Sunday, December 16, 2012

*STAR* Teacher---Becca Owens

Today's *STAR* Teacher from Norman Elementary is...
Becca Owens

How many years have you been teaching?
5 years
What is your best or most rewarding memory?
My best memories are watching my students light up from understanding a new skill for the first time, like reading, writing their name, or a math skill. One more is watching them get excited as a group for earning a reward – such as a brownie point from another teacher! I use brownie points in my classroom, they earn one when another teacher compliments their behavior, work ethic, or attitudes, when our brownie pan in our classroom is full…I have to make them a pan of brownies!
What is the funniest memory?
There are so many! In Kindergarten there is never a dull moment! I think that the funniest memory I have was when I was at the grocery store and saw one of my students. They said, “Mrs. Owen!!!! What are you doing here? You go shopping? You are supposed to be at the school! Who let you leave?!” It is amazing that kids really think you never leave your classroom, and when they see you for the first time out of the classroom they are in complete shock!!!
Can you share a reading strategy or best practice?
One of the best things I do during reading is I have my students use their finger to track exactly where they are at. If they get stuck on a word on that page, I have them re-read until they read it fluently. I have them tackle the ‘hard’ word until they get it because if they keep reading, chances are that they are going to get stuck in the same place when they read it the second time before taking a test or retelling what happened in the story.
What advice do you have for teachers just coming into the field?
Dear Newbies,
When starting out your career, and when you are a veteran teacher remember to be very open minded, be flexible, and treat each day as a new day. Do not dwell on the things that happened the day before, do not worry about the fire drill that is going to interrupt your math lesson. Utilize each minute of every day to the fullest – make every minute count – and always remember that your students are like sponges just waiting to soak up whatever you are willing to give them. With that being said – be a positive role model – you are what cranks their gears --- and they will go home and pretend to be you! One more not be afraid to ask for help...we were all there once!
One more thing…
Today I had a funny thing happen and couldn't help but to share...
On Monday after we got quite a bit of snow I told my students that they needed to start dressing like an onion and to wear lots of layers because it was so cold. I also said that it was easy to take layers off but when we don't wear layers we can't put them back on if we get cold. I sent a note to go with what I said, stating that they needed to wear layers - like an onion. One student went home and said, "Mom, you need to go to the store right now...Mrs. Owen said I needed to dress like an onion tomorrow, she is going to expect me in an onion costume!" Mom looked at him and said, "What in the world are you talking about?" Later on, she looked in his folder and understood what he was saying. It is funny how students really take what you say SO literal! I laughed so hard when I heard this! I just love my Kinder-Friends!

Pictures from Becca's Classroom

Mrs. Owen implements the Debbie Diller style workstations within her classroom. This is an activity that helps students learn ABC order, helps with handwriting, and beginning sounds. This is a Picture Dictionary search activity.

 Literacy Station

  At this station students ‘paint the chalkboard.'They are supposed to put a sight word in the paper holder, then paint the word underneath it. They love this station!

These are marshmallows! Mrs. Owen wrote letters and sight words on marshmallows and put them in a gallon Ziploc bag. Students pulled one marshmallow out at a time, said the word or letter, then got to "shoot the marshmallow" into the bucket! If they didn’t get the word or letter right, they put it back in the bag and it was their partners turn.

This is the calendar area. Above the calendar Mrs. Owen has a chain link with student work hung on clothespins – a great display!

Teaching verbs to her students was a lot of fun! They all know what a verb is after coming up with one, using it in a sentence, and acting it out!

Teaching tally marks can be difficult sometimes, but with a visual like this it helps students to understand the concept of a bundle. Mrs. Owen also teaches a song to her students to help assist them when writing. Tally Marks: 1, 2, 3, 4 number 5 shuts the door 6, 7, 8, 9, number 10 draws a line.

Mrs. Owen had her students disguise a gingerbread man so that he wouldn’t get eaten! Students really got into this project and used their imagination!

 I had the opportunity to visit Becca's classroom and videotape a lesson....
It will be posted soon---technical difficulties :-)
I really enjoyed my visit to Becca's classroom. As I post her stories & activities it's made me remember (and miss) the years I spent as a kindergarten teacher. It is amazing to see how much that our little ones grow and learn during their kindergarten year. It's an awesome responsibility that kindergarten teachers have. And teachers at Norman Elementary do an amazing job at laying the foundation for academic success.
Thanks for sharing Becca and keep up the great work!

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