Thursday, March 7, 2013

*STAR* Teacher---Pat Sugars

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

Pat Sugars
3rd Grade

How many years have you been teaching?
This is my 24th year.

What is your best memory?
I think a lot about my first year teaching. I taught in a small parochial school in Prudenville. I taught a split classroom of 1st and 2nd graders. I’m sure I made many mistakes, but it was a very successful year for my students and I. I think I learned as much as my students that year.

What is your funniest memory?
A student wanted to bring in his pet cockatoo. I said okay and his parents brought it in at the end of the next school day. They wanted to take the bird out of its cage to show the children. I was not sure about this, but they said it would just sit on their shoulder and not fly around. Well, they took the bird out and it did sit on their shoulder for about 15 seconds, then it took off flying around the room. You can imagine the students screaming and laughing. The bird came to stop on top of my head. There I stood in front of the class with this big bird perched on my head, I was afraid to move. My students laughed so hard some were falling out of their chairs.

Can you share a reading strategy/best practice?
Use graphic organizers to help your students with reading comprehension. I use story maps, charts, Venn diagrams to compare and contrast, webs, cause and effect charts. There are many good internet sites with great student graphic organizers.

Can you share a math strategy/best practice?
A very good second grade teacher shared this with me (thanks Andy); I do a Morning Math every day. I put 7-10 math problems on the board for morning work. The problems are a review of previous taught math skills. Some problems are extra practice that reluctant learners need and some are challenging what they have learned to take it a step further. We do daily time and money problems also. I really feel this quick math review makes a big difference in my student’s math skills.

What advice do you have for teachers just coming into the field?
*Don’t be afraid to try new things.
*Talk with your peers and steal their good ideas.
*Enjoy your students. Each one is unique.
*New ideas are always changing in education. Ride the newest wave, but know it won’t last forever.
*Be optimistic and flexible.

Pictures from Pat's Classroom:

Pat--you win the prize for the funniest story! I would have died if that bird landed on my head.
I used Morning Math Journals too. I taught 1st grade across the hall from Andy and he shared that idea with me as well. It is a great way for students to practice the skills that they have been working on and it gives the teacher a few minutes to take care of morning business.
Thanks for sharing!

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