Being a part of this blog is a new step for me in the world of technology. While I love technology and work to use it often in my classroom, I struggle to find the time to fit everything into a busy schedule. That is why being a part of this group is wonderful! I have the opportunity to learn from my colleagues while sharing with all of you some of the tips, strategies, and ideas I have gained from my nine years of teaching. My teaching career includes five years teaching fourth grade and two and a half years teaching sixth grade language arts. I am now at the end of my second year teaching third grade.
In the midst of all that teaching, I somehow found time to get my master's degree from UW-Madison in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (to be a principal and curriculum director sometime down the road). I have been married to my husband, Derek, for 10 years this summer, and we have a three year old daughter, Annabel. I love getting to wear so many different hats from mom, wife, teacher, friend, colleague, and more!
While there are many topics that I hold close to my heart in the teaching field, there are a few that are especially important to me at the moment.
- Inquiry- I believe in the power of students getting to choose their own topics of interest and exploring that area to build their comprehension. We have had four cycles of inquiry this year in my classroom where students produce a different product each time (differentiated to meet the learning styles of different students). Students researched from websites: PebbleGo and TrueFlix (purchased subscriptions by our district) to gain their information initially. From there, we used other on-line sources such as Searchasaurus, Encyclopedia Britannica, and even did some search engine digging. Students went to the library to look through books and also watched videos (depending on their topic). I love how my students are teaching me throughout the process and continually want to push their thinking. Kids have made slideshows, mobiles, puzzles, A-Z books, and more. If you are trying to get started in the world of inquiry, definitely check out Comprehension and Collaboration by Harvey and Daniels! This was my go-to guide when I started!
- Equity- Throughout the past two years, the idea of equity and culturally responsive practices has been a major thread as I live my own life and teach children. It is through trainings I have attended, conversations I have had, and life experiences that I am just beginning to understand all that is involved with being culturally responsive. In our last book club of the year for 3rd grade, social issues, I find myself having quite in-depth conversations with my students. I am always amazed with how open they are about their own home lives and what they experience with poverty, divorced families, joblessness, language barriers, cultural differences and more. My big encouragement for all is to not be afraid to talk with your kids. To those that live in a world that is less than 'ideal', having those conversations finally lets them share their struggles and helps their classmates understand more about who they are and the barriers that they may never have known existed. There is no time like the present to start talking about and embracing our differences!!
- Instill the love of learning in your kids!!! Be able to laugh and have fun. Get to know them all as individuals and remember that for many, you are the person that sees them most in any day. Be that positive person whom they can't wait to see each morning and the person they want to give a high five or hug to at the end of each day.