This past year, I have officially crossed over to the other side of the “desk” I became the parent of a kindergartner. It’s a strange world over here. I have tried hard to be a supportive mom without becoming “that” parent. We have been abundantly blessed to live in the boundary of the Orange Unified School District and in particular Anaheim Hills Elementary School under the stellar leadership of Sandi Miller. I am pretty confident she thought I was crazy ‘kinder’ parent when I asked for a meeting 2 months before the school year started. As a result of our discussions, I have had the privilege of working with their amazing staff over the past 9 months.
When I learned of our #DENLove campaign, I knew I wanted to do something extra special for 4 particular teachers who have stepped outside of their comfort zone to start integrating digital technology and media. First up, Mrs. Karen Lampe, my son’s teacher. She teaches a K/1 combo class with 32 students. (read that again and let that one soak in) I stand in awe on a regular basis, so when she embraced Discovery’s resources, I was pretty much floored that she would take on anything new. She’s created Board Builders for her students to use during their Daily 5 centers rotations and even created their first PaperSlide videos. Check out this one we created on “How to Catch a Star”
Next up, Christine Rotsios, Diana Cohen, and Melissa Morgan, who together decided they wanted more and joined Orange Unified’s DEN Ambassador Program. Through their participation in the 3 after-school professional development/networking events, I have watched them explore new parts of Discovery Education and share what they have done with other teachers across the district. I love walking into their classrooms and having their students share about their newest Boards or videos.
What could I do to celebrate how each of them have stepped up and out?!? I determined a “Teacher Take Over” was in order. With the help of their principal, some of my favorite DEN Members (CarolAnne McGuire, Judy Williams, and Genny Kahlweiss), and a Discovery colleague (Lindsay Hopkins), we gave their language arts rotations a Discovery Education makeover and allowed them to kick back and relax. Lampe and Rotsios k-3rd graders learned about sound, while Morgan and Cohens 4th-5th graders learned about states of matter through listening, reading, writing, and exploration stations that featured virtual labs, interactive glossary terms, reading passages, hands-on labs, playing in an iPad band, and even a dance session. While students were busy learning, these well deserving educators enjoyed their favorite treats and even a 30 minute massage.
Nothing inspires me more than watching these educators at work and it was exciting to provide them a moment to reflect on how far they’ve come. Nothing but
love #DENLove for this group! Thanks for everything you do to make a difference!