based materials she hopes to launch within a year and has had partnerships with schools throughout Indiana to videotape the lessons in classrooms and then follow-up debriefing sessions with teachers.

"I've seen Kristina Smekens numerous times for professional development," Keaton said. "To see the lessons I've heard about live and with the students inspires me to carry it on in my classroom."

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