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How I Advise
Why Tennessee’s Abecedary of the Year uses penguins to admonition her first-graders abound as readers, writers, and thinkers By Marta W. Aldrich – December 18, 2018 PHOTO: Alan Poizner Melissa Miller reads aloud to her first-grade chic at Franklin Elementary Academy in Franklin, Tennessee. Now in her 20th year of teaching, Miller is Tennessee’s 2018-19 Abecedary of the Year. Facebook Twitter Email
Here, in a affection we alarm How I Teach, we ask educators who’ve been accustomed for their assignment how they access their jobs. You can see added pieces in the alternation here.
Melissa Miller loves to read, adores teaching first-graders, and has a allure for penguins.
It’s no surprise, then, that an anniversary highlight for Tennessee’s Abecedary of the Year is teaching a science assemblage she created to get her first-graders account and acquirements about the different amphibian bird.
“We accept so abundant we can apprentice about and from penguins,” Miller explains. “They assignment together, allotment responsibilities, attending out for anniversary other, adulation anniversary added for life, and persevere in the best arduous situations.”
The assemblage begins during the algidity with account that lets acceptance apprentice penguin facts and assort them by blush and topic. Again in the spring, they do book letters on penguins — projects that “celebrate how far anniversary adolescent has appear as a clairvoyant and writer.”
“The assemblage encompasses aggregate I accept about teaching and learning,” Miller says. “It puts me in the position as facilitator of learning. My admiration is to ammunition students’ affection for acquirements by teaching with passion.”
Now in her 20th year of teaching, Miller works at Franklin Elementary Academy in Franklin, south of Nashville. Her activity as a abecedary and ability in class and technology are amid the affidavit that she was called Tennessee’s 2018-19 Abecedary of the Year.
Miller talked with Chalkbeat about why teaching acceptance to apprehend is her greatest passion, how she ally with parents to body classroom rapport, and the upside of behavioral challenges.
This account has been abridged and agilely edited.
Was there a moment aback you absitively to become a teacher?
I capital to be a abecedary alpha as a kindergarten apprentice in Columbia, Tennessee. My teacher, Ms. Portia Lea, was so admiring and encouraging, she aloof won me over. I accept taken abroad a admired assignment from anniversary abecedary that I had in my adventure against my career. I feel like they are allotment of who I am. I aloof appetite to accord to my acceptance the aforementioned acquaintance of love, encouragement, hope, belief, and backbone that I received.
Why elementary-age students? What’s the best affair about that age group?PHOTO: TN.gov“My abundant affection is teaching kids to read!” says Miller.
My abundant affection is teaching kids to read! Account opens the doors to their apple and windows of possibilities for their future. I accept accomplished kindergarten through fourth grade, but acquisition myself best at home in aboriginal brand giving that able foundation in reading. My first-graders are sponges for knowledge. Anniversary adolescent is as different as a snowflake. They are aloof as admiring and auspicious for me as I am for them.
How do you get to apperceive your students?
At the alpha of the academy year, I accelerate home a check for parents to allotment their insights. During the aboriginal few weeks of school, we do community-building activities anniversary day. I charge to apperceive what motivates anniversary student, their admired books, their ancestors members, their pets, and what they appetite to be aback they abound up. While account books such as “Amazing Grace,” “The Important Book,” “Chrysanthemum,” “I Like Me,” and “Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge,” we apprentice abounding things about anniversary added and absolutely become a family.
Tell us about a admired assignment to teach. Area did the abstraction appear from?
My admired acquaint to advise are aural the Penguin Analysis Assemblage that I created. Acceptance analysis what penguins eat, area they live, their characteristics, dangers, and adaptations. In the process, the acceptance apprentice that their accuracy are like folders and that they charge to adapt admonition in adjustment to bethink it. They booty in new facts and assort them by blush and topic. Again they abode a book abode complete with table of contents, headings, captions, diagrams, columnist information, and a glossary. Those letters are apprehend and edited by a bounded columnist afore we broadcast them for others in the academy to read. Because this happens in the spring, it’s a time to bless how far anniversary adolescent has appear as a clairvoyant and writer. The assemblage ties calm fiction, nonfiction, writing, math, and science standards. Even at 6 and 7 years old, the kids are acquirements to analysis their wonderings and authoritative access on how to accord to the apple about them.
What article would you be abandoned after during the academy day?
A funny call is my Mr. Sketch Scented Markers in all sizes to actualize ballast charts. A austere call is the affluent abstract that I accept calm through the years. I don’t aggregate things, I aggregate books. A fun date night for my bedmate and me is activity to the bookstore for coffee and added books.
What was the better delusion that you initially brought to teaching?
One of the quick acquaint I abstruse came aback I started out by communicating with parents already per anniversary about their child’s behavior. I bound begin out that account would not work. Parents charge circadian communication. They cannot abode problems if I don’t acquaint them appropriate away. The best admonition plan is the one that gets the best collaboration. It strengthens the affiliation amid abecedary and parents.
What’s the best admonition you’ve accustomed about teaching?
“If you attending beautiful and aroma pretty, your kids will adulation you.” That came in the aboriginal anniversary of my aboriginal year. Not alone was this funny advice, it keeps things fun!
You serve as a aggregation baton and coach at your school. What admonition do you accord to new teachers?
Love your students! Anniversary one is an alone with their own ability and challenges. Get to apperceive what motivates them, because anniversary one is unique. Listen, absolutely listen, to your students. Apperceive the names of their siblings, admired sports, admired authors, and pets. Greet anniversary apprentice with a smile and a claimed message. And accomplish anniversary day count!
Tell us about a memorable time — acceptable or bad — aback acquaintance with a student’s ancestors afflicted your angle or approach.
Anytime I acquaintance a ancestor about behavioral challenges, it changes my angle and approach. This is area affinity and benevolence appear together. Understanding the adolescent abysmal bottomward gives me a snapshot into what motivates them and what does not. It guides me in authoritative home-school access ultimately to account both places. I charge to accept area they are advancing from in adjustment to admonition them see the eyes for area they can go.
What allotment of your job is best difficult?
I am consistently ON. My apperception is on my kids at academy as aggregate I do and everywhere I go ties aback to teaching and acquirements adventures that I can share.
What are you account for enjoyment?
“Love Does” by Bob Goff
Do you accept a admired adduce you’d like to allotment with added educators?
“Positive bodies on absolute teams aftermath absolute after-effects and the capital additive is absolute energy.” —Jon Gordon from “The Activity Bus”
By Marta W. Aldrich @marta_w_aldrich Media In this story: Franklin Special Academy District, How I Teach, Melissa Miller, Reading, Abecedary of the year, Teaching Facebook Twitter Email Republish Print View Comments