DEN Community Member of the Week: Aimee McCoy

Aimee is a 7th Grade Humanities and 7th and 8th grade AVID teacher at Poway Unified School District in California. She has been teaching, and using Discovery Education for 3 years. She shared, “Discovery Education has allowed my students, colleagues, and myself to access, discover, learn, and present information in a new way.  I know that I can rely on Discovery to give my students reliable information, graphics, and videos when researching in and out of class.  My students enjoy the variation in the day when we use Discovery Education.  My students learning is impacted not only in the classroom but when they go home.  The students often go home at the end of lessons and explore Discovery Education and our curriculum on their own because of how curious they are and what Discovery Education allows them to do.”


When you’re not working where are we most likely to find you?
When I am not in my classroom working, I am off exploring San Diego.  I enjoy spending time with my family and friends doing a variety of activities including Padres games, paddle boarding, hiking, swimming, and biking.  In addition, I am a huge Harry Potter nerd and love both reading and watching the series.

IMG_3356What is your most memorable experience with the DEN?
This past year I was able to attend DENapalooza in Anaheim with two of my co-workers.  I was not sure what to expect but I loved what I found.  I found a large group of educators who wanted to help their students and continue their own education through learning more about Discovery Education and how others use it.  I loved being able to collaborate with educators from Southern California and share ideas.  It also opened my eyes to see what challenges other teachers face and how it impacts their classrooms differently than my own.  While we might have different students, grade levels, and areas we teach, that day we all had one goal.  It was fantastic to see educators so committed to their work and their students.


What is one of your favorite ways to use Discovery Education?

I have so many favorites to using Discovery Education, it is hard to pick just one way that I use to highlight.  I have enjoyed using SOS and the Whip Around Strategy because my students are all excited and ready to share their ideas but they also take more time creating and writing because they want to be unique no matter when they are called on.  This has led to a high level of thinking throughout my classroom and has also allowed us to see events, images, or videos from new perspectives.  
However, I think one of my favorites ways to use Discovery Education is interacting with educators from all over.  I enjoy attending DEN events like DENapalooza this year but also the digital events from the calendar.  Last year, I was able to share my ideas in a Webinar and listen to other educators discuss how they use Discovery in their classrooms.  I really enjoy gaining a new perspective on education and it impacts myself as a teacher but also my students. Lastly,  I enjoy using Discovery Education for the numerous resources that it provides me.  Any time that my IMG_7796students and I are studying a unit or topic in Language Arts, Social Studies, or AVID, I can find something on Discovery to supplement my lesson with.  I really enjoy using the Advance Search options because it allows me the freedom to limit my options and find what fits the curriculum best.  These also give me freedom in how I present (launching from Discovery Education, Downloading, or Embedding) which is very helpful in this era of technology.


Why did you become a teacher?
Teaching is in my family and it has always been a part of who am I.  My grandma, father, aunts, and cousins are educators.  From a young age, I was always pretending to be a teacher and I knew that is what I wanted to do.  Now I realize that I wanted to be a teacher because of my love for learning.  I love to learn and create everyday and teaching has really enabled me to do this.

How do you start your day?

I enjoy starting my weekdays early so I am fully prepared for each day with the students.  I usually wake around 5:30 and I am at school by 7am.  In the morning, I like to work and get ready but I often have students in my room around 7-8:30am.  These students are at school early and need a place to work so I enjoy providing that for them.  I help the students with their work but I also get to know them as teenagers and make connections with them.


What’s your favorite SOS to use with students?
I really enjoy using Visual Walkabout.  In 7th grade we study the medieval period around the world.  Throughout my first year, I found that many students had knowledge about what we were studying, and in some cases the students gave us new perspectives and thoughts to challenge us.  However, in many cases, the students had misconceptions about the historical period or religion.  The visual walkabout allows me an opportunity to pre-assess students.  In this time, I check for understanding and misconceptions and this allows me to address them right away.  So far, this has worked well in my room and the students seem to be more engaged in the content as we study it throughout the next few weeks.  This is a great strategy for any age but definitely for middle school students.


IMG_1932What are you reading or something on your to-read list?
I am currently in the process of rereading Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.  I read it part way through my first year of teaching, but I have found that each time I read it, I get something new from it based on my students that year.  I am also rereading Siddhartha and The Alchemist.  I read them for the first time in senior English, and I loved both of them.  I am finding out that I only touched the surface of these books in high school and now that my own learning and education has vastly increased both of these novels have such more meaning to me.  On my to-read list, probably for summer, is Go Set a Watchman.  I cannot wait to read another work by Harper Lee.
What brings you joy?
Traveling.  I am a huge fan of history, and I love to travel because I feel that I am going back in time.  I also love sharing these experiences with my students and getting them interested in history and the past.  This summer I will be traveling to China with 15 other teachers and 3 professors. While there we will travel the Silk Road, collaborate, and build curriculum.  I cannot wait to come back and share my experiences with my student. However, I also see how my enthusiasm and experience will impact their learning and engagement.


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