Tuesday, February 19, 2013

*STAR* Teacher-- Jo Knack

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

Jo Knack
 Title 1

How many years have you been teaching?
I have been teaching for five years, however, I have been with this school district for 18 years working with children from K-12th grade. 

My best memory:
My best memory is remembering the feeling that I get each and every time a child starts to succeed.  It is a feeling of great joy and excitement and I love feeling that way. 

My Funniest memory:
Last year, I received a 5000.00 grant from General Mills to start a book program.  My mission was to get current literature into the hands of the children and give them the opportunity to take a book home to share with their families.  Therefore, once a month,  I  go into each kindergarten classroom dressed up as Buzzy the Bee and share my love for reading with the students.  The funniest thing is that the children really want to believe that I am a life size BEE.  It is so funny when they say to me, “You’re not really a Bee are you?”  I just giggle inside and leave it up to their imagination.

Can you share a reading strategy/best practice?
According to Brain Based research emotion plays a big role in learning.  If a child doesn’t feel emotionally connected or if a child feels unsafe that child will not be able to attend to what is being presented in the classroom.  Therefore, my first strategy in reading is to get to know each child.  Make a connection with each one of them, so they feel safe and comfortable.  Then the child can start to make the connections that are necessary to become a reader.

Can you share a math strategy/best practice? 
When I work with children in math I like to do a lot of hands-on multi-sensory projects.  I also like to use mnemonics to develop the child’s memory.

What advice do you have for teachers just coming into the field?
This field is constantly changing so trying to keep up with the current trends in education is very demanding.  Read as much as you can, surf the net for current research and information, and go to conferences when they are offered.

Thanks Jo, for sharing your strategies, advice and most important...the love of reading with our students.

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