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Recognizing Teacher Appreciation Week – Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Tracy CapozuccaPhoto of students and staff

KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
BIG CROSS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

 

What do you do to engage your students? What makes your classroom unique?

I build a relationship with every student. Getting to know the students helps to build trust between myself and every child. Building trust leads to promoting my students to each become risk takers in their education. I make lessons fun and exciting for them. I create an environment where children can be themselves and therefore, more learning takes place. I incorporate technology, as well as many hands-on activities throughout my lessons. The children enjoy it and it makes the learning really come to life.

Why do you think it's important to teach the way you do?

It all starts in kindergarten for children. Therefore, I try to make learning fun each day so that my students have a love of learning, while I am creating a strong foundation to build life long learners and community members in my classroom. I also feel that it is crucial to build a strong sense of independence and confidence with children. I do many activities in the classroom to build respect between classmates and always encourage honesty, kindness and manners. As the title states in the famous poem by Robert Fulghum, “All I Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” Teaching students the curriculum is only part of my day.

photo of staff and students

What do you feel is the most exciting thing about teaching?

Making a connection with the students in my classroom and the families at Big Cross is the most rewarding part of teaching. When you first meet a child and their family it’s so exciting to see how you can promote each child’s strengths and improve the areas where they are struggling. It is amazing to watch the academic, social and emotional growth from September to June and know that you were a part of making that happen. I truly have made so many connections with the families at Big Cross. I have enjoyed watching the students grow up, graduate and then hear back from them as they are building a life of their own.

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?

It’s so hard to choose just one thing, but I would say that the special events are always fun. One event that I do each year is to have a Potluck Feast at Thanksgiving time, that incorporates our food and nutrition unit and of course holiday traditions, as well as the history component. The children help to prepare the table settings and some food preparation for their families, as well as decorations, props for a play we put on and singing songs to the guests. The children even dress the part, looking like a Native American boy or girl and/or a Pilgrim boy or girl. The children learn a lot while participating in activities to prepare for the big day. After the event each year, the children feel a great sense of accomplishment and success. Their smiles say it all.

Tell us a little more about yourself.

I graduated from Lake George High School in 1990. I went on to earn my Early Childhood degree at Maria college in Albany then went to Oneonta State College, earning a degree in Elementary Education. After that, I received my master’s degree in Special Education at College of St. Joseph in Vermont. I am married with two wonderful daughters, Madison and Jillian. This is my 20th year teaching in Glens Falls School District and I have been at Big Cross teaching kindergarten for all 20 years and have loved every minute of it. I really enjoy teaching all the units in kindergarten, but I especially love to teach children to read and write. It is an amazing process to see the students start at the very beginning stages and make remarkable progress. It’s been a wonderful career so far. I feel very blessed and I am looking forward to many more years at Glens Falls! In my spare time, I can be found watching my kids play sports and spending time with family and friends.