July’s Innovative FACS Teacher of the Month: Rachel Baxter

This month’s Innovative Family Consumer Science Teacher is Rachel Baxter, a high school FACS teacher in Mobile, Alabama. She’s taught FACS for five years now as her second career. She was inspired to become a FACS teacher by her sister who was also a FACS teacher. Unfortunately, her sister Janet, died three years ago of cancer, nonetheless, Janet’s legacy continues through Rachel!

Rachel says, “I love teaching FACS, mainly because I enjoy working with youth, but also because teaching is more like play than work (well, most days!)  I feel that in FACS I can also use one of my philosophies in education “teach people, use curriculum.”  I see curriculum as a springboard to bigger and better things.  Sometimes my imagination gets me in over my head, but my students are always gracious and game to do whatever is brought to the table (for the most part.)”

This past spring, faced with a smaller class size, Rachel tried Fresh FACS Publishing’s curriculum on ecology as a mini-unit, since that applied to all the courses she was teaching.  In the meantime, she realized that the blackberries behind the school were ripe, so she had the class pick up their bowls and go blackberry picking, to teach a lesson on sustainability.  The students had a great time, many had never known they could eat those little berries (or even knew they grew like that in their own backyards.)  When they came back, they washed them up and the next day made blackberry cobbler.  It was such a treat, and Rachel got in several good lessons on ecology, math, geography, history, and science.

Another fun lesson she has done with her students is providing a baby shower for one of the local community centers in Mobile.  Rachel says, “this ties in with cake baking and decision making and the planning process.  The students are always amazed at how well everything turns out and we do something good for the community.”
Rachel is always on the lookout for ways to use technology and this past year she discovered glogster.com.  She put together a couple of web searches using glogster and this next year, and wanted to have her students start glogging also.  Not having enough computers is an issue for her, but she thinks that if she sets up rotation centers, she can get around that limitation. 
In keeping up with the latest FACS trends, Rachel subscribes to the Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences and spends a lot of time surfing the web and talking to folks about what they do that works for them.  She has also taken a couple of general education e-courses that have helped her overall.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Rachel! 
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