When the curtain closed on her career in the entertainment industry, Laura Aldridge found her performance experience played well in the classroom. "It was almost like that plan B that ended up being the plan all along."
Aldridge admits being a ham comes naturally, and that plays well with 5th graders. "It is a story about a girl named Pinky, its Pinkys Promise. It's Pinkys Promise," she says while talking about an independent reading assignment.
She pops p's, fully embraces technology, from Youtube to gaming systems, and works rap into her lessons. 5th grader Rachel Baker Fox says "she, like, explains everything and this morning she played this really funny panda rapping video about math." Aldridge says "the novelty helps the kids to stay awake and stay alive and it helps the kids to see that learning isn't just opening a book and hum drum. Its something that you can create interest with."
Aldridge spends a lot of time helping students organize their thoughts. She wants them visualizing, analyzing and budgeting time for their assignments -- in preparation for middle school. 5th grader Ashley Christine says "we've never had anything like that, where we get it on one day and its due a week from them, so she makes sure we keep up with that."
School wasn't easy for Aldridge. It took her 12 years to get a bachelors degree, something she says gives her street cred with some students. "When I see these kids who some are at risk, I always try to encourage them and let them know hey, if I can do it, anybody can do it. I wasn't the smartest bulb in the box."
Aldridge attributes her success to a great group of teachers in her team, like Sandra Jenkins, Debbie McCarty, and Christine Lonsford.
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