This week we’re checking in with Julie Wenger, 5th grade teacher in Denton ISD, Texas. Julie has used DE for just over a year. “DE has enabled me to give students more ownership of their learning. I can put information I would like for them to learn in a board, have them follow it like a Webquest, and they take responsibility for the pace and depth of learning. Also, just being a member of the DEN surrounds me with passionate and innovative educators who sharpen me.”
How do you start your day?
I greet each student at the door with a handshake, high five or hug, their choice.
Why did you become a teacher?
What is one of your favorite ways to use Discovery Education?
In listening stations, I can set up read aloud stories with author studies using Weston Woods publishing materials in board builder. Students can access the board three times per week, learn a story and then perform their own read aloud at the end of the week along with the DE illustrations. In journals, students can follow reading strategy prompts placed in the board, reporting on things such as main characters, setting, inference, etc.
What is a ritual you have in your classroom?
I like to have Socratic discussions with students surrounding topics important to them. For instance, last month some students encountered inappropriate language in books they were reading. The students led a discussion as to whether those books should be in our school
How are you involved in education aside from your role as educator?
I’ve only blogged a couple of times. I was chosen in my district to preview new technology in my classroom. I try to serve as a mentor in my building for those who want to learn about new technology or how to write grants.
What advice do you give to a teacher who is hesitant to use digital media in their classroom?
Jump in! Find someone who is using digital media successfully and ask them for their three favorite ways to implement technology. Choose your favorite one and try it for awhile. If you don’t like that one, try another. Have fun experimenting!
What advice do you have for first year teachers?
To a first year teacher, I would say take your time and enjoy the students. Ask your administration for opportunities to observe master teachers in your school at work. Relax, knowing that the joy that brought you to teaching is the very thing that will sustain you and make you effective.
What sites do you visit to assist in your teaching practice?
I use Discovery Education, lead4ward, StemScopes, GoNoodle, and Twitter regularly
What is your most memorable experience with the DEN?
Going to DENSI was something I will never forget! Being around people who are passionate and excellent about what they do in such an intimate setting was something that you can’t get anywhere else!
When you’re not working, where are we most likely to find you?
It’s hard to walk away from working because I am always thinking about my sweet students, my amazing school and the standards we teach. I do enjoy traveling, being with my family, and having adventures.
What is your favorite kind of donut?
Glazed holes, warmed for 11 seconds please
How can others connect with you?
Twitter: julie_wenger or Adkins5th Facebook: Julie Wenger