THIS GIRL! :)
Funny story. We were in the middle of the week with the 3 days of state testing, in which every student has to be like SILENT all day long, and of course, the kids are about going berSERK by the 3rd day. So we teachers decided that the kids deserved to watch a movie. I know, I know. It was only April. Plenty of learning left, but dang. They had worked so hard being SUPER QUIET. So anyway (I'm long-winded), I'm the techy person on my team, and I headed down to the library to work on getting the Streaming DVD working. (Don't get me started on this piece of junk, lol.) So I called my teammate and said, "Hey, go down to my room and see if it's playing." I waited a few minutes, and called my room, and my PRINCIPAL ANSWERED. Um. Yeah. I about had a heart attack. Times 3. She said that I needed to come down to my room right now. I was FREAKING OUT, Y'ALL.
THEN, when I turned into my classroom, not only was my boss standing there, but so was our SUPERINTENDENT. HO-LEE. COW. I had no idea what was happening, and I'm sure I looked like a dadgum deer in headlights.
Come to find out, he was there to give me an AWARD! I had been named a Super Teacher for the district! They gave me a t-shirt, a magnet, and a notepad! (My students thought I was super cool.) Hehe. Then on Friday our Superintendent took all the "Super Teachers" to lunch and gave us plaques. :)
So, our G/T Specialist nominated me--how sweet of her! Super Teachers are recognized for creating 21st century, innovative, student-led lessons. Here is her nomination letter:
Gayla Cockrell is a second grade teacher at Lakeside. She consistently creates her own projects and activities, rather than use pre-made ones. Gayla builds in authentic extensions for the higher-level learners, while still preserving the "fun factor" and student-choice for her below-level learners. This makes differentiation appear seamless within her classroom, and protects the student’s feelings about their abilities among their peers, which is paramount for all learners. For their February research project, she created a Famous African American unit using the Super 3 research method, and student choice. First, she selected age appropriate websites and then developed QR codes to ensure that her learners are successful in accessing these sites with ease for research. Then she created a high-interest, kid-inspired activity for her students to use when taking notes, as well as embedded a vocabulary study for her students to collect new words and locate definitions on their own. Each quadrant of the research activity has a guiding question to focus their research from facts about their birth and death, the important achievements, and the relevance to the present. For the student product of this unit, she provides a list of technology products, art based products, and I Pad product apps, as well as allows her students to propose their own product. Each list has 6 choices, and all have been introduced to her students through prior lessons/units. Perhaps most importantly, the kids conclude their unit with a self-evaluation which asks them to consider their own feelings about their work, and allows them to make their own suggestions for improvement. This initiates the important task of independent reflection of effort at a young age. Gayla is truly a super teacher at Lakeside!
This really made my year (it was a really rough year for me) and made me feel so appreciated. You know, as hard as we work, it just feels good for someone to say thank you sometimes. :)
I hope you all are enjoying your summer as much as I am! (Assuming you are on summer vacation...)
Thanks for reading!