Education - Teachers First

Feb 14, 2008 6:52 AM by Andy Koen

History teacher makes movies and makes lessons stick

When you step into Tim Brotherton's classroom at Pleasant View Middle School in Pueblo County, one of the first things you see is a large butcher paper scene taped to the wall. It seems out of place for a history class, but to "Mr. Bro." as his students like to call him, it's actually a movie set and, more importantly, a teaching tool.

His students use the set to create several short movies each year about events in history. Brotherton says the movies aren't supposed to be dramatic, but fun.

"It's got to be goofy and it's got to be funny," he said.

When eighth grader Madison Tortessi first entered Brotherton's class last year, she thought his unusual approach to teaching seemed odd. Later she came to love it and learn from it. She and friend Kellyn Olson can easily recite the preamble to the Constitution by heart thanks to weeks of singing it in Brotherton's class.

"When you're bored and reading a book your like 'I don't want to do this. This is boring,'" Tortessi said. "But when you're actually doing something, you learn because you like it."

This is Brotherton's 28th year of teaching at Pleasant View, and in that time he's created hundreds of short movies. In fact, seven of his fellow teachers were once his students making their own silly movies in his class.

"The clothes are bigger than when I first started, the hair is a little thinner, but I've loved it every single day," Brotherton said.

He is retiring this year and although he's stepping out of the classroom, he not going away for good. Brotherton will begin a new job next year with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a group he has sponsored for years at Pleasant View.

"The cool thing is, I get to do the second thing the second thing I love to do," Brotherton said. "How many people don't even get to do one thing, I get to do two things."

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