A List Of Our Best Interview Tips

benefits of reading 20 minutes a day

Let’s talk interview tips! A lot of you students out there are most likely going through some sort of interview process over the next year, whether it’s for a job, getting into a college program, or something else. Here are our best tips for you! 

  • Research the company or program before the interview. Specifically, search for their mission statement. Having a decent knowledge of the company can give you an advantage in the interview. It can also help if they pose the question, “do you have any questions for us?”
  • Wear professionally appropriate clothes. 
  • When asked about your biggest weaknesses, don’t do the cliche “turn your weakness into a positive” by saying something along the lines of “I care too much.” Interviewers know this trick and are often turned off by it. Instead, own your weaknesses and let them know it’s something you’re working on. 
  • Be personal and approachable. 
  • On the way to the interview, turn on your favorite song, and jam out! It’s good to let loose for a little bit before going in, it can help you stay calmer and be yourself. 
  • Follow up the interview with a thank you card or email. 

We would love to hear your tips on interviews! What do you do before, during, and after to prep? Good luck with all of the applying and interviewing you’ll be doing over the course of the year, we believe in you! 

Feature Friday: Isiah Wright

Welcome to Feature Friday! Where we showcase a new teacher each week in an interview. For past Feature Friday interviews, go here. 

Today’s Feature Friday is highlighting Isiah Wright, a teacher in California specializing in arts and creativity. 

Tell me more about the arts and creativity initiative? What does it entail?

“Every year the department of education gives out grants for arts in education. These grants are meant to supply teachers with the knowledge and supplies necessary to integrate art into classrooms. I don’t mean like a single subject teacher that teaches art either. I mean multiple subjects K-8 and getting creativity to stay with our children and even fostering it. In the grant program that I’m a part of they have taught us many things but one of the first things is about increasing engagement and asking the right questions. We go through training employing VTS or visual thinking strategy, which turned my classroom from 5 or 6 of the same kids answering everything to building the confidence of every single child in the room so that they might try to answer also. Seriously since I started using this strategy, I can get in the ’90s for student participation and engagement. That’s %, it truly is a thing to behold. They teach us great skills in hands-on art as well. Something that I had never used was oil pastels, they taught me the proper way to use and teach their use. We went through training on collaboration in school. Believe it or not, most students don’t know how to work together. Teaching them to look past their short-sighted need to get what they want every time is difficult but essential to making well-rounded adults and it is one of my favorite things to teach them. My class in general is centered around this overarching statement: Contradictory elements can and should co-exist.”

Why do you feel like arts are so important to the education of our students?

“Teaching art appreciation does more than just look at pretty pictures. Observational skills, thinking critically, attention to detail, and respectful discussion are all elements of appreciating art. Guess what? Those are all also the key elements to Common Core. I am drawing a blank on who said it but at one of my training, someone was quoted saying “If you’re not teaching art you’re not teaching the whole kid ” I think this statement is dead-on, and the age I teach it makes teaching them easier if I integrate art into every lesson I can. I have even taken up sketchnoting science and social studies because of this training. Sketch noting is an amazing way for students to remember what they are being taught. Some studies I have seen put students being able to remember 6x more information when they are just writing traditional notes instead of blending words with pictures”

How do you incorporate art into your core curriculum?

“Art is everywhere and in every subject. If you think of how an NGSS (next generation science standards) lesson starts with an anchoring phenomenon, I teach every lesson I can with that basic format but usually using art in its place. We hold class talks, starting with art but eventually branching out to math, ELA, science, social studies, and everything else. Let me tell you how a lesson I just finished looks.”

