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HL native makes finals week unique

June 2, 2014

By Tara Mathews
Staff Writer

HOWARD LAKE, MN – Katie Pettit of Howard Lake, gave her students an option to get out of taking their final test for her class.

The Kimball High School math students were told if they gave up their cell phones for one week, they wouldn’t have to take the final test.

“I got the idea after my class watched a YouTube video called ‘look up’,” Pettit said.

The video discussed the importance of putting down cell phones, and experiencing life without them, she added.

While watching the video, Pettit noticed many students on the phone, which is what gave her the idea.

She asked the school principal about the idea before presenting it to the class, and he thought it was a great challenge, according to Pettit.

“The next day, I came to class and asked who would like to not have a math final,” Pettit commented. “Of course the whole class raised their hands.”

Hands began to drop when Pettit told the class that in order to skip the math final, they would have to turn their phones in to her on Monday, and she would keep them until Friday.

“Eventually, everyone besides two students jumped on board,” she said.

The week without phones was great, and the students used their time more efficiently than when they had their phones, according to Pettit.

“For many kids, their phone has turned into a distraction that they’re not aware of,” she stated. “It’s more of a habit for them to pull their phones out than anything.”

The experimental phone for finals trade was a success that Pettit would do again, she said.

“My students have become more self-disciplined, and they now know from experience that they can live without their phones,” Pettit commented.

Many other teachers at Kimball High School have noticed the benefit of the students giving up their phones, as well, she said.

Pettit graduated from Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School in 2009, and went to Winona State University, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in math, and a bachelor of teaching degree in mathematics secondary education.

She began teaching at the beginning of this school year.

“I give a lot of credit to my HLWW teachers that I had throughout my career,” Pettit said. “I appreciate all they have done; they shaped me into the teacher that I am.”

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