Sue Atkins' PictureSue Atkins' Home Page

About Me

Welcome to my Home Page.

My name is Sue Atkins and I am a teacher at Spring Hill Elementary School. I teach 5th grade students.


About Where I Live

Spring Hill is situated about 45 miles north of Tampa. The existence of a spring is debatable, but the area is hilly. Locals claim fame by being right next door to Weeki Wachee, the home of mermaids and popular tourist attraction on the Nature Coast. It gets very hot and humid in Spring Hill, Florida. The temperature often reaches 98 degrees.

About My Classroom

My program, Construction Junction, is designed to help At-Risk students be successful at school and with life in the future. I am very interested in meeting with other teachers who work with or are interested in this type of student. E-Mail me:

Great WWW Educational Sites

Miami Museum of Science

Space Team Online 

Disney Presents...Bill Nye the Science Guy
PBS Kids: Welcome!

Apple - K-12 Education - Teaching and Learning Resources Home Page

Welcome to Goosebumps on the Web!

Kid Recipes



Other Stuff

Search engines are a great way to find useful information on the Web. One of my favorites is Education World.

Click on the image below to visit the Education World site.

Education World

Back to the Top

Construction Junction Logo
Different Pathways
  • A place where different paths are offered to get to your learning destination. . .
  • A place where students with different strengths and weaknesses come together and learn because they need to. . .
  • A place where simulations of the real world present a need to know information to answer questions and solve problems that arise. . .
  • A place where students learn from each other. . .
  • A place where low esteem is bolstered as helpers realize they do have important skills to offer to the group. . .
  • A place where learning is not for the test on Friday, but for Life. . .
  • Menu

Student Population

1. You might find students who were not successful in our regular Language Arts or Mathematics programs.

2. You might also find students who used to be unmotivated to do "regular" schoolwork because


Parent Involvement

Parent involvement in the program will be vital.

Besides an open door policy to visit the classroom anytime after checking in with the office, families will also be invited to a Living Portfolio Night every nine weeks. This evening provides parents with an in-depth presentation by the students. Parents who attend the Living Portfolio programs will be able to see the growth and learning over the course of the year.

Also, parents, along with other members of the community will be invited to speak to the class in our once-a-week "What's it Like Out There?" seminars.


Beliefs about Education and Learning at Construction Junction


Student Activities
Students will find themselves



The program at Construction Junction will rely heavily on students learning skills needed to be able to perform a task in simulations and investigations of the world of work.

Possible simulations might include


Car Talk Radio
Radio Santa Claus

Radio Santa Claus
Planet Earth You Make A Difference

The President's Cabinet

Today in History: July 1
Learning Page of the Library of Congress: Feature Presentation on Pioneering Women in American Memory
Library of Congress Learning Page: Using Oral History: Lesson Overview
White House for Kids

Construction Industry

Building & Construction Links for Kids - B4UBUILD.COM
LEGO Worlds

Food Industry

Tourism and Ecotourism

Eco Tourism International Home Page
ELAN: feb97 : Online International Ecotourism Conference (fwd)

Tourism Studies
Planet Earth Main Page
Florida Kids Page

Health Careers

The Heart: An Online Exploration


Managing a Small Business



Apple - K-12 Education - Teaching and Learning Resources


Index of /multimed/sounds/birds

Ducks Unlimited Canada - Education & Ecotourism
Planet Earth Treasure Hunt
Landmark Project
Florida Kids Page
NetVet Veterinary Resources / Electronic Zoo Animal Species
The "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society
Education Programs at the Rachel Carson Homestead


Graphic Design

Computers and Technology




Examples of Simulations and Possible Tasks

Radio Station

Language Arts

  • Sell, write and produce commercials
  • Read copy (Speaking skills, fluency, expression)
  • Read and listen critically to ads
  • Write and act out a talk show/interview, or read a story with sound effects
  • Interview workers at a radio station


  • Schedule programming


  • learn about electricity, sound,magnetism, transistors, radio waves, microwave dishes

Social Studies:

  • study freedom of speech and press and how our country came to think that those were important freedoms to protect and respect
  • research the history of radio and communication
  • develop a time line of inventions and improvements in radio



