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Making things fun is the key to success for Hammock

WEST POINT — One of the biggest challenges for a teacher is finding a way to keep students interested in the material. Thankfully, West Point Elementary School’s Heather Hammock has found a good way of keeping all eyes on her.

Hammock has spent the past 18 years at West Point, teaching science and math before landing on language.

“I love to see my children thrive,” she said. “With language I love to see them develop reading and writing skills.”

The way she teaches is by using games and events to get the lessons across, while at the same time keeping things fun so they stay engaged.

“We’ll play Leap Frog,” she said. “They have questions and work in teams. If they get a correct answer and they pull tickets from a bucket for points but one is a leap frog that moves point to another team. The students have to work as a team and there’s a thrill to pulling a ticket.”

Hammock noted that when students come to the fifth grade, their writing is weakest at the start of school. To correct this, she starts them off with small chunks of text but as the year progresses she gives them more and more.

“They do not realize they are writing more,” she said. “We celebrate at the end. It encourages them.”

The reactions from students at the end varies. Hammock noted some are hard to convince they have done better while others are proud.

“Others still want to grow but most are blown away,” she said. “This is where my hearts is.”

Hammock added that since she has been teaching for nearly two decades, she gets to deal with the siblings of former students and in two years she will have her first second generation student.

Outside of work, Hammock spends time with her family, which includes her husband Jason and two kids: 13-year-old daughter Charley and 10-year-old son Seth.

“For fun I spend time with my family,” she said.

Overall, Hammock likes to think of her school as a safe space for kids.

“For a lot of kids this is a safe haven,” she said “I like to supply them with stability.”

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