This week we’re hearing from Karen Wells a 7-12 library media specialist, 11th AP English Language and Composition; 9-12 Journalism at Midland High School, AR. She has been using Discovery Education for a number of years. “The DEN provides not only memorable experiences but contact with a professional and personal collaborative learning environment.”
Karen also recently traveled to Auschwitz as part of 25 teachers chosen for the Auschwitz 70: The Past is Present. You can learn more about her experience here: http://www.pastispresentauschwitz.com
How do you start your day?
I am not a morning person, but I start my day on the run. I have a lot of student contact time before the school day officially begins and find that some of my best teaching moments occur during my before school or after school conversations with students who are visiting in the library media center.
Why did you become a teacher?
I became a teacher because I love helping students accomplish something that they once felt was impossible, and, like all educators, I absolutely love those small teachable moments that occur on a daily basis.
What is one of your favorite ways to use Discovery Education?
I love using many of the SOS strategies with DE content. My favorite SOS strategy has to be either “Paper Chat” or “Tweet, Tweet.” I am constantly tweaking these two instructional strategies to fit my lesson objectives. Both of these strategies are highly collaborative, and when I use them, my students enjoy expressing their own opinions in a written format, then sharing these opinions with the class, and finally receiving feedback from their peers.
How are you involved in education aside from your role as educator?
I present at the regional, state, and national level and am a past recipient of the AAIM Media Specialist of the Year award, the Herb Lawrence Leadership Service award, and the Outstanding Media Program of the Year award.
What advice do you have for first year teachers?
I would advise first year teachers to look for the most respected teachers in their district and then “stalk” their every move. Of course, I would also advise them to become involved in the DEN and to take advantage of every opportunity for personal and professional growth that Discover Education offers. My relationship with Discovery Education has provided opportunities for me to travel internationally with students to France, Spain, South Africa, Italy, and Greece and has enabled my library media program to become recognized as globally connected. I recently traveled to Poland to attend the 70th liberation ceremony of Auschwitz and to work with educators from around the world to promote a deeper understanding of events surrounding the Holocaust. All of this was made possible through my participation with Discovery Education.
What sites do you visit daily or weekly for your own interests?
I check Facebook multiple times a day to keep in touch with my DEN family and have been known to spend way too much time on Pinterest.
What other organizations/groups are you a part of?
I am a National Board Certified Teacher and the current past president of the Arkansas Association of Instructional Media (AAIM). I am also a member of the American Library Association, the American Association of School Librarians, the Arkansas Association of School Librarians, and the Arkansas Library Association. I am a reader for the Arkansas Teen Book Award and serve on the Arkansas State Library Board Network Advisory Committee and the ArLA Intellectual Freedom Committee.
What is your most memorable experience with the DEN?
My most memorable experiences with the DEN occur during the DEN Summer Institutes. It is there that I have met friends that I stay in touch with constantly. Whenever I have good news to share, professional questions to ask, or educational issues to resolve, they are the first people I contact.
When you’re not working, where are we most likely to find you?
When I am not working, I can be found spending time with my family which includes my husband, my two sons and their wives and my two beautiful grandchildren. We love calling the Hogs and hiking the trails of Arkansas.
What is your favorite kind of donut?
chocolate yeast with sprinkles and toffee bits YUM!
How can others connect with you?
I can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Edmodo under the name karenwells. You can also read about my trip to Auschwitz here: http://karenwellspastispresent.blogspot.com