On June 11, 2012, Evan-Moor lost co-founder and innovative educator Joy Evans.
Joy and her teaching partner, Jo Ellen Moore, founded Evan-Moor Educational Publishers in 1979—with Joy’s brother, Bill Evans—after creating effective classroom materials to help their struggling students learn core skills.
Joy was excited to launch a blog to share and exchange teaching ideas, so it seemed fitting to title our blog “The Joy of Teaching,” as both a tribute to Joy and to teachers who inspire learning.
Start with Art—Finding Key Motivators
When Joy and I first met she began by showing me the first Evan-Moor book, entitled Art Moves the Basics Along. Joy and Jo Ellen created the delightful handwritten and hand-illustrated book in the 1970s to motivate struggling students in their classroom. Beginning with that very first book and in the more than 500 titles that followed, Joy sought out ways to motivate children to learn, tapping into imagination and creativity wherever possible.
Through her many years of teaching in the U.S. and overseas, Joy found that incorporating basic drawing techniques into lessons helped to engage young children. “Motivation is a key factor in learning,” said Joy. “And art is a good place to start because it makes the lesson come alive.”
Whether the motivator is a simple drawing or a hands-on project, Joy knew that art effectively inspires children to learn. Drawing appeals to a wide variety of students—from English language learners to advanced students. Beyond engaging students, Joy and Jo Ellen noted other positive effects of incorporating art into daily core lessons:
- Greater small-muscle control
- Improved ability to follow auditory and visual directions
- Expanded powers of observation
- A better self-image
The basic goal—finding key motivators to inspire learning—has been at the core of every Evan-Moor resource.
Joy embraced the changing classroom but always kept her focus clear: inspire students to learn through creative and engaging lessons.
As a forward thinker, Joy had mapped out the next two or three years. Yet she recognized that “things change so quickly, especially in education.” Joy always kept a close eye on what worked in the classroom, and was ready to reallocate resources to fit educational needs.
Above all, Joy was eager to learn from fellow educators. In this spirit of collaboration, we invite you to share your thoughts on specific motivators to help children learn.
Theresa Wooler has more than 10 years’ experience in K–6 classrooms as a parent volunteer, has taught high school English, and is currently involved in education through Evan-Moor’s marketing communications team.