RICHLAND COUNTY, Ill. (WTHI) - Benjamin Franklin once said, "tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn."
That is exactly what our next Golden Apple winner does.
In Erin Hardy's second-grade classroom at Richland County Elementary School in Olney, Illinois there are students learning about writing, reading, and math by using Lego.
Innovative teaching methods that children will remember for a lifetime.
If you listen carefully, you'll hear the sound of fun. It's not playtime - it's learning time with Lego. Hardy is what's called a "Lego Education Master Educator."
Since 2011, she has been using Lego bricks specifically geared toward education to help kids learn, hands-on.
"We build every time we write. We get to build what we're getting ready to write. The kids love it. The kids basically have their writing piece right in front of them. They write down what they built. It makes writing a lot more exciting and kids are all engaged when we're going that," Hardy told us.
This is her 16th year of teaching. She's spent most of those 16 years in Richland County.
She told us the most important factor in a classroom is being 'relationship-centered.'
Her classroom is called "The Galaxy." The kids learn to live by the quote "I am one star. Together we are a galaxy."
"We want everyone to be their best self and then when we come together we can be something really extraordinary that shines really brightly," Hardy said.
Hardy knows Olney, Illinois is a small community, but she has big dreams for her students. Parents say she helps kids find their voice...find their passion.
"Believe is my favorite word. I feel like it's really important to believe in yourself and I really want my kids to believe in themselves...there's a lot of ways you can make a difference and it's important to be looking for those ways that you can make a difference," Hardy said.
She has certainly found her way to make a difference. If there is a golden star in that galaxy of ours, it's got this teacher's name written all over it.
On Wednesday, the next Golden Apple Award takes us back to Terre Haute.