Community Member of the Week: Zulma Whiteford

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Happy New Year! We are kicking off a new weekly blog series- Community member of the week. This series will  highlight Discovery Education users from around the globe. You’ll learn how they integrate DE resources into their lessons, their favorite ways to use DE and get to know your fellow educators!


Our first DEN Community Member of the week is Zulma Whiteford from St. Louis School in Maryland. Zulma works as a STEM Coordinator, Technology teacher for Grades 4, 5 and 6, Spanish Teacher Grades 2 & 3, Health Teacher Grade 5. And she has been using Discovery Education since it was United Learning. She says “It allows me to integrate reliable multimedia resources into my curriculum and the students respond very well to it. Last year our middle school adopted the Science Techbook and our Science test scores showed a marked improvement at the end of the year.” Keep reading to learn more about Zulma!

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 10.24.03 PMHow do you start your day?

With a cup of coffee after feeding my demanding cats crying in front of the food bowl.

Why did you become a teacher?

Teaching for me is a second career. I worked in the corporate world for twenty years and decided to do something with a deeper meaning.



What is one of your favorite ways to use Discovery Education?Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 10.24.51 PM

My favorite, hands down, is Board Builder. The reason I love BB is that it allows you to pull together all the amazing DE resources into one place. My students are engaged and eager to learn when working on their boards and the added benefit is that they can access them from home as well as school. One of my proudest moments this past year was to have a group of my students share their excitement for using Board Builder at the Streamathon!

What is a ritual you have in your classroom?

In Spanish class we usually begin with a teacher-created Go-Animate video. The students listen to the short Spanish dialogue and then answer questions about it.

 How are you involved in education aside from your role as educator?

I just recently had an article posted on eSchool News (12/18/14). I also teach a Middle School Cybersecurity Camp for girls at the University of Maryland during the summer and serve as my school’s liaison to the First Lego League (FLL)

What advice do you give to a teacher who is hesitant to use digital media in their classroom?

Start slow, pick one thing and become comfortable with the technology. Don’t try to do everything at once, there are too many choices and you will become overwhelmed.

 What advice do you have for first year teachers?

Spend time familiarizing yourself with the resources available to you. Ask for help! Seasoned teachers are eager to help you.

What sites do you visit to assist in your teaching practice?

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 10.36.08 PMWhat other organizations/groups are you a part of?

Member of ISTE, member of MSET, Member of the Archdiocesan Middle School/High School Technology Committee.

 What is your most memorable experience with the DEN?

I have so many memorable experiences with the DEN, including coordinating the community service project during the Summer Institute last year in Nashville. What started as a simple craft project became a fantastic demonstration of creativity, passion and love from the DEN community. Our goal was to make sock monkeys for homeless children and donate them along with a children’s book. These sock monkeys took on a life of their own and ended up with outfits, character names and birth certificates. Where else can you find a group of people who will do that?

 When you’re not working, where are we most likely to find you?Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 10.28.44 PM

During the summer, sunning myself poolside with a good book or working in my vegetable garden. During the winter, you can find me in the kitchen trying new recipes.

What is your favorite kind of donut?

Chocolate glazed

 How can others connect with you?



Remember, the DEN Community is all about connecting with your most valuable resource- each other! Connect with Zulma and share your favorite ways to use digital media in the classroom.


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