Get to know Carissa Dickinson

Introducing Edulastic Innovator Spotlight member Carissa Dickinson! Carissa is a 7th and 8th Grade Math Teacher in Watertown, NY. Carissa has worked in education for 8 years and has used Edulastic for half of her teaching journey. Check out Carissa’s story below!

Why do you love about teaching?

My favorite part about teaching is getting to know my students and creating relationships that foster a positive environment in my classroom. Once those bonds are formed, teaching is easy! A lot of kids struggle with math, but that trust formed in class helps eliminate the frustration of not understanding a concept. Once students feel comfortable, they are not afraid to participate in discussions more, work with others in class, ask questions, make mistakes, and learn new things!

Why did you become a teacher?

I always liked math in school, but one year I had a math teacher who made me hate it. I remember feeling so frustrated, confused, and amazed that one person could make a subject that I liked feel so terrible. I decided after that school year that I wanted to be a math teacher! I wanted to make a difference, help kids like math and not hate it, and make sure no student has to experience the feelings I did that one year in school.

How did you discover Edulastic?

A coworker and I were trying to figure out how we wanted to administer our final one year. We had a quick turnaround for grades due and we wanted to allow tests to be read to any student who needed it. My coworker had been using Edulastic a bit and suggested we try that for our final. We did it and loved it! After that year, I went on to use Edulastic several times throughout each school year and my kids loved it. Edulastic was a lifesaver this last year. We had hybrid students who came to school twice a week and remote students who never steppped foot in the building. All our quizzes and tests were given on Edulastic and it was perfect for both groups of students!

My favorite “aha” moment was this past year when our math department was trying to figure out how to give tests and quizzes to hybrid and remote students. I immediately thought of Edulastic and I got to watch my coworkers have that same “aha” moment I had several years back. It was exciting to show them how it worked and what we could do with it. Our science and social studies departments are starting to jump on board too, so I’ve also enjoyed sharing what I know and watching them have “aha” moments as well!

What are your teaching goals this school year?

My number one goal this year is to get my classroom to be almost completely student centered. I am really focusing on discovery learning, hands on activities, and a lot of collaboration in student groups and with the teacher. I am really excited to see how this year goes!

What are some tips for teachers who are new to Edulastic?

My biggest tip is to take the time to look at all that Edulastic has to offer. Explore the site completely! I still learn new things about it each time I use it.

Fun Facts

Favorite time of the school year?

I really enjoying getting to know my incoming 7th graders and catching up with my 8th graders in September. It always feels like a clean slate and I like the excitement of the new school year!

Must-have classroom decor?

Pictures! I have tons of pictures of my family, friends, and team of coworkers in my classroom. I also love my lights around my SmartBoard!

Funniest student moment?

So many! One of my favorites though is when I do student-teacher role reversals. I become a student and a student becomes the teacher. I have had some students go to the board and try to imitate me as a teacher. It always gets me laughing!

Favorite book?

The Giver by Lois Lowry and EDrenaline Rush by John Meehan

Favorite Edulastic question type?

The graphing question types! So easy to use and I love the visual for students!

Kindest compliment you have received from a student?

I enjoy the midpoint of a class. Sometimes, the beginning of the year can seem overwhelming trying to get everyone on the same page and the end of the course is often stressful as you are preparing for exams. I truly enjoy time in the classroom where students can focus on real-world applications.

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