DEN Community Member of the Week: Peter Panico

Peter is a 5th Grade Teacher in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina. He shared “I started using DE when it was called United Streaming.  I have grown used to it being by my side for so long; I am not sure how to teach without it.  Yet, I feel there is so much more to utilize.  Science Elementary and Techbook have made a huge impact on my science instruction.”

How do you start your day?
I get up 20 minutes early every day and sit at the top of the stairs to give Cooper, my dog, some rubs.

Why did you become a teacher?
It took me a while to find my place in the world.  My strongest skill sets were to entertain and help people.  Once I figured out how to blend the two together, teaching has been a perfect fit.

What is one of your favorite ways to use Discovery Education?IMG_4484
When planning my science lessons for the week, I first go through Science Elementary and go through each layer “Learn, Explore, Demonstrate, Extend” and develop a lesson for the week that covers all of the learning styles including audio/video, kinesthetic, tactile, reading comprehension. and pull it all together.  I use the assessments and pull together authentic questions from the current unit and previous ones to create a comprehensive test.  Then I set aside parts of DE and techbook to add to my students content for the week to review during rotations and at home.

How are you involved in education aside from your role as an educator?
In my district, I am a part of our science alliance and I present at monthly seminars for 5th grade teachers in my area.  
My passion project is to share more by presenting at more events and making my blog more known.  

What advice do you give to a teacher who is hesitant to use digital media in their classroom?
Start small, find content whether it be in a video, virtual lab, image, slide show, etc that can support your lessons and share it with your students.

What advice do you have for first-year teachers?
Always envision what it is like to be a student and think of all the ways you would want to learn the content and go from there.  There are so many “experts” and “facilitators” but the student in your class is the best judge on how well you are as a teacher.  

merry go roundWhat is your most memorable experience with the DEN?
The most memorable experience was at DENSI 2013 when Kim Miller forced me to speak in front of everyone about my experience that week.  It was my first ever experience with the DEN and it was very overwhelming.   I was never a joiner and never had any loyalty or school spirit of any kind.  It was the first time I ever wanted to be a part of a community and I have been waving my DEN flag ever since.  

What are some of your frequently visited websites?
I visit Facebook regularly to learn as much as I can from the DEN.  I am continually jotting down lesson ideas, apps, sites, and project ideas from all the talented people within the community.  Now with a DEN makerspace page, I have even more inspiration.  

When you’re not working, where are we most likely to find you?
Spending time with my family keeping my daughter and dog entertained. If I am really lucky, I can sneak in some time to play WOW.

What is your favorite kind of donut?1 (3)
chocolate, but would rather have an oreo

How can others connect with you?


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