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Lights and Music!

One playlist starts with Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out” and goes on through Gorillaz’ “On Melancholy Hill” and Chris Stapleton’s “Broken Halos.”

 

Another starts with Morgan Wallen’s “98 Braves” and includes Arctic Monkey’s “Snap Out of It” and Train’s “Drops Of Jupiter,” among others.

 

No, we’re not at a club or a backyard party. We’re inside Jan Langston’s classroom at Hartselle High School, 30 miles southwest of Huntsville, Alabama.


Jan Langston believes in setting a relaxed mood when it’s time for students to build with the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System.

 

“What I do is I turn the lights down low and we have music playing and I have a little book that has step by step what I want them to do. So they're very relaxed, they love showing off their work,” said Langston on a recent episode of the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System podcast.

 

“After my first year, I was very structured and very, you know—I'm one that has to do it just right,” she adds. “And then I was realizing that I felt like I was stressing the kids out more than it was helping them to relax and understand things. And so we just came up with it together and it really works … We just chill out and have a good time and they learn what they need to.”

 

(To see exactly how relaxed it looks, go to the 9:15 mark in the video.)

 

Jan Langston started her career in nursing school and worked as a nurse for 24 years. Next, she earned her master’s degree in nursing education. She taught briefly at a community college (two years) and then switched to Hartselle High School’s Medical Academy. The Medical Academy, which regularly attracts 200 of the school’s 1,000 students, is one of 10 different academies that students choose from. There are eight classes in the academy and students must pass at least four classes to earn a special honor cord at graduation. 

 

Langston teaches Orientation to Medicine and Human Body Structure and Functions. It’s in the latter course that incorporates the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System, which she found while attending a summer conference for career-tech educators. She ran the idea or purchasing the system past her superintendent, who was very supportive. Today, Langston teaches with 32 different MANIKEN® models.


Langston says she uses the system as a “review” of what students have already learned after teaching, for instance, the muscular system. “It gives them the chance to ask questions while they're putting the muscles on,” she says. “You know, like the insertion of a muscle, the origin of the muscle, how the muscles move, you know, just different things like that.”

 

The music and lighting, she adds, allows students to control something about their learning. As a result, “they’re going to be more apt to relax and put forth a little more effort … and I think they really like that.”

Langston says when the music is on and lights are low that the students interact with other, help each other. “They let it be a time where they can just talk and enjoy what they're doing because we require so much of kids that they need a little bit of downtime every once in a while, you know, and I think it helps them when they're sculpting with the clay, they just are really into it and enjoy it.”

 

Here at Anatomy in Clay® Learning System, of course, we support all the creative and hard-working teachers out there who are constantly finding new ways to reach students.

 

But we have our own suggested playlist: “Hips Don’t Lie” (Shakira); “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (The Beatles); “Legs” (ZZ Top); “Groove Is In The Heart” (Dee-Lite); “These Arms Of Mine” (Otis Redding).

 

And so on.

 

(We’re here to help.)

 

Thanks for all you do, Jan Langston, and thanks for passing along this inspiring idea.

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