Our Featured Hoku (That’s Hawaiian for STAR!)

Get to know Hawaii DEN STAR, Erin Yagi

DEN Ohana, meet Hawaii’s very first DEN STAR, Erin Yagi!  Currently teaching at Waipahu Intermediate School and a winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (she wouldn’t tell you that so we’re bragging for her), Erin recognized the power of Discovery Education resources and became part of the DEN community last spring.Read on as we ask Erin about the important stuff: Discovery Education at her school, some of the best advice she ever received as a teacher, and, of course, her favorite ice cream flavor.Erin, What is your current role?I am currently back in the classroom teaching 7th grade life science. I am also the science department head at my school.How many years have you been in education?This is currently my 12th year of teaching…boy do I feel old! I have taught 7th and 8th grade for many of those years. (My school loops with the students so they get us for 2 years.) I also took one year to work at the state level as the marine science resource teacher.What’s your proudest moment as an educator?Proudest? That’s a hard one. In every single day, the students do something that is amazing and makes me proud. I feel proud when students start to ask questions and become independent thinkers.What is the best classroom advice you’ve ever given or received?My mentor teacher told me that every once in awhile, sit in a student desk and look around…see the classroom from their perspective. That was the best advice I’ve ever gotten. It reminds us that teaching is not about us, it’s about the students.How have you seen Discovery Education make a difference at your school?Last year, I tried DE with my students and they loved it. They felt that it was the greatest thing. They dived right in to not only to take quizzes and watch videos, but also to download and “splice” together their own presentation using the video clips. For me, having access to the media was great, but even better was having access to the wonderful teachers and webinars hosted by the DE staff that really made a difference. I have learned so much in a relatively short amount of time just by reading the blog posts and participating in as many webinars as I can. It has definitely made a difference in my teaching methods 🙂What book are you reading right now?Sounds like a teacher geeky thing, but I’m reading, “Teach Like a Champion.” I got the recommendation from a listserv I’m on and it’s pretty good :-)I like the strategies they give and they even include a DVD that shows clips of the practices. As for non-teaching books, I always love science fiction books. Takes me far away from the everyday stresses…heehee!What’s your favorite ice cream?Chocolate…the chocolatier the better!What is your favorite place in Hawaii and why?Nordstroms in the Ala Moana Shopping Center – I love that place! With all of the beautiful places in Hawaii, it’s hard to choose just one outdoor place as my favorite. How can you compare a day at the beach with the historical significance of the Arizona Memorial or the beauty of a hike in the mountains?  I couldn’t so I just chose my shopper’s paradise. In that area, for me, there is no other choice…hahaha!


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