GRADE OR SUBJECT TAUGHT: Special Education grades 3-5
WHAT IS THE MOST INNOVATIVE IDEA THAT YOU’VE TRIED IN THE CLASSROOM: For the past couple of years, I have taken teaching outdoors. Our school has a beautiful outdoor learning lab. I have been able to incorporate the school garden into many subject areas and standards. For the ELA block we wrote to seed garden companies letting them know we were starting a seed exchange library at the school. Many companies sent seeds back to the students and in return the students wrote thank you notes. The students were thrilled to receive packages in the mail. In math, we used the garden beds to determine area and perimeter. We also measured plants as they grew and would see how much everything weighed. In science we would use the weather instruments located in the garden to determine the meteorological conditions. Soon I plan on incorporating technology in the outdoor learning by creating QR codes, so the students can research about each plant. I feel that the students learned responsibility and took ownership in the hard work they put in by growing and tending to the plants in the garden. To me this is an ultimate way of teaching life skills and applying curriculum standards to real life situations.
WHO IS THE BEST TEACHER YOU EVER HAD AND WHAT MADE HIM OR HER SPECIAL:
The best teacher I ever had was my second-grade teacher, Mrs. Mize. She was one of those teachers that set high expectations for all her kids. She was very structured and organized but still made learning fun. She held her students accountable for their actions and taught us manners. I still remember her sitting with the class at lunch just because she wanted to. We would all beg to sit next to her. I now invite students to come join me for lunch.
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO TO PREPARE THEIR CHILDREN FOR LEARNING: Students today have so many afterschool activities that parents often find it difficult to get it all in. My advice would be to slow down and invest time with your child. This could be from sitting down as a family for dinner with no distractions or finding time to talk with your child about what is going on in their life and school. I feel that students who have parents that are vested in knowing about their academics then perform better. This teaches students that education is important, teachers are to be respected, and that they themselves are valuable. This will then pour over into the student performance.
WHAT ARE THE OBSTACLES TO GETTING ALL KIDS TO ACHIEVE: I feel that one of the obstacles to getting students to learn is that if they do not get something right away or fast enough, they just quit and give up on a concept. Every student should be taught that some concepts may not come easy. Everyone does not learn at the same time or in the same manner, it is hard work and perseverance that will get them through. Students need to learn that we were all made different and that is what makes each of us beautiful. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison