We are proud to introduce our seventeenth Sunday Spotlight, featuring Karen Ford who is an ELA Teacher at the Annie Sullivan Middle School in Franklin, MA. Karen loves integrating technology into the classroom, enjoys January because it’s when student’s writing starts to come together, and her favorite question type is the Passage-based question. We hope you enjoy this awesome interview with Karen!
Middle School ELA
Annie Sullivan Middle School
5 years working in education
“My student learning goal is to improve their synthesis writing. This is an important skill for this generation of learners. It helps with critical thinking and writing to assess different author’s techniques at getting the same point across. It helps them to question and really inspect what they are reading.”
Get to know Karen Ford
What do you love about working in education? What motivates you?
I love working with adolescents. I fall in love with my students every year. It’s really cool to be an English teacher and to have the privilege of witnessing the growth of the students’ writing throughout the year. Literature teaches us so much about life and I continually learn new insights from my 8th graders.
Why did you become a teacher?
Both of my parents were teachers, so teaching is probably in my blood. I started my career as a social worker with adolescents, and then stayed home when I had my own children. When they were young, I volunteered in their schools and realized that I love being part of the energy in a classroom. I was an English major in college and have always loved reading and writing, so I wanted to share my enthusiasm for the subject with teenagers. I went back to school to get my teaching degree and here I am!
What is your “Edulastic story”?
I have always loved integrating technology with education. My first year in public school, I wanted to make sure that students felt prepared for their standardized assessments without focusing too much on “MCAS preparation.” My mentor mentioned that she had come across Edulastic, and I started experimenting with the application. I began making warm ups with my content and had a lot of success. It helped me assess the student comprehension of my content, and I was able to review test taking techniques with the students on a regular basis so that they are comfortable with the style of standardized testing.
Describe your favorite Edulastic “aha” moment.
I realized that Edulastic was going to be a great fit when I saw the data coming up the first time the students took an Edulastic warm up. It’s immediate and helps me to plan for further instruction. As much time as I spend planning, it is great to be able to tailor my teaching to the exact needs of the students.
What are your teaching/learning goals this year?
This year, I am focusing on positive parent communication. So many times, I find that I am emailing parents about student issues. However, this isn’t an accurate representation of what is happening in the class. I wanted to make sure that the students’ accomplishments and wonderful learning traits were recognized by their parents, as well.
My student learning goal is to improve their synthesis writing. This is an important skill for this generation of learners. It helps with critical thinking and writing to assess different author’s techniques at getting the same point across. It helps them to question and really inspect what they are reading.
Sum up your teaching philosophy in a few sentences!
Tips for new Edulastic users:
Use the help button!!! I still go back to the help videos when I am confused about which type of question is which. Experiment and play with the app. It will probably take longer to set up your first several assignments, but the data you receive and the quick response is totally worth the up front time.
Favorite Edulastic question type?
Favorite snack while using Edulastic
Whatever is in front of me at the time- I love food!
Coffee or tea?
Spring or Fall?
Best tactic for getting the class quiet?
Put my finger on the tip of my nose. When my son was little, I used to try to get his attention that way. One day after he had learned to talk, he was trying to get my attention and he yelled at me, “Mommy, Mommy, listen to my nose.”
At the beginning of the year, I tell that story to my students and let them know I am going to use that technique to get their attention. Now if I put my finger on my nose, the students all say, “Listen to my nose!”
Must- have classroom Decor:
Books, books, and more books
Favorite time of the school year and why:
I love January as an English teacher because this is when their writing really starts to come together.
Kindest compliment you have received from a student or teacher?
My first year of teaching, I had a 7th grade student who loved writing. We worked together all year to bring her writing to a more “sophisticated” level, because what 7th grade girl doesn’t want to be more sophisticated? A couple of years later, I ran into her and her mother in a grocery store. They told me that she had just earned a major writing award in her community. They both said at the same time, “We call it the Mrs. Ford Award.”
Funniest moment on the job?
Every day I laugh aloud with students. I’m having trouble isolating one moment.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Reading, eating, spectating at my kids’ various sports and activities