We are proud to introduce our twenty-eighth Sunday Spotlight, featuring Michelle Harris who is a Teacher in Blount County, Tennessee. Michelle became a teacher so she could help kids understand how fun and amazing science can be. She loves the glow that students get when a new concept “clicks” for them and she has some great tips for new Edulastic users. We hope you enjoy the interview with Michelle!
“I love light bulbs. I love when I get a chance to see a student who struggles to understand a concept but perseveres long enough for the concept to “click” have their light bulb moment. You can literally see the glow of understanding when the mysterious and murky suddenly becomes clear. I feel like a rock star when I help my students get to that point.”
Get to know Michelle Harris
What do you love about working in education? What motivates you?
I love light bulbs. I love when I get a chance to see a student who struggles to understand a concept but perseveres long enough for the concept to “click” have their light bulb moment. You can literally see the glow of understanding when the mysterious and murky suddenly becomes clear. I feel like a rock star when I help my students get to that point.
Why did you become a teacher?
I wanted kids to understand how amazing and fun science really can be.
What is your “Edulastic story”?
I ran across Edulastic in a Google Plus community posting about the Best 10-15 apps or websites for educators. I sampled my way through the list, but didn’t dive too deeply into any of the sites. About 6 months later, I became the instructional technology coach for my high school. In a meeting with ITC at the other high school in our district, she re-introduced me to Edulastic. Her enthusiasm was contagious and I was hooked!
Describe your favorite Edulastic “aha” moment.
I have had several “aha” moments since finding Edulastic. The first moment came when I finally figured out how to search for content that might already be available. The next came after I watched a a few videos about the different question types I could create. The first time I used it in class and the kids got to experience more than just multiple choice questions AND they got immediate feedback was the day I was decided I had found the perfect tool for me.
What are your teaching/learning goals this year?
For Edulastic, I want to branch out from my regular question types and learn how to create a few more. For teaching in in general, my goal is to help my students choose “teaching content” on a topic for themselves.
Sum up your teaching philosophy!
Every Kid Every Day.
Favorite motivational idea:
Fall down seven times, get up eight. You’re never defeated until you give up.
Tips for new Edulastic users:
- Find an Edulastic buddy, either in your building, district, or virtual (hit me up on Twitter @Michelle_2_Ls)
- To help you when you have questions, model the life long learner characteristics we expect of of kids by taking control of your own learning but be patient with yourself as you learn.
- And finally, don’t be afraid to make mistakes in front of your colleagues or your students. Mistakes aren’t a waste of time, they are learning opportunities and can give you a great teachable moment for what to do when something doesn’t work the way you thought it would.
Favorite Edulastic question type?
Favorite snack while using Edulastic
Spring or Fall?
The Kite Runner
Best tactic for getting the class quiet?
I talk nonsense quietly at the front of the class. After the first few people realize what I’m doing, they giggle, and that usually becomes a wave of people getting quiet so they can hear what seems to be so funny.
Must- have classroom Decor:
#winning banner with the school mascot
Greatest accomplishment in the classroom this past year:
Several of my students were accepted into Governor’s School programs (which is more about them than me, but it makes me proud).
Favorite time of the school year and why:
I love the time between October and December. The frantic pace of a beginning a new year as subsided, I’ve gotten to the kids and they have gotten to know me, and the class personality is well developed. At that point, I have learned what motivates them and they have learned that they can get through the hard material and we can have fun doing it.
Kindest compliment you have received from a student or teacher?
I had a student I asked to be a peer coach for a classmate who had some serious intellectual delays. The peer coach was a quiet, shy young freshman girl who didn’t realize she had the confidence to help someone else until she had to. She peer taught for me for the next three years, and in her senior year she told me she had decided to become a teacher, in part because of her experiences in my class.
Funniest student moment?
I had students doing group presentations on different biomes and a student came in full gorilla costume to present Tropical Rain Forests.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Singing, reading, and playing with my puppy dog
Why did the chicken cross the road?
To show the possum it could be done.