Our educator profile this week is of Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award recipient Karen Chouinard-Sheedy, who teaches cosmetology at William J. Dean Technical High School in Holyoke, MA. You can hear her dedication to and appreciation of teaching in her responses to the following questions.
What motivated you to become a teacher/educator? I started out as a professional in the cosmetology trade. Throughout my years working behind the chair, I had the opportunity to educate my clients about their hair and skin needs. I wanted to expand my horizons and decided to go back to school and become an educator in my field.
What support did you receive, or wish you had received, early in your career? I was very fortunate to have a great mentor when I began my career at Dean Tech High School. Her name is Sandie Longpre, and she was running the Cosmetology Department at Dean when I arrived there. She inspired me to become the instructor that I am today.
What keeps you enthusiastic about teaching/education, and where do you find inspiration? Through the years, so much has changed in education and hairstyle trends. It is both exciting and challenging to keep up with the rigouous needs of both DESE and the Industry.
Do you have a favorite resource, website, lesson/activity that you’d like to share? Because of the nature of the subject that I teach (cosmetology), I am constantly including differenciated activities to present the frameworks of the technical program.
How do you try to balance the demands of your professional and personal life? I am at the point in my life where the demands of my personal life are minimal. My family is grown, and many of the responsibilities that go along with a growing family are no longer an issue. This gives me more time to plan lessons and attend professional development activities. I also work as a graduation coach and mentor in my building.
These are the words of 7th grade math teacher, Bonnie Wareham, when describing her students almost unanimous agreement about enjoying her flipped classroom iPad project, for which she received a 2012 Teacher Innovator Award . The annual Teacher Innovation Awards are sponsored by PBS LearningMedia and the Henry Ford.
For this pilot project, she and the class designed “Ladder of Success” together as “ a way for students to demonstrate their understanding of Common Core standards.” She describes the program as a “joy” that allowed her to immediately review students work and give feedback, which then provided them with a process for reviewing and revising their work before returning it for a final assessment.
You can read how this method transformed the classroom environment where students have endless options such as creating movies, picture collages, puppet shows, snapshots of written work and cartoons. In addition to — and more important than – their higher grades, Bonnie shares how “students are able to explain their understanding in math language, work collaboratively, and are confident in their abilities. They are creating their own situations and then solving them.”
What do you think about flipped learning or this “Ladder of Success” pilot project? What challenges and/or successes have you had teaching math?
Especially since March is Women’s History, MAKERS.com is a great site to visit. Part of the unprecedented digital video and broadcast initiative responsible for the documentary “MAKERS: Women Who Make America,” which aired on WGBY in February, MAKERS.com has numerous interviews that the New York Times described as “often fascinating.”
Whether for you or students, these short, inspiring videos include each woman sharing the most meaningful advice she every received. Among the many interviews are those of Marian Wright Edelman, founder of Children’s Defense Fund, which includes her experiences surrounding the death of MLKing, and Ophelia Neal, World Health Care Advocate and daughter of actress Partricia Neal and children’s author Raul Dahl, discussing her mother’s strength during great adversity and her own work in Haiti.
And at MAKERS.com you can also help honor women who are innovating the classroom and developing the next generation of MAKERS by nominating a teacher for a $10,000 grant!
The Pathways Within Roads to Reading Initiative donates books to literacy programs in small and rural low-income communities. Maximum award: 200 books appropriate for readers age 0 to young adult; English only
Eligibility: 501(c)(3) organizations that run school, after-school, summer, community, day-care, and library reading and literacy programs; must have an annual operating budget of less than $95,000 (schools and libraries are exempt from this budget requirement) and be located in an under-served community with a population of less than 50,000
Deadline: March 30, 2013.
UPDATE: This grant program is now closed.
Edwyna Wheadon Postgraduate Training Scholarship provides funding for professional development experiences for English/Language Arts teachers in public educational institutions, to enhance teaching skills and/or career development in teaching
Maximum award: $500
Eligibility: teachers of English/Language Arts in a publicly funded institution
Deadline: January 31, 2013
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Shade Structure Program gives grants for the purchase of permanent shade structures designed to provide shade and ultraviolet (UV) ray protection for outdoor areas. AAD also provides a permanent sign to be displayed near the shade structure that promotes the importance of sun safety.
Maximum award: $8,000
Eligibility: nonprofit organization or public schools that primarily serve children and teens 18 and younger; demonstrate an ongoing commitment to sun safety and skin cancer awareness by having a sun safety/skin cancer awareness program in place for at least one year prior to application; and are sponsored by an AAD member dermatologist.
Deadline: February 1, 2013.
NEA Learning & Leadership Grants support public school teachers, public education support professionals, and/or faculty and staff in public institutions of higher education for one of two purposes. Grants to individuals fund participation in high-quality professional development experiences such as summer institutes or action research; grants to groups fund collegial study, including study groups, action research, lesson study, or mentoring experiences for faculty or staff new to an assignment.
Maximum award: $5,000
Eligibility: public school teachers grades K–12; public school education support professionals; or faculty and staff at public higher education institutions
Deadline: February 1, 2013
Note: WGBY is not affiliated with this grantmaking program. Please contact the funding agency directly for more information.
The PBS Teacher Innovator Awards recognize innovative PreK-12 classroom educators, media specialists, technology coordinators, and home-school educators who use digital media to enhance student learning. Entrants submit a short video or PDF with text and images that showcases their work. Entries can be a demonstration of a unique teaching technique or the outcome of influence on a student work.
Maximum award: all-paid, week-long “Innovation Immersion Experience” at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan in August 2013; free professional development from PBS TeacherLine.
Eligibility: preK-12 classroom educators (public, private, or charter school), library media specialists, technology specialists/coordinators, home-school educators, and Head Start or licensed daycare teachers.
Deadline: December 12, 2012.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Connecting Mathematics to Other Subject Areas Grants help create senior high classroom materials or lessons connecting mathematics to other fields. Materials may be in the form of books, visual displays, computer programs or displays, slide shows, videotapes, or other appropriate media. The focus of these materials should be on showing the connectivity of mathematics to other fields or to the world around us. Any acquisition of equipment or payment of personal stipends must be critical to the grant proposal and may not be a major portion of the proposed budget. Any published sources must be documented. Proposals must address the following: the plan for developing and evaluating materials, the connectivity to other fields or disciplines, and anticipated impact on students’ learning.
Maximum award: $4,000
Eligibility: current (as of October 15, 2012) Full Individual or E-Members of NCTM who currently teach mathematics in grades 9–12 at least 50 percent of the school day
Deadline: November 9, 2012.
The Christopher Columbus Awards is a national, community-based STEM competition for middle school students and teachers looking to make a difference in their community. Working in teams, students identify a problem in the community and apply the scientific method to create an innovative solution.
Maximum award: $25,000 grant
Eligibility: schools (grades 6-8) and community groups
Deadline: February 4, 2013