Middle School

Justin Saichek

On a new Teachers’ Lounge, seventh grade language arts teacher Justin Saichek AKA The Last Wordbender. Justin is a rapper and spoken word artist who teaches at West Middle School in Rockford.

Justin talked to host Peter Medlin about how he got his rap name, teaching in the same building he went to middle school, coronavirus learning challenges, freestyle rap battles, and they dove deep on Justin’s hip hop career and music influences.

The number of school districts giving laptops and tablets to students has grown exponentially in just a few years. And the new technology is already reshaping the way work is done in the classroom. 

That's already happened at Pecatonica Middle School. The school, in a village of 2,000, went "one-to-one" five years ago. That means one device -- in this case, a Chromebook laptop -- per student.

As students sit down at their science class, they flip open their laptops. They've got a quiz tomorrow, so they immediately go to their Quizlet program to review.