Educator of the Month: Mandi Olson

by Kids Discover

What has your teaching career looked like?

I have always loved to learn and have always enjoyed working with students. This is my thirteenth year in education.  In the past, I have taught fourth-grade, art, and I have also been an instructional coach. I currently teach 6th-grade at Saratoga Shores Elementary in Saratoga Springs, Utah. 

Where do you teach now, and what grade/subject?

I have a very energetic, smart, and creative class of 6th-graders at Saratoga Shores Elementary in Saratoga Springs, Utah, located in the Alpine School District. I teach all content areas: math, language arts, writing, science, and social studies.

How has your teaching experience changed in 2020?

2020 has been a very interesting year in education!  This year has been like nothing I have ever experienced.  Luckily, I have had a great team of teachers, and we have worked together to create engaging online lessons to support both our in-person and online students.  I have been able to utilize a lot of different online programs to support my students, and I have learned how to provide engaging and relevant lessons to support my students, whether they are in-person or online.  I think one of the biggest changes this year has been figuring out how to seamlessly provide instruction and support to students, whether they are in-person or online; while we have been in-person in our district all year, students have been in and out all year.  As a result, I’ve learned how to provide lessons to students online at a moment’s notice, so it’s changed how I’ve approached learning in my classroom.  

When did you add Kids Discover to your classroom routine?

I started using Kids Discover this year.  As a team, we chose Kids Discover because of the vast curriculum and engaging reading options for students.  We have been very happy with this addition to our curriculum this year.

What is your favorite feature or aspect of Kids Discover?

My favorite feature is the Discover Map. The Discover Map allows students to see conceptually how different topics are intertwined, which helps students to make connections between ideas and concepts that we are learning.  As a teacher, I try to provide my students with enough surface-level knowledge to be able to support their acquisition of deeper learning to then support them as they transfer their knowledge in new and different contexts.  The Discover Map provides students with a context to be able to see the connections between different ideas, which is a deeper learning strategy.  My students also like this feature and have been very engaged when we have used it in class.

What do you love the most about teaching?

The students!  While I enjoy the content I get to teach; I really enjoy helping students understand what it means to be a learner and help them increase their understanding of the different subjects that I teach.

What are your hopes for the future of education?

I hope that teachers and teams can work together to create ways to know their impact on student learning so that, as a profession, we aren’t so reliant on standardized testing. I am hopeful that, together, teachers can develop ways to have students demonstrate their learning and progression to allow for all students to demonstrate growth.  I also hope that as a result of the pandemic, we can focus on what matters most in supporting students, using current research, so that educators can make impactful and meaningful changes as we support students in achieving their learning goals.


Kids Discover For over 25 years, we’ve been creating beautifully crafted nonfiction products for kids. With a specialty in science and social studies, our team of talented writers, award-winning designers and illustrators, and subject-experts from leading institutions is committed to a single mission: to get children excited about reading and learning.