Saturday, April 13, 2013

*STAR* Teacher...Dawn Hilliard

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

Dawn Hilliard
Title 1

How many years have you been teaching?
18 years

What is your best memory?
One of my best memories was taking a group of 5th graders to Washington D.C. for four days. My first teaching job was in Nocatee, Florida. It was a very small, rural town in which many migrant workers came for work and sent their children to our school. When this group of 5th graders boarded the bus to head to Tampa to fly out, they had no idea what they were in for. These students had only been to two places in their life, Florida and Michigan for the growing seasons. We flew out of Tampa and they watched out of the airplane windows telling us what everything looked like. We arrived in Washington DC after a layover in Atlanta. We boarded a tour bus for our four day tour of the Capital. Our students experienced so many different places those four days, such as Mt. Vernon, Air and Space Museum, White House, the Capital Building, Lincoln Memorial, Pentagon, and Ford Theater. I know they will never forget their trip to our nation’s capital. For some of those students it was a once in a lifetime experience.

What is the funniest memory?
My first year teaching, I had a student that had a single older brother. My student and his mom decided to try to play matchmaker and have his brother come to meet me while I was getting my class off of the playground. Needless to say, having an audience of 24 nosey 4th graders watching this poor man try to ask me out was quite the sight.

Can you share a reading strategy/best practice?
I am going to try bubble wrap with some of the kindergarten students I work with. You write on the bubble wrap (each cell) and then when they identify the correct letter, they get to pop it.

Can you share a math strategy/best practice?
For a group of 3rd graders for place value, I had them count out Cocoa Puffs. They placed 10 pieces of cereal into the small Dixie cups. Then when they had 10 Dixie cups full of 10 pieces of cereal, they dumped them into a Solo cup. Then once they have 10 Solo cups filled with 100 pieces of cereal, they dump them into an ice cream container to hold their 1,000.

What advice do you have for teachers just coming into the field?
Don’t be afraid to try something new and tell your students you are trying something new. Students want to see that you like learning new ideas too.

Pictures of Dawn's students.

It sounds like you had a memorable first year!
I like your Bubble Wrap activity and I can see where it might work with other skills in addition to Letter/Sound I.D...maybe adding Sight Words, CVC or Word Family Words--Great idea!
Thanks for sharing your memories, strategies and students.

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