• Headline Archives August 2011

    Rebecka Rocquin



    Rebecka Rocquin of Ponchatoula High school in Tangipahoa Parish will be presented with the 2011 Louisiana Outstanding Biology Teacher Award by the National Association of Biology Teachers, in conjunction with Leica Microsystems, Inc. and Biozone. This honor, given annually since 1961, identifies a teacher from each of the United State, its possessions, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and Canada who has made valuable contributions to the profession and to his/her students. Criteria for the award include teaching ability, experience, inventiveness, initiative, inherent teaching strengths, and cooperativeness in the school and community.


    Rebecka has been a biology teacher at Ponchatoula High School since 2006 and also serves as the science department co-chair.  Her teaching career spans 14 years and she has served as a biology curriculum developer for the Louisiana Virtual School.  A Louisiana native, she received her Masters of Education and Bachelors of Science degrees from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, LA. 


    “Science can only come alive when students are actively engaged in real-life pursuits that interest and challenge them,” explains Rocquin.  Every year, her biology students participate in service learning projects involving elementary school students.  “These projects provide students with a powerful connection between what they learn and how they can share it with others,” she adds.  Technology is an integral part of her classroom and she utilizes interactive multimedia software, digital cameras, classroom response systems and iPods to help students process difficult concepts with engaging visuals.


    Rebecka is a member of the National Science Teachers Association and was recognized as the Loranger High School teacher of the year and LACUE Secondary Educator of the year in 2006.  She has been the recipient of the Best Buy teach award, the Target Field Trip Grant, and received the ING Unsung Hero award in 2005.  “She is an enthusiastic educator who brings her lessons to life,” said Melanie Monistere, curriculum coordinator at Ponchatoula High School. 


    A special presentation will be given by the National Association of Biology Teachers at its National Convention in Anaheim, CA, in October. In addition to the certificates awarded, Rebecka will be presented with a microscope from Leica Microsystems, Inc., and a year’s complimentary membership in NABT.


    The National Association of Biology Teachers and the Louisiana Association of Biology educators, an affiliate of LSTA, are extremely proud of Rocquin, her accomplishments, and the news of her award. “Such accomplishments and awards should make not only Rebecka’s school district but the entire state proud. She is a priceless member of the education community,” Louisiana OBTA Director, Marty Loupe, said.

     Janet Haydel's 4th Graders Exploratorium
     Students from Mrs. Janet Haydels 4th grade science classes hosted a 4th Grade Science Exploratorium at D.C. Reeves, where 275+ students and their 12 teachers toured the museum. The students were from Mrs. Haydels, Mrs. Tanya Glasss, and Mrs. Dondi Sozas homerooms. Parent volunteers were available to help with the rotation of students and to help maintain supplies at the make and take stations.
    The students were teamed up to demonstrate experiments and activities involving bubbles, sound, light and color, motion, electricity, and static electricity. Some of the highlighted activities were the mega bubble stand where students were able to get inside of a giant bubble, and the 3-D bubble station where students made square bubbles. In the light and color station, students were able to create colored shadows and white light from red, green, and blue light rays. At the electricity station, students were amazed to see a light bulb glow from a circuit using pickles as a battery. Students stood puffed cereal on end as they created static electricity by rubbing the tub against their hair. Musical instruments were made from PVC pipes and a recycled water bottle were played to grasp the concept that sound comes from vibrations. The laws of motion were experienced with PVC pipe spinners and a pendulum was created using hex nuts and string.
    The day was a huge success. The students that visited the Exploratorium were thrilled to learn about science. Demonstrating students were exhausted at the end of the day and now appreciate all of the hard work that teachers do to present a well balanced lesson. A special thanks to Ponchatoula’s Chapter of KKI and D.C. Reeves for providing funding for the necessary materials for the Exploratorium.


     21st Century Community Learning Center Summer Program 
    Students from Independence Elementary spent the summer enrolled in the 21st Century Community Learning Center.  Catholic Charities of New Orleans provides a grant to help continue learning through a summer camp at I.E.S.  107 students were engaged in Reading, Math, and Science classes everyday for 5 weeks.  The children also participated in dance, music, art, physical education, and computer lab.  Field trips were held every Friday to various destinations such as the IMAX Theater, Insectarium, Louisiana Arts and Science Museum, and the Honey Island Swamp tour. Grey Hawk, a Native American Indian, also visited the school along with the LSU Ag Department.  It was an exciting summer full of learning and fun. 

    Tangipahoa FIRST Induction Training 

    The Tangipahoa FIRST (a Framework for Inducting, Retaining, and Supporting Teachers) Curriculum Coaching Team recently held district orientation and induction training for newly hired teachers of the Tangipahoa Parish School System.


    Hammond High Magnet Torbotics Camp

    Children attending Torbotics Camp

    Nearly 70 kids participate the hands-on learning at the Hammond High Magnet School Torbotics summer camp.  Each day had a different theme and projects related to rockets, physics, air resistance, projectile motion and temperature, and the students learned the science behind each of their projects. 

    Torbotics students worked with groups of campers all week building four different rockets, towers and other scientific designs.  Even Hammond students who graduated in May volunteered their time with the camp.  “The campers have been amazing,” said Hammond teacher and Torbotics sponsor Shelly Gaydos.  “They’ve jumped into every activity with no fear.”  They participate in water rockets, straw towers, Minute to Win It games, NASA demonstrations and others.

    One activity required campers to use straws, marshmallows and masking tape to build the highest tower they could.

    Another used 2-liter bottles halfway filled with water to create pressure and launch as a rocker.  They finished the week with a 2-day project where they constructed and launched an engine rocket.

    “You could have heard a pin drop during the NASA demonstration,” Gaydos said.  “They listened to everything he had to say and asked great questions about the recent launch of the space shuttle afterward.”

    Chris Copelan, education program specialist for the John Stennis Space Center, demonstrated how liquid nitrogen works and described what it is used for in rockets on Wednesday. 

    “When you give students hands-on projects and demonstrations, they’re interested,” she said.

    Not only did the kids learn something each day, they had fun the whole time, Principal Chad Troxclair said.

    “They’re being problem-solvers,” he said.  “My 7-year-old son is in the camp and was telling me how a rocket works.”

    NASA will continue to work with the Hammond High Torbotics program with the robotics program in the upcoming school year, Troxclair said.


    Bridgett Bonner, Daily Star