“We look at a few pieces of art from a book, this book I’m talking about is called Blockhead, which is the life of Fibonacci. as we look at some of the pages of art we hold an art talk on 5 or so pictures from all over the book. This helps because everyone wants to participate in the art talk. This will also help when I go back and read the book because students will be looking for the pages they spoke on earlier. As I stop to discuss the reading periodically students remain engaged because they bought in at the beginning. We move into a fun patterns lesson using some kids ciphers that I loved as a child. Which could go on for multiple lessons and I love to end patterns with art from nature. That is a wonderful lesson where students create art from anything and everything, depending on what lesson I employ this, kids can make a paintbrush from random things, or collect and place colorful rocks or leaves. Art from nature truly is a universal assignment that I can end many units with. My goal is always increasing student engagement and understanding of core content through arts integration and I feel like I get that every time I integrate art into my lessons”

If you could recommend one children’s book, what would it be and why?

“It really depends on the age. My kids in the upper elementary school range The Blue Witch by Alane Adams never disappoints. She is such an amazing advocate of literacy and does tons for kids in need. Most important though is it is a book that students actually want to read. I read the introduction of Odin riding Slipnir to collect a young witching and they are instantly hooked and relate to the female lead or her brainy male sidekick.  If we are talking about my personal children’s age, say 5 and under The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith. I have read it well over 200 times to thousands of kids. I have it down to a science you could say, refining my abilities over the last 8 years or so.”

How has Twitter helped and influenced you as a teacher?

“Teacher twitter is beyond the most helpful thing ever. Thousands of teachers on standby to help at a moment’s notice. Even if that help is just as simple as liking a “rough day” post. I have taken some of the best ideas in my classroom from a Twitter teacher’s bragging posts. You know what? My classroom is better because of Twitter.”

How do you use student voice in your classroom and what outcomes have you seen come from it?

“I’m an elected official so student’s voices and civics are very often at the forefront of my class. My kids’ collective wisdom is greater than my own and I recognize that. It is my belief that students have tons to teach us. I may be the most educated person in the room but their collective years of individual experience are powerful. I use that to my advantage as often as I possibly can. Every now and then we way in on current political problems and generate multiple answers to questions that adults can’t seem to figure out. Last year we had our writing prompt about solving the homeless issue in our community put in the newspaper. The kids were so excited and loved seeing their words published for all to see.”


Thanks, Isiah for your insight! He had some great thoughts on creativity and using art in the classroom. 

Feature Friday: Krystal Plott

Welcome to Feature Friday! Where we showcase a new teacher each week in an interview. For past Feature Friday interviews, go here. 

Today’s Feature Friday is highlighting Krystal Plott, a K-6 technology specialist in Utah. She gives great insight on technology and how it can be used for student voice! Read what she has to say below. 

If you could recommend one children’s book, what would it be and why?

“one of my favorite children’s books that I used in my classroom every year was “Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. This is such a simple and sweet (literally) book about cookies, but it’s a great way to teach vocabulary, kindness, sharing, and other essential social skills that elementary students need. The lesson always ends with cookies, of course, and serves as a great lesson and message that all students can take to heart.”

Tell me a little about your job, “school technology specialist”. What does it entail?

“As a school technology specialist, my job always keeps me on my toes. My primary role is to help coach teachers in the effective use of technology in the classroom, and I recently completed an endorsement in instructional coaching to help me be more effective in my role. I support teachers as they learn new skills, co-teach technology-infused lessons, and design educational technology curriculum and professional development. I love that I am still able to push into classrooms and work with students, while also reaching more students and teachers beyond a single classroom. In addition to teaching and coaching, I also provide basic tech support and troubleshooting at the school level.”

What is one of your favorite ways to use technology in classrooms? 

“One of my favorite ways to use technology in the classroom is taking a “good” lesson, infusing it with technology, and making it GREAT! Getting students excited about learning in new ways and connecting with others as they learn. I love discovering new tools and teaching in ways that didn’t seem possible just a few years ago. One of my favorite tools to use across all grade levels is flipgrid – students are able to make short videos and respond to others and are communicating with their teachers and peers in a different way. I have seen students come out of their shell and share their voice for the first time because it is a safe space for them to share. I love seeing the “ah-ha” moments with students as they learn something new and share that learning with others through technology.”

