Today’s Apple for the Teacher Award recipient is James Sanderson from McGraw Central School nominated by Jeffrey Steinhoff.
James Sanderson has amazing teaching abilities, patience as well as the ability to instill the “I can do it” attitude to all students. His encouragement has resulted in the student creation of several ingenious projects including geodesic domes, solar cookers, wooden racecars and functional boats made with cardboard. He also creates with students amazing set designs for our school musicals. He teaches students valuable lifelong skills to create, build, repair and invent. He is currently working on a project with students involving space travel.
He is the type of teacher who not only gives of himself, but thinks “outside of the box” and teaches his students to do the same.
Nominator: Jeffrey Steinhoff—11th Grade Advanced Design Drawing & Production Student
Ithaca High School Graduate
Ithaca College Graduate—Bachelors of Music in Music Education
SUNY Oswego—Masters in Technology Education
Mr. Sanderson is married to Kim Sanderson (Cortland High School Music Teacher)
Father to a beautiful 4 year old girl and also a foster father to a very active 17 year old daughter
Proficient in playing several musical instruments
Spends spare time skateboarding on his personally created half pipe in his back yard
Teaching 7+ years at McGraw Central School
Several classes have made cardboard boats (made with cardboard and duct tape only) and also boats made with a very limited list of materials—the boats must be capable of holding a student and/or teacher– they hold racing competitions at the McGraw rec swimming area when the projects are completed.
Middle School Students in his Technology classes learn measuring, problem solving skills, project designing, beginning mechanical drawing, basic tool manipulation and beginning use of power tools (drills, saws, etc.)They have made several projects including racecars and birdhouses, although students enjoy the final product, they are learning basic measuring and drawing skills to map out projects, transformation of energy, technology associations, etc.
His Mechanical Drawing, CAD, and Design, Drawing and Production classes work on technical drawing skills, measurement, thermodynamics various types of technology, mechanical operations, etc.
He has an innate ability to create and problem- solve, patience and ability to pass knowledge on and build confidence in students has made him an amazing and highly respected teacher. He encourages and pushes students to do things themselves rather than doing things for them and instills knowledge that will last a lifetime to problem solve and create on their own.
Mr. Sanderson spends countless hours working on sets for our school Musical Productions—his creations are innovative and are often made out of scrap or recycled materials—but the final product is close to Broadway quality (other schools often ask to borrow pieces of our sets and/or props that he has created. He has been the brains behind flying in “Peter Pan”, a gigantic mailbox and dog house in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” and the decrepit home for the Orphans in “Oliver” just to name a few. He works with students encouraging them to work and problem solve as these designs take shape with the final product something to be proud of.
The newest project on the horizon for our Advanced Design, Drawing and Production Class has something to do with space/sound travel. I do not know a lot about this project because we have just begun discussing it, but it will require Mr. Sanderson to obtain some sort of “ham radio” license. Since the license is rather expensive we hope to be able to obtain funding through various fundraising opportunities that may include designing and creating an item in class to be sold. Mr. Sanderson has a way of creating learning in every aspect of his day.