Students and parents would describe teacher Kent Chapman as unorthodox and energetic, while at the same time being highly focused and thoroughly effective at both motivating and challenging his students.

Kent’s school mission isn’t simply to teach, but to educate his kids in a way that engages them. He is known for changing even reluctant students into students who are eager to come to school each day. Kids love his enthusiasm and sense of humor, and parents love the fact that he can get students working, and achieving, on a daily basis.

Kent has worked with a wide range of students in his two decades as a teacher in both Maine and California. He has taught in both inner-city schools and in highly affluent communities. He’s taught classes as large as 42 students, managing the classroom with his usual energy and effectiveness. Whether he’s in a small portable classroom with heating problems, or a large state-of-the-art classroom with the latest in educational technology, Kent manages to make schoolwork exciting for his students.

What he has learned from teaching 4th through 6th grades in six different districts and two different states is this:

Kids are kids, no matter where they come from, and no matter where they live.  ALL kids can learn, and all kids deserve an education that will let them acquire the skills and knowledge that they’ll need in this new technological age. Kids must be taught where they are, not just emotionally and developmentally, but also where they are in terms of their interests and needs. Kent believes that it’s our job as teachers to figure how what makes each kid “tick”–that is the key to engaging them, and helping them make the most of their educational opportunities.

Often described as “the MacGyver of Education”, Kent specializes in teaching in the moment. He is adept at creating complex, engaging, and wildly creative lessons on the fly. His classroom creations include Charlotte the Anti-Gravity Cow, Farmer Brown and his issues with math, and the highly anticipated all-year learning simulation, “The Land of NALD”. This simulation is one which he created and fully integrated into his curriculum starting in 2000.

NALD is played by the whole class, which divides into four all-year “Teams”–Allendar, Bellagoth, Grinnell, and Quizzert. Schoolwork ties into the game, and lessons are integrated into role-play tasks all year.

To be successful in NALD, students must use lateral thinking while integrating knowledge and skills acquired and/or improved upon in class. Students even use schoolwork and homework tasks, which are tied into the game, as they attempt to “Find the Crown – Escape the Maze – Become A Hero!” At the end of the year, one team eventually emerges, victorious, as the winners of the Class Cup. NALD forges teamwork, collaboration, and divergent thinking. It is also a way to make the standard curriculum fun.

NALD is such a successful game that, each year since its start, Kent’s former students have asked him in person, via email, or through Facebook whether they can “help” their Team, either by sharing their old Spell books or completing tasks alongside current students to help them gain extra points.

School doesn’t need to be drudgery. Kent knows that “School” and “Fun” are not mutually exclusive; in fact, in order to effectively reach all students, “School” and “Fun” should be intertwined.

Kent’s professional achievements include:

  • University of California at Davis Science EXCITES Program fellow, 1993-1995
  • Presenter, “Science ROCKS” (geology): California Science Education Conference, Palm Springs – 1994
  • Disney HAND Creative Teacher of the Year nominee – 1998 and 2003
  • MSAD 71 School District Teacher of the Year – 2006
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges Accreditation Team Member: Livermore Falls Schools – 2007
  • National Writing Project fellow – 2007
  • Creator, “Captain Adjective” Workshop: “Superheroes, Super Fun – Integrating Writing Throughout the Curriculum” – 2007
  • Captain Adjective Workshop presenter: Innovative Ideas conference, Belfast, Maine – 2007
  • Guest Lecturer: Master’s Class in Education, Endicott College: “Integrating Creativity into the Classroom” – Spring 2008
  • NBC “Today Show” Semi-finalist (top 8): “Most Extraordinary Teacher” Contest – Spring 2010
  • Captain Adjective Workshop presenter: Biddeford School District and Bath School District, Maine – 2011
  • Captain Adjective Workshop presenter: National Writing Project, Southern Maine Orientation at USM/Gorham – 2011

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