Why do teachers have penguin feet at Silverthorne El?

Today we are In The Classroom at Silverthorne Elementary, where students are dreaming up their alter egos with first-grade teacher Brooke Dames.

“The kids did this on my picture,” she says, showing me a cut-out photo of herself pasted to pink paper, where she is sprouting hand-drawn animal limbs with labels scrawled in pencil. “Wolf ears so I can hear them better. Penguin feet because it’s so cold. Eagle wings so I can fly.”

Those wolf ears and penguin feet have a purpose. It’s a six-week course on animal adaptation.

“We’re learning all about different classifications of animals, and then we talk about adaptations,” she says. “Why reptiles lay eggs, why the kangaroo has a pouch, all that, and so it’s a really fun unit for the kids. They get super into it.”

You might recognize Mrs. Dames’s other alter ego: Before getting her degree from Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge, she worked at Mountain Lyon Café just down the highway from Silverthorne El.

“I went to high school here (in Summit), left for a while and came back,” she says. “I was in the service industry, and I had my son, and I decided to go back to school — switch it up and start teaching.”

You could say adaptation is in her blood. It is in every teacher’s blood.

“There isn’t a teacher in the building that I don’t feel that I can go to with questions or for support,” she says.

But the real reason she traded tips for teaching?

“The kids,” she says. “The kids definitely make it.”

Thanks again for going In The Classroom, proudly presented by Heavenly Times Hot Tubs and Billiards and the Summit Foundation Bright Futures Fund.