Updated: Dec 11, 2019
By Danielle White
I love bringing a love for reading and learning into my classroom. I have been teaching for 12 years--in PreK4, kindergarten, first grade, and fourth grade--and every year I have set a goal for what I want to challenge my students with academically to help foster a love for learning in them. Sometimes that means changing how I teach and learning ways to enhance my students’ learning styles so that I can reach everyone.
As a DCPS teacher (currently at Lawrence E. Boone Elementary School in Ward 8), I am required to meet 120 hours of professional learning every 4 years. However, the professional learning opportunities offered within DCPS are not necessarily geared toward every teacher’s professional goals or specialty. For this reason, I was excited when I learned that Trinity Washington University had a partnership with Washington Teachers’ Union. At Trinity College I found a few classes that spoke to my ambition to give my students a richer learning experience. I signed up for the Math Thinking course, which gave me background information and resources to teach mathematics in my classroom in a way that would give every type of learner a chance to excel. I learned better ways to teach students to use strategies to show how they solve problems. I learned how to teach students to use discussion in the classroom to share their thinking about math.
The Math Thinking course was offered on Saturdays from 8 am - 5 pm for 8 sessions at Miner Elementary. It was a long day but it gave me the opportunity to dive deep into the study of some of the misconceptions of how children learned mathematics in early education. Each session we studied the 8 standards of mathematics and developed strategies that my students could use the following week. Through this experience, I was able to take back fun math games for my students to try. I documented their experiences, wrote papers evaluating how effective the experience had been, and made necessary changes to adapt the technique.
One very memorable moment that I experienced was being able to try out some of the games and math strategies with other teachers. It helped me understand how to plan for mistakes that my students might make and misconceptions that they may have as new learners. It was good to collaborate and share the findings with other educators. Sometimes the games or activities were geared toward higher grade levels. We would then brainstorm how to adapt them to meet the needs and objectives of our learners.
GrantEd's vital role in giving me the opportunity to pay for a class that I otherwise would not have been able to afford is priceless. I was able to bring back a love for learning to the students that I serve every day. The knowledge I gained will continue to touch students for years to come.