  • draw symmetrical designs
  • measure to the nearest inch, centimeter
  • layout a perfect rectangle for the foundation
  • determine cubic ft. of concrete needed to pour a foundation
  • angles for moldings, roof joists
  • determine square feet of tile to tile the kitchen floor
  • tessellate a tiling pattern
  • determine square yards of carpet needed
  • learn calendar skills as the head contractor coordinates all subcontractors
  • blueprints

Social Studies

  • research history of dwellings throughout different eras of history
  • use, conservation, and depletion of natural resources
  • financing and mortgage, interest and principal
  • sources for building materials


  • learn about electricity, parallel and series circuits, fuses
  • heating, cooling, insulation, energy conservation


  • Community Construction Kit, (houses throughout history are designed, printed, and assembled

  • The President's Cabinet

    Applied Technology/Social Studies/Math

    • Prepare for a visit of a foreign dignitary--the queen of England, history of relations with the dignitary's country, Colonization, Revolutionary War
    • Plan for a Presidential tour to 3 countries, learn the social/political issues and plan strategies to bring about change during the visits--where should the President go or not go? Should he honor an event or a person, or show concern or apology? Should he work to ease tensions over issues which could lead to a military confrontation?
    • Plan itinerary, flights, cities, sightseeing press releases

    Social Studies

    • Learn a custom of the other country, (greetings, simple phrases in the target language, mealtime customs, signs of respect) and teach them in some way to your group
    • Current events, keep a scrapbook of the president in the news
    • Getting elected, the 2 party system, and electoral college

    Language Arts

    • Speech writing and giving
    • Biographies of the presidents
    • Summarize current events to send E-mail to the President while on tour
    • Prepare press releases, schedule a press conference, give speech and answer questions from the press. Class members will be the reporters.



    • Reclamation project
    • Environmental issues with possible concurrent themes of forestry, wildlife management, food chains, nitrogen fixing bacteria in legumes, interdependence, botany/zoology
    • wise decisions in use of natural resources
    • Solar powered seismographs
    • Solar power
    • Field trip to Southwest Florida Water Management District/Aripeka site to compare habitats


    • Process: computing daily tonnage that is produced, and sold,
    • Measuring specific gravity of the product, grams, decimals, using charts, calculators,
    • Field trip to see process, and to the lab to see how the rock is gradated and tested for Specific gravity

    Social Studies

    • Uses for the resource as a product consumers need and want

    Applied Technology

    • Job applications
    • On-the-job rules and disciplines

    Language Arts

    • Letters to the environment
    • Poetry about sights, sounds, impressions
    • Using identification books as reference material in the field
    • Keeping journals of activities and observations


    Language Arts

    • Write a script to narrate the film " Garbage" from HITV library.
    • Write descriptions of plants and animals with specific details to use in identification.
    • Write nature trail descriptions specific enough for identification.
    • Listen to a speaker from Waste Management.

    • Community awareness, persuasive writing


    • Gather data on waste generated by our class for a week (classroom trash, water, lunchroom trash) Estimate amount for the year.
    • Wildlife, their needs, habitat, habits and identification
    • Manage wildlife at school or other sites (like Florida Rock). At school we monitor the bluebird trail and manage the habitat for birds and butterflies. At Florida Rock, we currently manage an area for the American Kestrel. We hope to expand to help with reclamation of a leased area of the Withlacoochee State Forest.

    Applied Technology

    • Develop a plan to improve environment in some way.

    • Determine all stakeholders of the problem and their effect on the outcome of a solution.


    Business Partnerships

    The community, the internet, and many other resources will be our teaching materials. Students learn skills using materials, techniques, and hands-on activities not yet written or invented for elementary students. Partnerships will be developed with area businesses to enhance our learning opportunities.



    Florida Rock Industries

    The partnership with Florida Rock provides a connection with a local industry for first hand knowledge of careers from laborers through geologists.
    Florida Rock also has definite requirements for employment including having a safe driving record, passing a drug test and physical, and demanding strict adherence to safety rules. Continued employment is jeopardized by insubordination, absenteeism, tardiness, fighting, and not being able to work with members of your crew.

