M.S. Education, University of Cincinnati
Important skills I want to teach my students
As a first grade teacher, I want my students to be confident, well-rounded individuals who respect themselves, others, and the world around them. I want them to develop independence and responsibility. Most importantly, I want to instill a love of learning. I want them to be curious about the world around them, to be problem solvers who welcome challenges, and see learning as fun.
Teaching methods that reach these goals
I use a child-centered approach to learning that allows every child to have a voice in the classroom and take ownership of what is being taught. We learn through thematic units and hands-on activities that are engaging and directed to each child’s interests. I provide opportunities for every child to feel successful and we celebrate the accomplishments of others. I also feel it’s important for my students to learn to work collaboratively. As a result, students are often asked to work with a partner or small group.
My favorite projects
There are so many projects in first grade that hold a special place in my heart, but if I had to choose a favorite, I would have to say our Nutrition Unit. In this unit, we explore the five food groups and learn about healthy eating. Over the course of the school year, we devote one month to studying each food group. During that month, we learn about the foods in the group and discuss why these foods are important for our bodies. We have a tasting day when parents bring in foods from that group and the students are encouraged to sample new foods. We also brainstorm questions we might have about the particular food group and video chat with Whole Foods, where we ask our questions and learn more interesting food group facts. We also encourage the students to transfer their knowledge of the food groups, nutrition, and balanced meals to the choices they make in their lunches. It’s a very exciting moment when we find a first grader who has a lunch that includes all five food groups! My favorite part of the unit is our culminating activity – our field trip to Whole Foods and family picnic. After video chatting with our friends at Whole Foods throughout the school year, students are very excited to meet them in person and explore the food groups at the store. Our trip begins with a tour, complete with lots of yummy samples. Then, students have the opportunity to purchase items for our family picnic. After shopping, we return to Lotspeich and enjoy healthy, balanced lunches with family and friends. Parents always comment on how wonderful this experience is for not only their children, but for themselves. It is a wonderful learning experience and a great way to conclude our study of nutrition.
What I like best about teaching at Seven Hills
Seven Hills is an amazing place to teach. The first thing that comes to mind when I think about what I like best about teaching at Seven Hills are the wonderful teachers I work with. At Lotspeich, our faculty has a very strong sense of camaraderie. The faculty supports one another and works together as a team to help our students be successful. Another aspect I like is the amount of input I have in the curriculum. As a teacher, my opinion and expertise is valued. As a result, I am able to help build the curriculum our students are taught.