Norman Elementary's New *STAR* Teacher is...
How many years have you been teaching?
I have been a student, graduate, secretary, and teacher for Reed City Area Public Schools. I have been teaching in this district for 15 years. Presently, I teach in a Resource Room.
What is your best memory?
I have many special memories, such as the look of awe on my students' faces when they meet the service men and women who receive Care Packages and letters from us. Another warm memory are the tears of gratitude on the faces of our veterans as our students honor them for their service to our country. The excitement in the air when chicks hatch in my classroom each spring is another special memory, and of course, the pride my students have when they are able to use their math skills to sell suckers and then use that money tos send Care Packages to our service people and to donate money to community projects such as the Reed City Public Library, Osceola County Animal Shelter, Cancer Fund, etc. It is during these times that I know that the important lessons I have taught my students have reached outside the classroom walls and into the very heart of our community.
What is your funniest memory?
On my second day of teaching third grade, I was greeting my students in the hallway, when one of my young students said, "Good Morning, Ms. Blossom". "Bloom", I gently corrected her with a smile. She shrugged her shoulders and replied, "I knew it had something to do with a flower!"
Can you share a Best Practice for Reading?
I strongly believe it is important to celebrate each child's success. Each month my students decide on a monthly reading goal. They encourage each other and recommend books to read. At the end of each month, we have a celebration in honor of each one's effort and success. At the end of the school year, I also award medals and certificates recognizing students for their learning achievements and with the hope that it will encourage them to try their best the next year.
Can you share a Best Practice for Math?
I believe in daily reviews while teaching new concepts. For example, I use Math Minutes to quickly review 10 different math concepts each day. My students pretend to be detectives as they look for clues to help them solve complex problems. I also include games and activities to help them review concepts they have learned while still differentiating according to their learning abilities. I always point out situations when they will use their new skills in real life. They use all of these important math skills when they purchase and buy cartons of suckers to sell at our school.
Do you have any advice for new teachers?
It is important to build a trusting relationship with each child. Try to make learning fun, yet meaningful. For example, explain to your students why they need to know the concepts you are teaching and how they will use this information later on,. Knowing why they need to learn something, can help a student's motivation. Use real-life situations so that students can use their knowledge. Learn from and trade ideas with other teachers.
Do your best to "Bloom Where You Are Planted"
Pictures from Pam's classroom:
I have to be honest, I have tears of my own while I'm typing this Post. The reason is that the two servicemen in the picture above are my sons, Wade & Cody who are both in the Navy--one in England and the other in Italy.
They have both been into your classroom to visit with your students and listen to them sing patriotic songs-and yes, both of them have had tears in their eyes before the songs were finished.
Your "Care Package" program has meant so much to so many men and women across our nation and in many other countries. I remember one year, your class sent Wade a package for his birthday when he was in the middle east. One of your students wrote him a letter and drew a picture. Wade and his whole Unit got a kick out of it and no matter what country he travels to, that picture is with him and goes on the wall.
I also remember a few years ago when Cody was stationed in California, 18 years old and it was his first Christmas away from home. Your students sent him a box of goodies, gifts and letters. That meant so much to him. He took that package into work and shared it with his whole crew. They were so thankful not only for the food and gifts but that someone remembered them.
Did my boys need boxes of goodies? No, they have family and friends that support them. But to know that others back home were thinking about them and that are thankful for what they are doing...well, you have no idea how special that is. There are many young men and women that have no one that send letters or boxes of gifts--How sad is that?
You have made a difference in many lives. Your "Care Package" program is a wonderful thing and my family along with many others, hope that you know that you are a special person and are appreciated.
Thanks for sharing your memories, students and advice.