Kids Discover loves our teachers! We are continuing our goal to honor the amazing educators within our community with another installment of Educator of the Month. For February, I’m so happy to introduce 5th Grade Teacher, Courtney Weaver, from the Pine Tree State, Maine.
What has your teaching career looked like?
I have always been someone who has taught and enjoyed working with kids. I am in my fourth year of teaching my own class but have been a creator of children’s events for towns and corporations, a soccer coach for the town, a president of the Parent Teacher Community Organization, and Ed. Tech., and an eighth-grade advisor. My involvement with schools and children started when I first graduated from college many years ago.
Where do you teach now and what grade/subject?
I am currently a proud homeroom teacher of a hilarious and bold fifth-grade class at Surry Elementary School in Maine. Our fifth graders are wrapped into the middle school through their science class. While they go to science, I teach a sixth-grade social studies class.
How has your teaching experience changed in 2020?
In 2020, our last day of school was March 13th. We quickly moved straight into full remote learning, thinking this was a temporary thing. Remember when some of us thought that COVID would pass like a slow storm and be over in a few weeks to a month? Wow, I have learned so much since then! As teachers, we knew our students well since it was spring, and I needed to find an engaging online website that was fun, to the point, and delivered reliable, useful content. This is when I found Kids Discover. What a lifesaver.
When did you add Kids Discover to your classroom routine?
April of 2020. I find it easy to differentiate the lesson by setting the Lexile level for each student. I have set up folders that align with my units in my two social studies classes, and I find it easy to include cross-curriculum ELA and science or social studies lessons with the way content is delivered. The quick quizzes are a great time saver for a formative assessment, or there are the options to create your own assessments. As I got more familiar with the site and content, I loved having the option to choose which questions could be on a quiz after we finished a group of articles.
How has Kids Discover impacted your students?
I first introduced the site in the spring through Zoom. The kids love the Discovery Map and layers of the site with the spinning atoms. It was exciting to see their reactions. They usually find many other subjects they would like to go to. As another use for Kids Discover, I allow early finishers to pick out an article they would like to learn about.
What are your hopes for the future of education?
That we continue to have the freedom and time to respond to the students. COVID has given us the time to take on individual students’ instruction at precisely the level where they are. We always want to do this as an educator, but I believe we struggle with time to complete the curriculum. Last spring, and this year, we are given the freedom to move at a different pace, the pace the students set. We have had some fantastic conversations, community building, and an openness to letting the kids explore, ask, and discover.