Barb is a 3rd grade teacher, gifted and talented building liaison and a facilitator of an after school STEAM club at Jeffco Public Schools in Colorado. She has been Discovery Education since the United Streaming days, nearly 10 years. She shared, “Even without all of today’s wonderful features, I could see the impact of learning about soil through a professionally made color movie, as opposed to the black and white, outdated textbooks we had showing different types of soil. With Science Techbook I now have lessons tailored to my state’s curriculum, so I know I am teaching with fidelity. The short movie segments are highly engaging, the experiments give us more opportunities to explore the content using hands on materials that are inexpensive, and the interactive glossary helps us to better understand our concepts. Students logging in to DE on their own devices brings us up to 21st century learning. At home students can review lessons or watch lessons missed. Students research topics in a a safe on-line environment. They share what they have learned with authentic audiences through Boardbuilder and other tools. And the DEN Community has increased my teaching and presenting skills, given me fabulous networking opportunities and technical advice, and opened doors to provide my students with outstanding materials, tools, resources and experiences.”
What is a ritual you have in your classroom?
Morning Meetings without fail. We build our community by greeting each other, sharing how we are feeling, and playing a short game together. The games and activities are always about learning more about each other. Then I share announcements and review a Why question, “Why are we here?”, “Why do we have rules?”, “Why is it important to be responsible?” and so on. We talk about being self-directed, we review the current Habit of Mind. Currently that is “Checking for accuracy”. And we finish with thinking about Growth and Fixed Mindset.
How are you involved in education other than your official role as a K-12 educator?
After my first DENSI, I was asked to present at a local DENapalooza. I was really nervous. Now I am doing presentations on Tech and/or Executive Function Skills for Denver EdCamp, Jeffco Tech Share Fair, GT teachers and admin in my district, CCIRA Young Writers Conference, the local Kiwanis, and have done iPad training for a couple schools.
When you’re not working where are we most likely to find you?
Asleep. I have trouble separating work and home life. I love to read children’s literature, try out new technology for my classroom, research anything that will help my students, and share what I have learned with anyone who will listen. I spend time making jewelry and participating in my church.
What is your most memorable experience with the DEN?
Oh my, three in particular have been life changing. Patti Duncan broadcasting a science lesson from my classroom, and the DENSI 2013 in Burlington, and DENSI 2015 in D.C. All gave me confidence, professional friendships, opened the door for other opportunities, and were joyous events.
What is one of your favorite ways to use Discovery Education?
My very favorite is the interactive Atlas. We can look at a student’s native country, or where they are going to live or travel. My son has done a lot of traveling and my class watched clips about the places he was about to visit and then wrote advice. My favorite advice from a student was to clean your house before you go. My son’s favorite was to watch out for crocodiles.
Why did you become a teacher?
My first teaching thought was when I was in fifth grade, I remember thinking I could do a better job than my reading teacher. Looking back, I realized that school was a safe fun place in my chaotic world, and that I could create that nurturing place for others.
What’s something new that you’ve recently learned?
Currently working on green screen, Minecraft EDU, and Google CS First.
What’s your favorite SOS to use with students?
My kids love Snowball Fight! I check the facts that they write for accuracy. If not accurate, they must fix their snowball or sit out. They are so motivated to learn the content so they can participate. And because the DE lessons are so engaging, they rarely need to fix their facts!
What are you reading or something on your to-read list?
Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli, The How the Brain Learns series by David A Sousa., Nancy Duarte’s Resonate
What brings you joy?
Watching kids overcome obstacles and rejoice in their learning, playing cards with my friends, spending time with my grown son. I love colored glass- stained glass, Depression Glass, glass beads.
How can others connect with you?