Saturday, February 23, 2013

*STAR* Teacher--April Cole

Norman Elementary's new *STAR* Teacher is...

April Cole

Me and my class celebrating 100’s day--we are 100 days Smarter!

How many years have you been teaching?
12 years- I taught preschool for 11 years. This is my first year in 2nd grade.

What is your best memory?
I’ve had many over the years. In preschool you build close relationships with families. It is always nice to have parents and former students come back to visit, say thank you or ask for advice. This year, I had a student of mine say to me “Mrs. Cole our classroom is like a home. It smells so good and we are like a family.”  It’s the little things like this that keep you going.

What is the funniest memory?
This year two colleagues and I were talking in the hallway. All of a sudden she loses her crown (tooth) before you know it the three of us were crawling around in the hallway to find it before the kids came in for recess. This just shows you there is nothing we wouldn't do for each other.

Reading Strategy/Best Practice
Partner/ Peer reading, popcorn reading, literacy centers, weekly AR goals, comprehension games.

Math Strategies/ Best Practice
Math Centers, peer grouping, drill and skill practice, minute math, timed tests.

Advice for teachers coming in the field
Teaching is far more than reading and writing these days. Most days you are mom, dad, nurse, and counselor. Don’t lose sight of what is important in a child’s life. Provide an environment that is safe and nurturing and the rest will fall into place.

Favorite Quote:  I call my students “my kids” because in our year together they aren't just kids on my class list, they become a part of my heart.

Last year when I was told I would be leaving preschool and moving to 2nd grade I was in heart failure. I was comfortable and confident in my position and truly felt that is where I belonged. The fear of the unknown consumed me, and I was scared to death. Stepping out of my comfort zone was not easy.

Looking back I have realized many things. If you truly love teaching- you can teach any grade. I also realized that as educators we become stagnant and a new grade level provides new challenges and opportunity for personal growth. I have learned so much about myself both personally and professionally. 

Pictures from April's Classroom

 *Classroom Environment*

  Classroom Expectations “Camp Rules”

Classroom Reading Corner

Classroom Library- Theme “Camping”

 Literacy Center Word Family Practice

 Literacy Center (Reading- Rebuild a Poem)

Literacy Center ( Word Work)

 Literacy Center (Writing)

 Literacy Center ( Sentence Building)

 February Literacy Menu for Literacy Centers

 “Oh the Places You  Will Go” a map showing where our Flat Stanley’s have traveled.

Valentine Writing

 Literacy Link 
Example “Jamaica Louise James”
            Chalk Art: Our Big Idea

Literacy Link 
Example “Stranger in the Woods”
            Torn Paper Art and Egg carton snowman

 Adjective Assembly Line
Our room was made into a factory assembly line. Each child was given a heart. Like an assembly line we passed the hearts around.  Each child wrote one positive adjective for each person in the class. We talked about how they felt when they read the positive comments from their peers and how they would have felt if all of the comments were negative. We talked about the power of words and related it to bullying.

STAR Goals bulletin board.
            In my class students create SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. These goals are created by the students and focus on what the individual student is working on. For example- 100% on spelling test, 5 AR points, completing all work in work folder, some students create behavior goals if they feel they need improvement or if there is an issue. These goals are shared with parents so they can help with meeting these goals. Once a child meets their goal, a new one is created. 

Thank you for sharing your advice, stories and "kids". As a member of your 2nd grade Team, I have to say that you have done an amazing job adjusting to a new grade, curriculum and Team. You are excited about teaching 2nd grade students and that excitement overflows into your lessons,  your classroom environment and into your 2nd grade teaching team.

1 comment:

  1. ihad her as a teacher 15 years ago and she taught me how to spell my name forest