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Recognizing Teacher Appreciation Week – Thursday, May 11, 2017

Shannon McKeighanPhoto of students and staff



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

I try to use a variety of techniques in order to engage students. I’ve been so fortunate to work with such great colleagues who are always willing to share ideas and give me input on my lessons. With the use of the Chromebooks, I’ve been able to add many online, interactive activities. The immediate feedback that students receive as they do these activities quickly reinforces what we are learning.

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

I often give my students input into the activities we do in class as well as giving them choices on their homework. I formally and informally survey students on which activities they find most helpful and ask them for suggestions. I have received very valuable input from many students. Most days our lessons include some teacher-directed instruction, collaborative work, and individual practice with feedback.

photo of staff and students

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

I love seeing the amazing things that our students accomplish. I am often inspired by their effort both in and out of the classroom. As the Student Council and AFS International Club Adviser, I’ve been able to work with many student volunteers on both school and community projects. Teaching can be very rewarding and I’m so glad that it is the path I chose. Each day is different and each student is unique.

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 activities that I’ve found really sparks the students’ interest and excitement is Quizlet Live. It is an online, collaborative game where students work in small groups to find the correct answers while competing against other teams. It can be used for vocabulary, grammar, reading practice, etc. It also allows the teacher to easily change groups to give students the opportunity to work with a variety of their classmates.

I always enjoy teaching the Travel Unit. For students, this will probably be the vocabulary that they will find most useful in their future. In addition, we are able to explore some of the amazing countries where Spanish is spoken and I hope that this encourages students to travel in their future. There are so many more opportunities to do so now than when I was their age.

Tell us a little more about yourself.

I attended Big Cross Elementary, Glens Falls Middle School, and spent freshman year at Glens Falls High School before my family moved to Hudson Falls. My Masters is from SUNY Albany, and my undergraduate degree is from the College of Saint Rose. I taught at Shaker Junior High for 7 years, GFMS for 13 years, and have been at GFHS for 4 years.