Cooke's sixth-grade classroom is filled with lessons and memorabilia from the "Harry Potter" series.
Abbey Cooke said building relationships with students is the most important part of teaching. Cooke has the same sixth-grade class at Belle Terre Elementary School all day, every day, which allows her to do just that.
“I know it factors into being a better teacher — the fact that I can build relationships with the kids,” Cooke said. “You get to know them — every single quirk and everything that makes them unique — because you don’t have them where you have to just shove everything in 90 minutes and get them out of there. You get to see them all on the downtime too.”
For her eighth year teaching at Belle Terre, Cooke has transformed her classroom into Hogwarts from the “Harry Potter” series.
“I’m obsessed with Harry Potter in general, and I had to move classrooms for the first time in seven years, so I decided to take the opportunity then to build Hogwarts,” she said.
Students are sorted into “houses” where they can earn points for their respective house by answering questions correctly or lose points if there is a behavior issue.
“They encourage each other to earn points, and they do keep each other in check with whether or not they put the points in the buckets,” she said. “It’s good for keeping each other accountable, so I’m not just the mean dictator all day. They are accountable for each other.”
Cooke said while her classroom is fun, there’s no shortage of learning. In addition, she’s the sponsor of the BTES creative writing club.
She is also the district coordinator of the Josh Crews Writing Project, which was established in 2011 as part of Flagler County Education Foundation in memory of Flagler Palm Coast High School graduate, Josh Crews, who was a prolific writer and reader.