Local teacher brings life to classroom with visual lesson plan

By WEEK Producer

April 18, 2012 Updated Apr 18, 2012 at 9:08 PM CDT

CHENOA, Ill. -- What Mallory Ploch usually gets ready for at Prairie Central Chenoa Elementary School, is guiding Kindergarten through 4th graders into an independent lifestyle.

Without the program, students throughout Livingston County wouldn't get the special attention they need.

"I've always wanted to be a teacher,” said Ploch, a special services teacher. “And as I got older, I realized how much I loved special ed and, I mean, I was just kind of born to do it."

Unlike other classes, Mrs. Ploch's curriculum isn't black and white.

“We don't just typically take a page out of a book,” she said. “We have to modify it in some way to make it visual."

Mrs. Ploch said pictures and technology, like iPads, bring life to her classroom and her students. That's where the $1,000 grant from HOI 19 and CEFCU comes into the picture.

"Well, I think just like any other kid, they deserve the right to have the upgraded technology and all the tools and tricks that can help them become more independent,” Ploch said. “I think an iPad really does help."

Dawn Conway, the Livingston County Special Education Executive Director, notes major growth in the students thanks to the teaching staff.

“Mrs. Ploch has been wonderful,” Conway said. “You can tell, as you interviewed her, that she loves what she does. She dedicates a great deal of her time before and after school hours and on weekends. These are classrooms that take a lot of dedication, a lot of hard work, and they're not for the weary by any means."