Wednesday, January 9, 2013

First *STAR* Teacher of 2013

Norman Elementary's First *STAR* Teacher of 2013 is...

Ronnette Boltze
1st Grade

How many years have you been teaching? 
This is my 17th year.

What is your best memory?  
I’m so excited when I see a student’s eagerness to learn and their excitement at mastering a new skill.  I love to introduce kids to new things and watch their minds work as they see, for the first time, a new place, idea, story, etc.  A number of years ago I was team teaching in a 3-4 multi-age classroom.  My colleague and I alternated the curriculum focus each year in the area of Science and Social Studies as to cover both, the 3rd and 4th grade curriculum.  In the spring of our 4th grade rotation year we would take our entire class on an overnight hiking and tent camping trip to Ludington State Park.  While there, the students were able to have hands on experience in the areas they had been studying and learning about. Kids further developed their knowledge of the sand dune structure and how it is constantly changing.  They learned about Lighthouse operation and its rich history on the Great Lakes. Nature studies included looking for tracks, scat, animal homes, tree/leaf identification, poison ivy included. Through hiking students learned to read a compass, use a trail map and trail markers, how to distribute weight in a backpack and even what type of socks to wear hiking.  For many of our students this was their first time seeing Lake Michigan.  At first glance the comment of “Wow, look at the ocean” was made by more than one child. This was also the first time many of our students had went camping,  prepared and cooked all of their meals over an open fire and been without any indoor plumbing or electronic devices.  To organize and successfully accomplish such a trip took a great deal of planning, organization and parent support but in the end, those trips were the most amazing teaching opportunities I have had the privilege of being apart of. 

What is your funniest memory? 
If you spend any time at all with kids you know that they say some of the funniest things.  You also know that the stories, often true, will never cease to amaze you.  One such story comes to mind.  One of my forth grade students had shared time between myself and a colleague that taught special education. It was spring time and becoming very warm and forth graders are at the age where puberty is hitting and no longer are they just dirty by the end of the day but, their bodies have begun to omit  not so pleasant odors.  My colleague and I had spoken with our classes about the importance of taking a shower or a bath each day to get rid of such odors.  After numerous gentle reminders a young man that we both worked with had still not cleaned himself up.  He was look and smelling very ripe.  My colleague decided that in her smaller setting she would more directly explain to the young man that showering was important and go through the steps of good hygiene.  It wasn’t long after this young man left my room that my colleague, looking overcome, came to my door and motioned for me to step into the hall.  She explained that in going through the steps of good hygiene the young man had stopped her to say that he knew how to clean up but he couldn’t.  When asked why, he went on to explain that dad said they needed to stay out of the bathtub, “for on count of the fridge was broke and they needed a place to keep their minnows for cuz it was fishen time”.  Just one more time when my students taught me something new and the list goes on… 

Can you share a reading strategy/best practice? 
Have students read, read, and read some more.  Introduce them to all kinds of literature and be sure to read aloud to them each day from good literature that would otherwise be above their reading ability.  Show them that you value reading.  Kids learn by example.  Be the example that you want to see repeated. 

Can you share a math strategy/best practice? 
 Hands on experiences in math are very important.  Also, try to tie your math instruction into something real.  Use real scenarios within your teaching so that students can see why the material you are teaching is important and how they can use it in their own life.  Students need to know that what they are doing is important and not a waste of time.  Give them ownership for their learning.

What advice do you have for teachers just coming into the field? 
 There are many paths that will take you to the same destination.  It is important that you develop a trusting and respectful relationship with your students.  Find out their interests and goals and then tie your teaching into that. Be willing to see subject matter through their eyes and try various methods to obtain the needed outcomes.  Teaching and learning is not always clear cut.  Differentiate your instruction and always have high expectations. It’s not ok to let your students take the easy way out.  It’s also not ok to let them painfully struggle.  Find the balance.

Anything else you would like to add? 
Teaching is not just a job but a way of life. Teaching is a way of life that the rest of the professions depend on us for.  Be proud, patient and persistent.

Classroom Pictures...

Amazing stories, pictures and advice Ronnette- Thank You so much for sharing.

No comments:

Post a Comment