How do you use student voice in your classroom and what outcomes have you seen from it? 

“Student voice in the classroom is huge! They have so much to say and share but we have to give them the time and space to do so. I like to give students time to share how their weekend was or respond to current events. Sometimes students are reluctant to share their voice in a classroom setting, but if you give them tools and choices, they just might surprise you. One teacher I work with had a selective mute in her class a few years ago. She wouldn’t talk to her teacher, and only had a few friends she felt comfortable enough to speak to. One day, this teacher introduced Flipgrid to her class and they were all asked to record a video to respond to a question. Not only did this student respond (which was huge in and of itself), but then she went up to the teacher and pointed to the computer because she wanted the teacher to see her response. After nearly 4 months of school, the teacher heard her student’s voice for the first time!”

What advice do you have for teachers who are nervous about using technology in their classrooms?

“For teachers who are nervous, I say just jump in! Don’t expect perfection, and definitely be patient and flexible. Most schools have a technology specialist or digital learning coach who is eager and willing to help out, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you aren’t sure where to start, UEN is a great resource with lots of lessons and ideas to help you get started.”

What is your favorite part of teaching in an elementary setting? 

“Elementary kids are just the cutest! I love their curiosity and seeing them learn and grow. There is a fun curriculum at every grade level, and kids are just so eager to learn. There is an excitement in elementary that I don’t think you find anywhere else. I spent many years teaching second and third grade, and I love that age so much. They are starting to develop a sense of humor and can be so funny at times, but they are still just so sweet and love being in school. I feel lucky to get to work with kids in such a fun setting in a job that I love!”


Thanks for the words of advice Krystal! Come back next week for the next Feature Friday. If you would like to be featured on our blog, please reach out via email or comment on a blog post. We would love to have you! 

Feature Friday: Westley Young

Welcome to Feature Friday! Where we showcase a new teacher each week in an interview. For past Feature Friday interviews, go here. 

Today’s Feature Friday is highlighting Westley Young, a Grade 3 teacher in Rome, Italy. Westley is our first international teacher on Feature Friday and we were excited to learn from him! Here’s what Westley has for us today.

If you could recommend one children’s book, what would it be and why? 

“I thought long and hard about this question because I have discovered so many great children’s books every year since I became a teacher, but instead, I chose one which I loved as a child and which my own children are currently enjoying: ‘The Jolly Postman (or Other People’s Letters) by Janet & Allan Ahlberg. My 6-year-old daughter especially loves reading each of the letters/cards delivered to each of the fairy-tale characters.

Also, ‘The Refugee’ by Alan Gratz, which I read with my Grade 5 class a few years ago. It’s incredibly moving and a must-read, too. Sorry, I couldn’t just pick one in the end!”

What is your favorite part of teaching this age group?

“I have taught all elementary grade levels as an art teacher and grades 2-5 as a homeroom teacher. I enjoy all ages and don’t have a preference for any one group.”

Who influenced you most to choose a career in education? 

“I have to admit that my passion for teaching only began once I started in the profession. I needed a job when I first moved to Italy and used my art experience to begin working with children at a summer camp. This success led to a role as an art teacher at the same school and it snowballed from there. Since then, through extensive reading, help from colleagues, the sharing of resources and expertise on social media, and of course watching and learning with children, my interest in the way children learn has continually grown.”

What are some educational tactics used in Rome that you feel are especially important to teaching, or the education of your own children? 

“I don’t think there are any ‘tactics’ used especially in Rome that are different to others elsewhere, but throughout my own teaching experience and my children’s education, the Reggio Emilia approach, the Montessori method, and the IB PYP have all helped me consider how to respect children’s agency and use the whole community/environment to expose children to new experiences and support their learning. I have definitely picked up some pointers from these programmes when considering how to educate my own children.”

What do you wish someone would have told you in your first year of teaching? 

