Kim is a 2nd grade teacher and Digital Integration Lead at West Ada Schools in Idaho. She has been using Discovery Education for a number of years. She shared “What started out as a great resource for educational videos flourished into one of the greatest influences on my teaching. I have had the privilege of attending three Summer Institutes and participating in numerous Discovery events. After attending my first Summer Institute in Montana, everything began to change for me. The frustrations that face educators were no longer the loudest voices in my life. I had a group of people around me that was positive, enthusiastic, a little crazy, creative, and brilliant. While many educators were bemoaning the struggles of education, this group was finding ways to work together, teach one another, succeed over obstacles, and create learning environments where students were successful. I had found my tribe.”
How are you involved in education other than your official role as a K-12 educator?
I love to coach other teachers. I mentor pre-service teachers and first year teachers, and I take many high school and college interns. I also like to present occasionally and share all of the things that we have learned in opening up a STEM school.
When you’re not working where are we most likely to find you?
When I’m not teaching students, you will find me in the mountains! We love to spend time at our family cabin in Lowman, Idaho. We love watching all of the wildlife, going fishing, and riding our 4-wheelers. If I’m not in the mountains and not teaching students – you will probably find me texting my wonderful “Hills Are Alive” DEN sisters! 🙂
What is your most memorable experience with the DEN?
My most memorable experience with the DEN was the Summer Institute in Montana. I was able to attend with my best friend, Marita Diffenbaugh. From the very first moment, there was an overwhelming wave of support. People started unloading our luggage for us the second we pulled in! 🙂 I remember thinking after the 2nd day of sessions and learning, that I had found the most amazing, intelligent, enthusiastic group of people. I was so overwhelmed as I looked around the large room of everyone gathered and I thought to myself, “These amazing people are reaching thousands of kids every year and doing great things.” Finally there was something good to believe in for education. That moment brought me to tears.
Why did you become a teacher?
I have always wanted to be a teacher. My mom has pictures of me when I was as young as 3 years old, lining up my stuffed animals and dolls in the garden so I could teach them. When I was in elementary school, I put a bulletin board in my room and pretended to teach school. My mom started working at the elementary school where I attended when I was in 2nd grade. I remember bringing home small pieces of paper to make flashcards, and finding extra worksheets for my “students”. My family has always encouraged and supported my dream to be a teacher.
What’s something new that you’ve recently learned?
I am learning a lot this year about student-led assessment. I am working with my young students on helping them learn how to identify criteria for assessment, set performance standards for each criteria, and then self-evaluate using that tool. This takes a lot of higher-order thinking for young children! It has been a big “aha” moment for me as I can see how much they really are capable of doing.
What’s your favorite SOS to use with students?
My favorite SOS strategy is probably 3 Truths and a Lie. I like this one because it really makes the students think. They not only have to investigate for the information, but it makes them think about the evidence to support their answer. They always have to cite what evidence makes it a truth or a lie. I also like this strategy because it is easy to use for a variety of topics, and can be used with very young students
What are you reading or something on your to-read list?
I am currently re-reading the Mitford series by Jan Karon. I love this series of books, and have read it a few times. When life gets crazy busy, I always go back to these books. They bring a sense of calmness and peace when I am trying to unwind at the end of a day.
What brings you joy?
My family brings me joy! We love to spend time together at our family cabin in the mountains, or just hang out at home watching movies. I was blessed with an adventurous childhood filled with camping, fishing, and motorcycle trips. My mom is a retired Title 1 teacher. My daughter-in-law, Jessie Beth Miller, lives and teaches in Tennessee. My daughter, Julia Miller, also joined the teacher ranks this year and is teaching at an alternative high school in Idaho. I love being able to talk “shop” with so many people in my family. I spend a lot of time with my brother and sister-in-law when we are at the mountains. We share a love of wildlife watching and dogs! I am blessed with an awesome husband who supports all my crazy teacher ideas, and shares my love of all things techy! My family brings me joy!
How can others connect with you?