T-shirts2Teach was born out of two things: necessity and innovation. You see, my husband and I have each been teaching for over 19 years. He is a football coach, as well as a PE and health teacher. I am an elementary school teacher and, throughout my 19 years, I have taught all subjects and grades first through fifth.
I was recently asked about why my husband and I decided to start the t-shirt company Tshirts2Teach. There are several reasons. My love of t-shirts that deliver messages was a huge plus, but more importantly, there was also the desire to find a way that could help fund the creation, development, and continuation of my curriculum, Math2Heart.
Over the last year and a half, I have been creating and implementing this curriculum, which integrates math into art and technology via hands-on, real-life, engaging projects. This performance based program intertwines creativity, invention, technological skills, innovation, and problem-solving into a way of teaching math standards using all forms of art, including drawing, painting, pottery, acting, singing, visual arts, graphic design, videography, photography,…and so much more. This makes learning more effective and fun, while allowing for real-world application.
I am lucky enough to teach at a school, and in a school system, which has allowed me to pilot my curriculum during these first years of development, with second, third, and fourth graders. This opportunity has enabled me to observe the process and to determine if it is possible for students to grasp math concepts two, or even three years, beyond their current grade level. And it is! Second graders participating in Math2Heart have already mastered the understanding of fourth grade math standards.
Observing the implementation of the curriculum has made it abundantly clear that touching, feeling, manipulating, building, and the practical application of art together with math can provide a variety of ways for children to learn and master concepts. In doing this, an avenue has been created which allows children to learn kinesthetically, auditorily, visually, and by virtually countless other ways. In addition to all of the standards mastery, Math2Heart also accomplishes bringing The Arts back into schools, which is no mean feat!
One of the goals for this amazing and innovative program is to have our program, Math2Heart, spread throughout our country (and possibly beyond). Not necessarily art teachers, but regular education teachers trained in math, reading, science, social studies, and language grade level standards will be the ones putting this curriculum into action. These teachers will then be trained how to teach multiple standards across multiple subject areas in ways that require their students to think, create, develop, evaluate, and synthesize learning. This curriculum allows teachers to interweave those standards into performance based projects that are effective, while at the same time enlightening.
I firmly believe in this program and its ability to change the way students learn. I intend it to be an enrichment class, like PE and Music, but an enrichment class that provides students with an additional 1-2 hours of math instruction per week. My students absolutely love it! I love it! Classroom teachers love the fact that the standards they are working so hard to get kids to master in the classroom are being supported during enrichment time while still allowing children to enjoy extracurricular activities.
My family is currently providing the materials for the program, and due to the near-constant creative development, the program is expanding at a rapid rate which places a financial strain on this very development. For example, this past school year, our project-based learning lead to more life-sized projects, like a classroom completely turned into an ocean habitat. T-shirts2Teach is an avenue that will help us continue to build, develop and improve the Math2Heart program and curriculum that will challenge and enhance student learning. A portion of the proceeds made from each T-shirts2Teach purchase will help pay for the supplies, continued development, and hopefully the expansion of our amazing curriculum, Math2Heart.
Thank you for taking the time to read our story. We hope that you will explore the website and find something to help you reach more kids!
Be sure to check back for newly released designs, as many are currently in active development with many more on the vision board!