“To go with the kids and not to worry if things didn’t go as planned. When I first began teaching, I needed to know exactly what I’d do throughout the lessons, especially if the activity had finished earlier than planned or hadn’t ‘worked’. It took me a while to realize being in complete control was completely counter-productive to the learning experience that I wanted to offer.

 (Oh yeah, I wish someone had told me about Twitter, too!)”

Do you feel like the educational world on Twitter or other social media sites has helped you as a teacher? And how? 

“Twitter has been my most helpful tool as a teacher. There are so many inspirational and supportive teachers and parents, who have helped me think deeply about my practice, offer better learning experiences to my students, and find resources and books to help me continue to learn and question what I’m doing, always searching for better.”


Thank you for your insight today Westley!

Feature Friday: Matthew Winters

Welcome to Feature Friday! Where we showcase a new teacher each week in an interview. For past Feature Friday interviews, go here. 

Today’s Feature Friday is highlighting Matthew Winters. Matthew is a Jr. High English/creative writing/yearbook teacher, and technology instructional coach. Talk about the jack of all trades in the education world! Here’s what Matthew has for us today!

What is your favorite part of teaching Jr. High? 

“It is the energy the students bring to the classroom. Most students are starting to figure out who they are as a person and what they like to learn about and it is a genuinely great time to teach students.  They are inquisitive and engaged in a way that encourages great discussions.  A lot of people have misconceptions about teaching junior high school, they have too much energy or they are frustrating, but nothing could be farther from the truth.”

What is one of your favorite units you’ve taught? 

“Every year I do a unit on Romeo and Juliet and I use Michael Ford’s ‘Hip Hop Architecture’ to teach students about rhyme scheme and poetry.  We break out the legos, build little cities out of lines from Shakespeare and famous songs, and end up making a 3D city of their own poetry. It gives them another perspective on poetry and how it looks and feels. During that same unit, we take an old sword fighting of Shakespeare’s book that I found and actually choreograph the fights in Romeo and Juliet using markers/pens as swords. It gives another perspective on a play that students often come into school thinking is a romance.  It helps them to visualize the performance rather that just seeing it on the page or screen.”

If you could recommend one book to read, what would it be and why? 

“A few years ago I met Dan Ryder (Twitter: @WickedDecent) at a conference, read his book with Amy Burvall (@Amyburvall) Intention: Critical Creativity in the Classroom. Since then I have used his thoughts on creatively accessing student growth, adding choice in a project, adding media in a variety of ways into our classroom, and looking out for more than just the academic portion of a student’s life in my class, looking for social emotional learning and creativity throughout the curriculum. That would be my recommendation, but better yet go follow both Amy and Dan on Twitter and learn with them.”

How have you seen education change in the years you’ve taught?

“Technology has probably had the largest impact. Over the last year, before COVID, I built up grant money to buy a classroom set of Oculus Quests. This gives students the opportunity to experience cutting edge technology in the classroom and it is just becoming more and more accessible to schools. However, personally I have felt a shift in how we are accessing students and realizing that students are more than just academic profiles. The shift towards discussions and plans on social/emotional learning, portfolios instead of tests, and student choice has refreshed a lot of teachers in engaging ways.”

How do you use student voice in your classroom and what outcomes have you seen from it?

“Student voice is a key part of my classroom. I try not only to encourage asking questions of the course and its curricula, but also how we do assignments, due dates, and how students present their materials. This has led to some really engaging moments discussing novels, but also discussing the purpose of English Language Arts classrooms and the ways that students are assessed. As a teacher, I have to let go of the classroom reins to some degree, but it has helped a lot of my students find the purpose in the classroom and some have reengaged with the course materials in interesting ways.”

What is your favorite way to use technology in the classroom?

“First off, technology for technology’s sake is not a way to run a classroom. Make sure that there is a purpose to using the technology and that it is appropriately engaging students. With that said, I love making videos with students. I started by doing a silent film festival with my students during my first year and now we do projects with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to show how to change the world. As an English teacher, making videos hits so many of the standards I need to have students learn in one project it was just simply a great choice, but also it is just so much fun to make videos with my students.”