    Project H.E.L.P.                   

    Helping the                   

    Earth and                   

    Loving nature with                   

    Protective kids

    Brooksville Quarry, Long Pond view of Production Area

    Project Help has been an evolving project. It's main goal was to develop students' lifelong practices in the area of conservation, preservation, and restoration of our habitat. Activities and projects occur at school and on field trips. We developed a partnership with Florida Rock Industries, Brooksville Quarry.
    The Wildlife Habitat team there had worked to have the quarry become a Certified Wildlife Habitat through a program with the Wildlife Habitat Council. The materials from the Wildlife Habitat Council have been very helpful.  We have used their FAQ sheets on managing land for bluebirds, quail, Eastern rabbit American kestrel, building brush piles, and providing for reptiles and amphibians.  Their newest booklet on managing your own land is packed with ideas and pictures!

    Our Fourth Year

    The Environmental team works with the students on site on various topics such as conservation of resources, mining, land reclamation, species identification, and wildlife management. They also come to school to do presentations and help with habitat enhancement.

    In 1998, we plan to return to Florida Rock Industries, the Brooksville Quarry for the 4th year. The students will continue efforts begun in previous years to reclaim an area and manage it for the American Kestrel. In this key wildlife management area, we will maintain bluebird boxes, a small pond, plantings of  legumes and grains which workers disk to enrich the soil,  a brush pile and a meadow of native grasses and wildflowers.

    Linda Vagts Discusses Water Recycling Pond One important aspect of our work at the quarry is learning about water: the importance of wetlands and the wise use of water resources. The settling ponds and recycling ponds are favorite sites for observation of different species of water birds, alligators, turtles, insects, and fish. Fickett's Rookery used by many water birds

    11th Annual Commissioner's Business Recognition Award

    In March, 1998, Florida Rock Industries, the Brooksville Quarry received one of two awards given to corporations in  Hernando County from the State Department of Education for their role in supporting this partnership.

    Here are a few of the questions or thought prompts we try to answer when we are at Florida Rock:


    Student Assessment
    Students are evaluated based on the job they do in the simulations. Finished products are judged much the same way work is judged in the workplace.

    Determination of Mastery of Sunshine State Benchmarks is based on performance on the activities. Rubrics are developed with the help of the workers that give points to different required aspects of the project.

    Examples of Assessment
    A design for a room layout might be evaluated for keeping to scale (math, science, and social studies), neatness of labels (legibility on Florida Writes), meeting the needs of the customer (following directions, Applied Technology).

    A speech written by a Presidential speech writer might be evaluated for persuasive points, sticking to the topic, a good hook, maintaining interest, based on fact with supportive proof from research, etc. (Florida Writes, Applied Technology).

    An environmentalist group working to change public attitudes on a subject might be evaluated on the media blitz, commercials, newspaper releases (Florida Writes, Applied Technology)

    Record Keeping:
    Records will be kept on Easy Grade Pro


    Program Evaluation

    The goals of this program speak to meeting the needs of a special group of students by motivating them to learn, and by providing every opportunity to help them learn.

    Motivation and Behavior

    The first major goal of the program is to improve self-motivation and self-discipline skills.

    Attitude surveys at the beginning and end of each year will be used to evaluate changes toward being self/motivated to learn and work toward personal goals. We hope to have a positive effect on decreasing disruptive behavior.

    Behavioral observations will be done in the classroom, following the clinical Educator Model, at a minimum of 4 week intervals throughout the year. These observations will generate quantitative data in regards to off-task behaviors .

    An Increase positive disciplines and decrease in negative disciplines will also be an indicator of successful attainment of this goal.

    Skills Attainment

    The other major goal of the program is to provide the opportunities for the student to learn academic skills as identified in the Florida benchmarks.

    The records of skill attainment in Easy Grade Pro provide an individual record for each student of how and when each skill was mastered.

    Academic pre- and post testing in reading and math and daily probes offer a measure of mastery of the curriculum being taught.

    Formal Testing Measures already in place for all students including Florida Writes, FCAT Reading and Math, and the local standardized tests used at the time show progress as compared to other students in the district, state, and nation.