We are proud to introduce our 31st Sunday Spotlight, featuring Katie Breitholtz who is a teacher in Henry, Illinois.One of her favorite snacks is trail mix, her classroom is ideally a space with flexible seating and she works with middle school bilingual students .She teaches because she wants to make a difference, believes in creating safe spaces that promotes learning and making mistakes, and her favorite motivation idea is “Believe you can, and you will!” We hope you enjoy the interview with Katie!
Middle School Bilingual Teacher
6 years working in education
“I believe in creating a safe space that promotes learning, making mistakes, learning from those mistakes, and empowering students to take on challenges. I want to teach lessons that will extend beyond just my classroom, and make lifelong learners.”
– Katie Breitholtz
Get to know Katie Breitholtz
What do you love about working in education? What motivates you?
I love teaching for those aha moments and the positive impact I can have on students. I work with ELs and love helping them learn the language and content. It is amazing, the moment, when a student is able to ask for something in English that s/he couldn’t do before. My students constantly challenge me and that motivates me to be the best teacher I can be.
Why did you become a teacher?
I have always wanted to become a teacher, since Kindergarten actually. I decided to teach because I want to make a difference. I just love working with kids and helping them see success through learning. For me, it was not deciding to teach that I needed to figure out, but what I wanted to teach. I finally figured out what I wanted to teach when I was doing a teach abroad in Spain. I knew during that experience that I wanted to become a bilingual teacher. I returned to the US and pursued my dream!
What is your “Edulastic story”?
I found Edulastic last year when I was scouring the internet for an online assessment tool. It was love at first sight. 🙂
Describe your favorite Edulastic “aha” moment.
Edulastic is so user-friendly. Without any videos or instructions, I started creating assessments immediately. After giving my first assessment, I realized how necessary Edulastic was in my classroom. I love the reports and how I can analyze the results to improve instruction. I have been using Edulastic ever since!
What are your teaching/learning goals this year?
My teaching goals this year are to differentiate more for the varying proficiency levels in my classroom. I do that so much more easily with Edulastic! I can give the same assignment for 3 different proficiency levels for my students. They can get more immediate feedback from me, and most of my students will ask to redo assignments if they are not happy with their results. The levels in my classroom vary from newcomers with little to no English, to students preparing to transition to general education classes with no native language support.
Sum up your teaching philosophy in a few sentences!
I believe in creating a safe space that promotes learning, making mistakes, learning from those mistakes, and empowering students to take on challenges. I want to teach lessons that will extend beyond just my classroom, and make lifelong learners.
Favorite motivational idea:
“Believe you can, and you will!”
Tips for new Edulastic users:
My motto this year is baby steps! Start with one question type, learn how to use it, then try another. Also, when in doubt, watch the tutorial videos!
Katie’s students enjoy their flexible seating while working on an Edulastic assessment.
Favorite Edulastic question type?
classification – there are so many options!
Favorite snack while using Edulastic
Spring or Fall?
Harry Potter Series
Best tactic for getting the class quiet?
I stop talking and wait for them to quiet down. As I stare at them, they start to worry about what will happen. (I just remind them to show respect to each other by listening so we can all learn.)
Must- have classroom Decor:
twinkle lights and flexible seating if possible!
Favorite time of the school year and why:
I absolutely love the first day of school. My 6th graders are so nervous, but the excitement of new possibilities is alive and well.
Kindest compliment you have received from a student or teacher?
The nicest compliment I’ve received from a student came in the form of a letter at the end of the year. She told me that I made her enjoy coming to school because I made learning fun. Also, she expressed how I was one of the first teachers to really connect with her.
Funniest student moment?
I feel like everyday there is a funny student moment! Some of the best laughs we have in class are language based humor. All the students are ELs and they spell things wrong, say different words, or love telling jokes. My favorite moments are when students spell inappropriate words on accident for spelling tests. Yes this happens more often than you would think. Most embarrassing moments come from when they ask about inappropriate things not knowing.
Greatest accomplishment in the classroom this past year:
My greatest accomplishment this year has been a successful transition from self-contained bilingual social studies class to general education social studies class with my 8th graders. In preparation for high school, my students are experiencing a general education class. They have been very quiet in class, but they are all doing well and getting comfortable! I’m so proud of them!
How do you like to spend your free time?
I love spending time with my family, baking, traveling, reading, and learning!
Does Edulastic make more work for teachers?
Edulastic requires work when creating assessments if teachers choose to make all their own questions. However, after assessments are completed, the analysis is made easy with all the reports. Grading is faster and feedback can be more immediate for students. It has made a huge difference! In my opinion, Edulastic saves time for teachers and gives more information than assessing without it!