M.Ed. Elementary Education, Xavier University
M.Ed. Gifted Education, Northern Kentucky University
What is/are most important skill(s) you want to teach your students?
In my classroom, I emphasize a social curriculum using the Responsive Classroom approach. The guiding principles for this program include:
- The social and emotional curriculum is as important as the academic one.
- How children learn is as important as what they learn.
- Great cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
- A set of social-emotional skills (cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control) is needed for academic and social success.
- Knowing the children we teach–individually, culturally, and developmentally–is as important as knowing the content we teach.
- Knowing the families of the children we teach is as important as knowing the children.
- How the adults in the school community work together is as important as our individual abilities.
What teaching methods do you use to help accomplish those objectives?
Beyond the socialization that occurs in the classroom, I teach my children to value the communication skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. We spend time reading and writing and then sharing our work and listening to our classmates. I frequently say two phrases in my classroom. The first is “I notice…” Using this phrase tells the children that I am interested and invested in them as both students and people. My second signature phrase is
“Use your resources.” In today’s world, resources include everything from the book a child is reading to knowledge available through technology. Our children are blessed with bountiful resources.
What is your favorite project or activity of the year?
A favorite activity in my classroom is our Poetry Presentations. Given that choice is a powerful motivator, the children select a poem to memorize and recite to a variety of audiences—our little buddies, peers and parents. We also add several Readers’ Theater style poems in which a small group shares a poem complete with props. This cooperative approach encourages working together toward a single goal.
What do you like best about teaching at Seven Hills?
My favorite part of teaching at Seven Hills is the school community—my Doherty colleagues, the children I teach, and their families, connecting with the common goal of creating life-long learners!