What advice do you have for teachers who are worried about using tech in their classrooms?

“Take a bit of time every day. Learn a new skill and add to it the next day. By the end of the year, you will be so far from where you were that you forget what it was like to teach without technology. When I started 3D printing with students I had no background in the process. I learned each day by trial and error and now five years later I can do things that I had no idea I could do like prototyping frisbees for PE or printing models for set design or making branded items for my school.”


I love walking away from an interview with new people on Twitter to follow! Thanks again, Matthew for the great interview. I hope we can all take these insights on technology and apply them to our classrooms. 

Feature Friday: Monte Syrie

Welcome to Feature Friday! Where we showcase a new teacher each week in an interview. For past Feature Friday interviews, go here. 

Today’s Feature Friday is highlighting Monte Syrie, a high school English Language Arts teacher in Cheney, Washington. Monte has started a personal project called Project 180 and explains more of what it is at the end of this post. Read through to see the cool, innovative way he decided to start teaching!

What is your favorite part of teaching in a high school setting? 

“I love high school because kids are standing at the important threshold of self-discovery as they transition between the worlds of adolescence and adulthood. And I am lucky enough to play a small part in supporting their journey. It’s incredibly inspiring and richly rewarding.”

What drove you to choose a career in education? And more specifically, teaching ELA? 

“I had a less-than-ideal childhood, and as such, school became a space of comfort and support. I never wanted to leave, so I became a teacher, and I am committed to making sure that school is that same space for kids who need what I needed.”

“Why LA? In 8th grade, I had an LA teacher who supported and inspired us by treating us like humans with needs rather than children with faults. I wanted to do the same, so I decided then and there to follow in his footsteps. And here I am.”

If you could recommend one children’s book, what would it be and why? 

Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss. I read this to my sophomores each year to add some simple novelty to our journey into their discovering and using their own unique voices. Of all that I do with them, supporting them in this is perhaps the most important thing I do. It really is a fun read. The kids love it, and it resonates with them.”

How do you use student voice in your classroom and what outcomes have you seen from it? 

“Though I try to make student voice a central consideration in all of our shared experiences, the one thing that I do that is perhaps the most voice-centered is an activity I call Smiles and Frowns. It is how we begin our day, every day—no matter what. Basically, we go around the room and each has an opportunity to share a smile and/or frown with our classroom community. Importantly, kids may pass. I don’t believe in forcing voice. Kids have the right to decide. We have to honor that voice, too.”

“Using Smiles and Frowns is the single best choice I have made in my 25 years of teaching. It invites the human voice into our space. I believe each person is a story and part of that belief in the classroom is giving them an opportunity to share their story, which is the key idea expressed in our intro song that we sing together each time we do Smiles and Frowns.”

“It’s a beautiful day for smiles and frowns.
Won’t you share your ups and downs?
Won’t you share?
We all care.
Won’t you share your story?”

What is one of your favorite units you have taught to your students? 

“My most recent favorite unit is a writing unit we did last yeast called “The Wisdom Writers Diary.” Kids captured a life experience from which they gained wisdom about themselves and/or the human experience. We compiled and published a classroom diary for each period. The kids wrote and shared wonderfully wise words. It was a beautiful moment in our year. Beautiful.”

What do you wish someone would have told you in your first year teaching?

“I wish someone had told me my charge was to teach kids with English, not to teach English to kids. I—we—teach kids. Our subject matter simply provides a context. Of course, I gradually came to learn this, but I wish someone had imparted this wisdom to me earlier. Consequently, it is something I share with young teachers whenever I get the chance. We teach kids. Once we accept that, the dynamic in the classroom changes for the better—for all.”

How have you seen education change in the years you’ve taught?

