Jenny Martinez, converting from leopard to bearcat  

The AP psychology teacher is playing the role of the wicked witch and feeding her students poison apples on Friday, Aug. 21, the second day of school.

Or at least fake ones.

The innovative new teacher, who’s packed her bags for a challenge at the high school after 15 years at Lewis, is kicking off her 16th year with a bag of apples in the once white walled room 107, which is now covered in inspirational psychology quotes and a Dallas Cowboys flag.

Jenny Martinez decided to show her class of about thirty students how they can’t trust their senses. She stood in front of her third period class with a knowing smile as she asked for a student volunteer. Senior Tyler Vallejos raised his hand and confidently walked up to the front of the classroom where Martinez offered him a plastic baggie full of cut, peeled apple slices. The scent of apples waft from the plastic sandwich baggie. Vallejos picked a slice, popped it in his mouth, and his face changed.

The apple slice was not the sweet treat it appeared to be: it was a cold, hard potato.

An uncomfortable smile replaced his former confidence as he announced, “It’s a potato.”

And Martinez calmly agreed, “Yes, but your senses said it looked like an apple.”

This was Martinez, teaching with the originality and passion she was known for at Lewis Middle School. From throwing glue sticks to demonstrate how dendrites in the brain work to comparing a security guard to a famous psychologist, Martinez’s memorable lessons always ensure creativity and fun.

After years of experience in training the minds of students and a Bachelor’s degree in social and behavioral science, Martinez was ecstatic about teaching AP psychology.“I want a challenge and psychology is super exciting to me and easy to relate to the kids.” Martinez said.

The class, new in the registration book last spring, is designed to lead the students through the scientific, advanced placement study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals, involving various fields of psychology, such as growth and development, perception, emotion, and biological and social psychology. With typical enthusiasm, Martinez’s objective for the fast-paced AP class is for everyone to pass the AP test on May 2, 2016.

“I’m competitive. I want everyone to pass.” Martinez said.

The zealous teacher has also taken the helm of the advanced peer class after the departure of Jeanne Neely last year.

The bar is set high this year for the 33 students in Martinez’s advanced peer class. Martinez plans for advanced peer to focus on helping the younger kids in the district. She hopes for her class to become support group for children of all ages.

Martinez proudly states that her class is here to “…provide friendship for those that are lonely and direction for those that are misguided.”

Junior Averi Kerr, an advanced peer student, said that she hopes “…to become emotionally connected with everyone and help as many people as I can outside of class.”

Martinez went to Butte Junior College for an Associates degree in social sciences, then attended Chico State for her Bachelor’s degree in social and behavioral science. Martinez moved onto Fresno State for her teaching credential, and Cal Poly for a masters in curriculum instruction. After skipping from college to college, Martinez student taught for a kindergarten class as well as at Fresno High School for a year. She then moved to Lewis Middle School where she taught U.S. History for 15 years as well as Leadership off and on.

Martinez only has praise for the school year so far, “I love the students, I love the climate, the atmosphere, and the high energy.”

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