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2015: Energized, Engaged, Patient and Prepared

2015: Energized, Engaged, Patient and Prepared

by Kate Smith, York County Teacher of the Year Music and Outdoor Classroom, Central School

I can juggle. Not literally, unfortunately. That third ball really throws me off. But figuratively I am one of the best jugglers around. I have been known to manage three grant projects, numerous committee responsibilities, concerts, a full teaching schedule and my children's after-school activities at the same time. Recently, however, I decided it was time to do a little less juggling.
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Increasing Parent and Community Involvement in Local Schools

Increasing Parent and Community Involvement in Local Schools

by Ann Luginbuhl, 2014 Washington County Teacher of the Year 6th-8th Grade, Charlotte Elementary School

On December 5, 2104 Educate Maine held the Pipeline to Prosperity Symposium in Portland to honor Maine's best educators and business leaders. In addition, break out sessions were held to foster communication and collaboration between educational and business leaders. I moderated a session on fostering parental and community involvement in local schools. All of the participants agreed parental and community involvement in schools represents a win-win for all parties and many ideas to increase these interactions were discussed. 
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Using Backward Design to Improve Student Writing

Using Backward Design to Improve Student Writing

by Jennifer Dorman, Somerset County Teacher of the Year & 2015 Maine Teacher of the Year 7th and 8th grade English/Language Arts and Special Education, Skowhegan Area Middle School

Today’s Common Core Standards require students to comprehend complex text across the curriculum. The Standards focus on the need for students to develop a deeper understanding of content knowledge. Likewise, the Common Core Standards demand a heavier emphasis on informational and argument writing. Students must convey deeper levels of understanding, and consequently must be fluent in using evidence from a variety of sources when writing. 
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Cutting through the Jargon, Understanding Current Educational Reforms

Cutting through the Jargon, Understanding Current Educational Reforms

by Eric Varney, Sagadahoc County Teacher of the Year Science, Morse High School

When it comes to education, there is no lack of public opinion. Since virtually everyone has had some significant experience in the classroom, we have also formed our own opinions on education. These opinions are built from our own unique vantage point and often vary widely. However, agreement can be found on one front; there is no lack of jargon in education.
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It’s Not a Vacation for Everyone

It’s Not a Vacation for Everyone

by Dyan McCarthy-Clark, Piscataquis Teacher of the Year 8th Grade Social Studies, SeDoMoCha Middle School

This is the time of year where it seems as if we have a vacation every time we turn around. It’s a time for teachers and students alike to rejuvenate. Teachers often take stock of the progress being made and adjust the course of instruction to address the varied needs of their students…and take some time to relax. Students get a chance to rest from the rigor and structure of the school day.
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Place-based Learning

Place-based Learning

by Victoria Grotton, Penobscot County Teacher of the Year Pre-K, Glenburn School

Have you ever carefully observed a three, four, or five year old in a garden? On a nature trail? In a mud puddle? The splashing is purposeful. The shouting is expressive. The climbing is rewarding. The touching is...slimy! This excitement exists in place-based learning and active teaching.
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Creative Writing – It’s Not Just a Spectator’s Sport in My Classroom

Creative Writing – It’s Not Just a Spectator’s Sport in My Classroom

by Cory Chase, Lincoln County Teacher of the Year 7th-8th Grade Language Arts, Boothbay Region Elementary School

I have noticed throughout my years of teaching, that I have not had a huge focus on creative writing. Often my lessons have revolved around the informational text: how to answer questions, how to reflect, and how to respond, and the always enjoyable grammar rules. Last year, my schedule changed to add another class that was based on Language Arts.
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Creating a Positive School Environment that Nurtures all Students as Learners

Creating a Positive School Environment that Nurtures all Students as Learners

by Kristi Todd, Knox County Teacher of the Year Kindergarten Teacher, Union Elementary School

At Union Elementary School, in Union, we work collaboratively to create nurturing classroom climates and a positive school environment. We work together towards building positive relationships and communicating clear expectations for behavior to students, parents, staff, and our community. At our school, we believe in building a culture of "our kids" where teachers believe that every student is their responsibility - not just the ones in their classroom.
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Habits of Mind are Measures of Success

Habits of Mind are Measures of Success

by Daniel Crocker, Kennebec County Teacher of the Year 5th-8th Grade Math, Hall-Dale Middle School

November is a good time to reflect on the school year so far. A few months are in and I have a decent handle on my classes and students. As with any reflection, my mind casts a wide net on topics – especially when I consider those areas where I can improve my practice. For instance, at our recent visit with members of Senator King's staff, we often brought up the employability of our students.
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Igniting Curiosity: Using

Igniting Curiosity: Using "Emergent Curriculum" to build a community of curious learners

by Sarah Reynolds, Franklin County Teacher of the Year 4th Grade, Cascade Brook School

As a novice gardener, I felt a surge of disappointment one evening after scurrying out to my raised beds only to discover the foliage on my tomato plants nearly destroyed. After further investigation, I jumped back in horror when I saw some enormous, green, worm-like creatures all over my plants. I couldn't even bear the thought of touching one, and I even found a few covered in eggs. That was all I needed--a reproducing garden-eating monster!
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