“I started at the outset of the current “standardized age,” so I have seen the evolution of what I believe has become a mad obsession with the standardization of education, in particular our absurd reliance on standardized testing data as “the” measure. It’s not. But we have come to accept it so faithfully as the gold standard I fear we will never steer clear of it. And that’s unfortunate, for the more we standardize the less we humanize, and now, perhaps more than ever, we need to humanize education.”

What is one of your favorite ways to utilize technology in the classroom?

“Not a huge tech guy. Oh, I use it, but I only use it as a tool. I have never bought into the notion that tech is “the” answer. It can be a great help, but in the end, it is only a tool. That said, in light of the distance-learning reality we face, I have enjoyed playing around with Screencastify. I have found it a useful tool for delivering instruction and providing help to my kiddos.”

What is Project 180 and how did it start?

“I started Project 180 in the fall of 2016. It was my first big step into my self-assigned journey to “change education” as the name of my website, Let’s Change Education, suggests. So, to that end, I took a big, bold step by tackling what I believed to be the biggest obstacle in bringing about significant change: grading. I decided to give all my kids an “A” for the year.”

“On day one, as they entered the room, I handed each a wooden “A” that I had made that summer. And then as class began, I explained to them that I was taking grading off the table by giving them an “A” for the year, so we could focus on learning. I then blogged about our experience each day. It was an amazing year—maybe the most authentic year I have ever spent with students as we turned our focus to learning for the sake of learning, not for the sake of producing a grade.”

“I learned a lot that first year of “turning education upside down,” giving rise to my trademark, Project 180 mantra, “Do. Reflect. Do Better.” And now as I set to begin my fifth year of Project 180, I am still rotating 180 degrees at a time, turning things upside down, seeking better.”

“I have moved on from giving all kids A’s, but the focus on learning remains as I now provide a “feedback-only” experience for my kids. Lots of doing, reflecting, and doing better to capture as we journey into this next school year.”


You can connect with Monte on twitter at @MonteSyrie

Thanks for all of your insight Monte! You are a great teacher doing great work for students everywhere! 

Feature Friday: Kami Meacham

Welcome to Feature Friday! Where we showcase a new teacher each week in an interview. For past Feature Friday interviews, go here. 

Today’s Feature Friday is highlighting Kami Mecham. Kami has been teaching for twelve years, eight of those years were teaching 3rd grade, three years teaching 4th grade, and now she is in her second year of 2nd grade! 

Kami also has a job as an instructional coach. She loves that she not only teaches full time, but is able to interact with other teachers as a mentor and coach. Another exciting thing about Kami is that she did her student teaching in Washington D.C. After her student teaching, she came back to Utah to start her career as a teacher and instructional coach. 

 What is your favorite thing about teaching this age/subject?

“Although it sounds cheesy, my favorite thing about teaching elementary school is the kids: the girl who wears her new dress on picture day and twirls as she walks in the classroom; the boy who has a “lucky hat” that he says helps him do his best reading; the students who cheer each other on when the math problems are hard.  The students make me excited to get up each morning and I feel lucky to play a small role in helping them reach their potential!”

What is one of your favorite ways to utilize technology in the classroom? 

“Technology is a great engagement tool in the classroom.  My favorite way to use technology is to provide experiences that will engage students in the curriculum and encourage an excitement for the learning.  I believe that even young students can learn to use technology productively and can benefit from its use.  Some specific ways I engage students with technology include QR codes, apps to record the students reading, guided research experiences, and games that provide real-time data.” 

 If you could recommend one children’s book, what would it be and why? 

“Choosing just one children’s book to recommend is definitely a challenge but I absolutely love The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.  The character of Edward Tulane has been a favorite with my students as he discovers his ability to love.  Using this book to spark conversations of love, friendship, acceptance, and understanding in my classroom has provided some of the most authentic discussions I have had with my students and has served as a foundation of building unity within the classroom.”

What do you wish someone would have told you in your first year teaching? 

