The DEN Community Member of the week is a great way to get to know Discovery Education users from around the globe! In this series you’ll learn how these educators integrate Discovery Education resources into their lessons, their favorite ways to use digital media and more!
This week’s Community Member of the Week is Liz Charlton from La Grange District 105 in Illinois. Liz is an Accelerated ELA and Math Specialist and has been using Discovery Education since 2008. “It’s hard to distinguish Discovery Education from the DEN as both have had a profound effect on my teaching. The sheer amount of tools at my disposal now is incredible and due to my exposure to people I’ve met through the DEN.”
Big mug of tea and a review of my calendar, followed by accelerated math every morning, which is my favorite class. So much fun!
Why did you become a teacher?
I love the lightbulb moments. I love getting students to realize they have so much power in their learning. I love helping students find their voices.
What is one of your favorite ways to use Discovery Education?
When I am given a topic or skill to teach, the first place I go is Discovery to see what resources they have. I don’t always use them, but they give me that starting point. The SOS strategies are especially good because they can be used for many different skills or content areas. I loved the SOS strategy where the students could only communicate about a given question by writing about it. It really eliminated the quiet vs. dominating voices and gave more children voices, ironically, without letting them use their voices.
What is a ritual you have in your classroom?
We spend 10 minutes a day 3 days a week doing Sudoku as a class. We don’t always finish the puzzles, but getting them to see the fun and training their brains to see patterns is great fun and helpful all at the same time.
I have a blog about books I’ve read that are appropriate for middle school readers. I am a Union representative. I also have done PD for schools who are interested in better integration of technology into their curriculum.
What advice do you give to a teacher who is hesitant to use digital media in their classroom?
I think fear is a huge factor and really you just have to dive in and realize that there are times you will fail. But in that failure, you are teaching your students a valuable lesson in how to react to failure, something that this generation seems to be sheltered from. Having students figure things out instead of scripting everything is also extremely effective, and by doing that, you create leaders and a much more collaborative classroom. Just do it! And if you need help or advice, there are many people through the DEN that can help you do just that.
What advice do you have for first year teachers?
Reach out! Ask questions! Get people in your classroom. Visit other classrooms. You are not alone!! Be open to advice. Reflect often on what worked and what didn’t.
What other organizations/groups are you a part of?
Discovery Education Leadership Council- Though, with a second job I’m not as involved in the LC as I’d like!
What is your most memorable experience with the DEN?
I have had many, many amazing experiences with the DEN.I realize that meeting people isn’t exactly an experience, but I’ve never been one to follow directions exactly 🙂 I think that it’s incredible that I have met some of my favorite people in the whole world through this organization. I think the fact that they are not only people that have helped to make me a better teacher, but they make me a better person. Each person helps to stretch me, emotionally, mentally, even physically with the DEN fit. It’s impressive and I love what this organization is all about.
When you’re not working, where are we most likely to find you?
Reading on my couch, watching sports with friends, listening to live music out and about, or at the gym
How can others connect with you?
On Twitter: @zillywaters