What do you do to engage your students? What makes your classroom unique?
I use music and movement to engage my students. My job is very unique in that I have a more flexible schedule than a classroom teacher. This allows me to collaborate with teachers and offer struggling students differentiated instruction in a smaller setting. Since I am in tune with what the kindergarten and first grade teachers are doing in their classrooms, I use the same language that they do. This repetition and consistency helps young students learn and transfer the skills that they need.
Why do you think it's important to teach the way you do?
It is important for a reading teacher to look at individual students. Many children need extra time to master early literacy skills and a smaller, targeted instructional setting is often all that is needed for students to be successful.
What do you feel is the most exciting thing about teaching?
The most exciting thing about teaching is the reaction of students when they are successful at reading something that had previously been difficult for them. Their enthusiasm is contagious and it makes my job a joy each day.
What singular lesson plan, activity, assignment or experiment do you return to year after year because of its "spark" factor with you and/or your students?
One of the most successful ideas that I have had that I continue to do each year, involves a fairy costume. Every Monday I dress up as the "Word Fairy" when I teach in the kindergarten classrooms. I wear a tiara and a puffy skirt and I carry a magic wand. Students know that when I am dressed this way that they will be learning a new sight word. They love to have a turn reading the new word, using it in a sentence, and listening to the magic sound that the wand makes. It is a simple idea, but they love it!
Tell us a little more about yourself.
I graduated from Glens Falls High School and received my Bachelors degree from Hobart William Smith College. I attended SUNY Plattsburgh for my Masters degree in Reading. Before teaching at Glens Falls, I taught second and fourth grade in New York City and I taught one year of preschool in Queensbury. After taking a break from teaching to raise my three children, I worked at Glens Falls Middle School as an 8th grade ELA teacher for 7 years. I have been an early literacy reading specialist at Jackson Heights for 5 years. I love teaching at Glens Falls and look forward to many more years!