Re: POST #1: Introductions and Sharing Your Past Experience
My name is Sonia Kunze. I am currently a 5th grade classroom teacher in Red Oak, Iowa. I have been teaching 5th grade for three years, before 5th grade I was a 4th grade teacher for nine years. Before becoming a classroom teacher, I taught K-12 English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher for six years at the beginning of my career.
When I was an ESL teacher, I used the AEA website constantly, mostly the Discovery resource, which is no longer an option. I would base my lessons around what my students were learning in their core classes and try and give them more background knowledge, information in their native languages, and support their general education classes. I would check books out, some in English, some in Spanish, and a few in Chinese. I was able to find books in the native language of my students, that had a lower readibility level and some of my students enjoyed those. Other students preferred the information in their native language at their reading level.
When I switched to a gen ed classroom setting, I relied heavily on our curriculum. However, I have come to realized how much I need to supplement some of my curriculum to meet state standards. I knew the AEA website had so much more that I could use, if only I could access it! I'm so grateful for this class. Before taking this class I was checking out novel sets to support my reading groups and now I have so many resources at my fingertips!
I work at Harlan Intermediate School in Iowa. I am currently a 3rd-grade general education teacher. I frequently order books and book sets for my classroom for a variety of projects and instruction. I have also tried some of the science kits available through the AEA. The variety of books and kits available are wonderful. The delivery is fast and simple.
My hope was that this course would help familiarize me with all the resources available that I was unaware of and felt that I wouldn't otherwise utilize. Also, I felt more knowledge of the resources introduced throughout this course could enhance the learning and teaching experience in my classroom. I just knew that there were probably some great resources that I wasn't taking advantage of and needed assistance to find out about these tools.
I am just starting my 6th year of teaching science at a junior high school in Iowa City. Half of my science sections are stand-alone, while the others are in a program that combines science with language arts and social studies. Prior to this course I was familiar with the AEA online resources and knew that they had a large library of useful items. However, I never really felt like I had the time and structure to go through them to see what was available. Therefore, I’d always fall back into the habit of googling to find lesson ideas and videos. Most of the time this came with moderate success, but I always felt like I had to spend a lot of time sifting through irrelevant search results and vetting the resources myself for quality and appropriateness. This experience is what led me to take this course. It has been nice to have a structured setting that discusses the main components of AEA resources and how we can easily access them.
I am currently a building substitute at City High School in Iowa City, Iowa. My job is to be the chameleon of the building, filling in to any and every position in the building that my school needs me to be. Some days I am filling in for three or four different teachers in the same day, so I need to be prepared for every situation every day!
I have no experience using the Iowa AEA Online resources, besides using Britannica Online when I was in high school myself.
What interested me in taking this course was that very fact, that I had never used it before and that there were so many resources at my fingertips to be able to effectively use to help my students. I believe this will especially be useful for days when there aren't very concrete substitute plans, or when there is an emergency and a teacher has to leave without preparing plans. Knowing now how many resources I can direct my students to is extremely exciting.
I have worked for ten years in mostly preschool as a classroom teacher. The school I have worked at has always had a partnership with AEA267 and I have always had a great relationship with them. I have taken some of my mandatory trainings through AEA online. I decided to take this course to learn more about the resources that the online databases have. I thought I would get access to them and be able to try new things in the classroom.
My name is Jen Rafdal. I stepped away from my classroom a few years ago in order to help my family. Prior to that I was a fourth grade teacher in the Southeast Polk School District. I first learned about the online resources offered through Heartland AEA in a course I took at Grand View University. I finished my teaching degree as an adult. Therefore, having a plethora of free resources available to a new teacher was amazing! I took a lot of notes. It was a very long time ago, but I believe my son’s elementary school had a login and password. So, I was able to experience some of the resources and practice them with my son, who was in kindergarten at the time. I later used a few of the resources in my fourth grade social studies classes. The kids enjoyed it so much. It was relevant and engaging to all of them. It became easier and easier as the years passed as we gained more access to laptops and chromebooks. Admittedly though, I was often too crazed with the workload of teaching to investigate additional ways to use any of the reading resources. I knew I was only scratching the surface in my fourth grade classroom. So, I decided to take this course to refresh my memory.
I have spent the last eight years teaching at Hempstead High School in Dubuque, Iowa. I am a Special Education teacher but I also coteach with the social studies department. While coteaching World Cultures, we would frequently use the Culture Grams website. We found it to be not only a great resource for our lessons but also a great site for our students to use while researching different countries throughout the world. Culture Grams is well designed and user friendly. With just a little guidance from myself and my co-teacher, our students were able to easily navigate their way through the website. The vast amount of information presented on each country is what makes Culture Grams so valuable. I have yet to find another website that gives such an accurate look of what daily life in a foreign country looks like. The reason I decided to take this course is to see what other websites I could implement into my classroom. I had such a great experience using Culture Grams, I wanted to learn as much as I could about the other websites AEA had to offer. I am truly excited to use more of these Resources (SiRs and Britannica) in the upcoming school year.