$103 Gift Card for classroom supplies provided by Concordia University
Crystal Apple Award is a beautifully sculpted reminder of achievement and commitment to students and education, sponsored by K103 and Concordia University
Concordia University Continuing Education Scholarship winner will be randomly drawn from this year's Educator of the Week honorees. Teacher education has been the cornerstone of Concordia University for more than 100 years, and this scholarship is one way that Concordia joins students and the community to thank educators for all they do!
All of this year's weekly winners of the EOW are eligible • scholarship redeemable for one graduate or undergraduate course up to three (3) credits, with selection from among all courses available at Concordia University on-campus, online or off-site. • Course selection will be on a space available basis • winner must be qualified for the courses they select. (For example, someone without a bachelor's degree would not qualify for a graduate level course.) • The course must be started within 12 months of the award. • Fees and books are not included. • If a recipient chooses not to take a course, there will be no monetary compensation or reimbursement, and there will be no cash reimbursement if a recipient withdraws from a course for any reason. • Additional restrictions may apply.
Nominated by fellow Kindergarten teacher, Annette Bacon:
I want to nominate my long time teaching partner Heatherle Chambers for Educator of the Week. We have taught full-day kindergarten together for the better part of ten years, so we like to say that we share a brain and a plan book. Heatherle is a HUGE fan of the Olympic Games and for three years now she has been involved in a program called Classroom Champions that matches classrooms to Olympic athlete and Paralympic athlete mentors for a year-long conversation about goal setting, playing fair and working hard. Using technology is a big part of the program, and Heatherle has embraced this aspect as well. Gold Medalist Steve Mesler of the Night Train bobsled team and his sister Leigh started Classroom Champions when Steve was training for the Vancouver games. Their parents were teachers, and Leigh was a teacher prior to earning a doctorate in educational policy, and they wanted to do something to connect students to athlete role models and teach the value of technology as a communication tool. The program was intended for classes in grades 3 through 8, but Heatherle applied anyway. Steve and Leigh later told her that there was no way they wanted to do the program without her after reading the essays that she wrote about how she used the Vancouver Games in her class to talk about the fact that there is a big world out there, and that students should set goals and work hard so they can be in charge of their futures. She also used the Games to start a conversation with the kids about finding exercise that they love, and fueling their bodies for success in sports and academics. Out of 150 applications, Heatherle was the first person they called for one of the 25 spots the first year of the program. That first year she proved that kindergarten students could understand big concepts like goal setting, and could benefit from using technology to communicate, document and collaborate. She learned to Skype with her classroom, and make digital videos. Usually, kindergarten gets hand-me-down technology, or none at all, so this has changed the way that Heatherle teaches, and has encouraged me to use more tech with my students too. The second year of the program, Heatherle was one of six Lead Teachers who designed lessons for the new teachers, and for the main website accessible to teachers worldwide. She began hosting video conferences with new teachers, and mentoring a middle school student in video and still photography production. This last spring she helped select new teachers for the expansion into Canada, and participated in meetings that set the course for the program for this year. Over the summer she wrote an in-depth document about bringing the Paralympics into the classroom for the new teachers. An edition of that will most likely be shared worldwide before the Sochi Paralympics in March 2014. She also helped edit the handbook for new teachers, and has produced lessons for the website and newsletter. Steve and Leigh often tell her that they rely her vision, leadership and enthusiasm. Heatherle is modest about her involvement in the program, but this is no longer a mom-and-pop operation out of Leigh Mesler Parise’s spare room. This year there are 60 teachers across North America, with nearly two thousand students involved. Steve is appearing in TED talks, and at international education conferences. They have done some tracking of their students compared to national surveys in the US, and Classroom Champions students feel more in control of their future, more able to overcome obstacles to success at school, and feel more confident in their academic abilities. I am amazed that my partner and friend has had a role in something so big, and I think she deserves recognition for this.
Congratulations Heatherle, from all of us at K103!
What inspired you to become an educator?
In the bell curve of students, where most fall into the center, I was an outlier as a kid. I read at age 3. There were very few teachers who understood me, or put any extra effort into my learning because I was not in the average. I became a teacher to advocate for the outliers like me and to make a better experience for them than the one that I had. Over the years I have had kids who were TAG, kids who were special needs, kids who have had all manner of quirks. They recognize me instinctually as a member of their tribe, and love that there is an adult who understands them.
My work with Classroom Champions is a part of this as well. The mentor athletes for my class have all been Paralympic medalists. If people with physical disabilities can be high achievers and role models, then there must be a place in the world for people who have quirky brains or histories too.
What do you like most about teaching?
I LOVE that no day is like any other. I love that I get to meet fresh students and turn them into readers. I love building a classroom where students are supportive and loyal to one another. I love being able to share my passion for the Olympics with my class, the other two classes in my grade level and any other teacher at my school who wants resources for that conversation.
What has changed the most since you began your career in education?
When I began teaching, there were no computers in the classroom and few schools had computer labs. Now I spend most of my day using tech of some sort, whether it is computers as a choice during Discovery Centers (choosing), or as a math center, or to show kids what we are doing next by using a document camera. I have an iPad for my students through Classroom Champions and we have even been able to program a letter tracer program for kids to work on their handwriting and write their names. Through CC we are also using tech to collaborate with other classes on a common topic (Fair Play this month), to document our learning through videos and photos, and to communicate through Skype in the Classroom. I never thought I would become a tech leader, but I love how it opens up the world for my students and I am always learning something new from the other CC teachers.
What would you like parents to know about your job?
I appreciate parents who want to learn about the classroom and the curriculum, and take the time to come to curriculum nights and Open House, who read the newsletter, who take our advice about getting a good night’s sleep for their children, and having regular attendance. No matter how hard teachers work, kids achieve at school because they have family support, and they have parents who tell them often that the work they do at school has value and is important in their family.
Share a favorite story about your years in education.
My first year as a Classroom Champions teacher, we went to the zoo. We saw a class of physically disabled students touring the exhibits. My student waited until they were a polite distance away and asked me if I had noticed the girl with a hand amputation. He wondered aloud what sport she played. No telling if she was actually an athlete, but his comment meant that I had succeeded in teaching my students to see people with disabilities from a place of capability, not with pity or with fear.