“Looking back on my first year of teaching, I wish someone would have told me that it is ok to have fun and enjoy the small moments.  Teaching is hard.  Teaching is exhausting.  Teaching can be overwhelming.  With all of that, I wish someone would have helped me see that I could put in the hard work to be an effective teacher while also having fun with my students.  While it is important to do the hard work and it is normal to feel overwhelmed, I have since learned I am a better teacher when I take a step back, have fun, and enjoy my job.  I would have loved for someone to tell me I didn’t have to have a “perfect” classroom year one (or any year really) in order to make a positive impact for my students.  Teaching is hard but teaching is also exciting, fun, and rewarding!”

Who influenced you most to choose a career education? 

“There wasn’t just one person or one moment that inspired me to pursue a career in education.  I always wanted to be a teacher, although my reasons have changed over the years.  I attribute this desire to the amazing examples of great teachers I had in my life.  Mrs. Stratton, my third grade teacher, who gave each student a nickname and affectionately called me “Camerilla” for many years even after I left her classroom.  Mrs. Ivie, my second grade teacher, who had the most amazing stuffed dinosaurs we got to hold while we were reading.  Mrs. Gamble, my fourth grade teacher, who brought the Oregon trail unit to life.  All of these teachers, and many more, showed me what an educator can be and made me want to be part of something bigger.  Their positive influence continues to inspire me today.”

 What are the benefits you’ve seen in collaborating with other teachers? 

“Collaboration opens doors.  When professionals come together with a common purpose, the possibilities are endless.  One of my favorite things is being part of a collaborative brainstorming session where a team meets together with a question, problem, or goal to tackle.  I love watching different team members bring their own perspective, building on each other, and creating an end result that is more effective than anyone imagined at the beginning.  Successful collaboration allows for each member of a team to add their individual strengths to a larger whole.”  

“I am lucky to get to participate in collaboration as a teacher and as an instructional coach and I have seen the process increase instructional effectiveness, improve student outcomes, and build school or classroom culture many times.  I especially love collaborating about engagement strategies, room transformations, and ways we can create an exciting and welcoming environment for our students.”

How do you use student voice in your classroom and what outcomes have you seen from it? 

“Classroom meetings are a big way I use student voice in my classroom.  We have class leaders who lead our meetings as we discuss things that are going awesome and other things that we can improve on.  This is a safe opportunity for students to voice concerns and also help come up with solutions.”

“Collecting and responding to student questions is another way I use student voice.  As students ask questions throughout our units, I use those questions to drive my instruction and guide our lessons to those things my students are interested in and ready for, while also covering the required curriculum and standards.”

 What has been one of your favorite teaching moments so far? 

“There are so many!  One moment near the top of the favorite list was when a student, who had spent the first half of the school year telling me he couldn’t read, came to school one morning with a book in hand and asked if he could read it to the class.   That moment really summed up why I do what I do: help my students realize their potential, help them build their confidence, and provide them with the skills to then leave my classroom and tackle the world.”

What is a favorite unit you teach with your students? 

“When I think of some of my favorite units that I have taught, a particular third grade math unit stands out.  This also happens to be one of my favorite examples of the power of collaboration.  As a team, we knew we had a unit coming up on two-step word problems.  This is a challenging unit and tends to be daunting to both students and teachers.  Because of this, the third grade team decided we wanted to take a fresh, engaging approach to the unit.  We brainstormed together, worked through a lot of ideas, and eventually came up with an idea even better than we had anticipated at the beginning.  We decided to teach this unit with the theme of “magic.””

“We approached the two-step word problems with the twist of taking steps in magic tricks and our students became “mathmagicians.”  Along with that we tied the magic theme into other areas with books and writing activities.  An otherwise boring, daunting unit became fun and successful.  My students thrived and their assessment scores reflected that.  Not only did I get to dress up like a magician, but I also saw my students’ confidence grow throughout the process.”


Thank you for your insight Kami! I especially loved what she said about collaboration and how it opens doors when you work together! I agree wholeheartedly, and this is why I started Feature Friday! To spread the knowledge of teachers worldwide! 

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