Washington Family Magazine : August 2017
16 August 2017 washingtonFAMILY.com TEACHERS OF THE YEAR SPONSORED BY: Why do you think teachers are important? In the sport called school, teachers play every role on and off the field. They are coaches, teammates, cheerleaders, fans, scorekeepers, referees, concessions and sometimes, even perform the half-time show! Who else do you know that can do all that? What is the single best piece of advice you can give parents of sixth- graders? Trust us, support us, and work with us. As we prepare your child for middle school and the future, one of our main goals is to teach students to become more independent, advocate for themselves and challenge themselves. Allow them to learn from their own mistakes to prepare them for the future. Encourage them and celebrate their accomplishments. Trust the process. They are the leaders of tomorrow. What’s your funniest teaching moment? My funniest teaching moment came in a time when I really needed a mental break from the chaotic world we live in. I wanted to lighten the mood and remembered that school can be fun, for everyone! As I was sitting at my desk using Palmers Cocoa Butter Lip Balm trying to think of something fun to make my students laugh, I thought, “Man this really looks like a glue stick.” So, I decided to take the wrapper off a glue stick and wrap it around my lip balm. The next day I was having one-on-one conferences with students, and would periodically use my lip balm. They were so worried I was putting glue on my lips! I tricked every single one of my students and we laughed about it for weeks. Their reactions were priceless. It was a great way to get everyone to relax and smile. What makes you excited to go into your school each day? Knowing that I will have exciting, relevant conversations with young people who have so much to offer the world. Each day brings so many unsuspected surprises. You never know what will spark a great idea, conversation, class discussion, or teaching moment. Do you have any tried and trusted ideas or activities for motivating students? My students and I have loved project-based learning. It is a real way to solve every day problems. Students are presented with a realistic challenge and have the task of coming up with unique solutions to that challenge. One of my favorite PBL activities in social studies, consisted of students becoming songwriters to create lyrics informing people from the east what to expect when moving out west. To showcase the final products, groups of students performed their songs at a classroom concert while the audience sang along with their lyrics. One student even set up his tripod and recorded all the songs! ASHLEY WELLNER “Ashley Wellner makes class fun and energetic with her positive upbeat attitude. She enjoys teaching, is popular among her students, and works well in a diverse class environment. My son enjoys her class and talks about her teaching philosophy at home about having a growth mindset and believing in oneself. Ashley Wellner helps students practice mindfulness in class. This quality of being conscious helps the students get focused and perform well in school. She often plays music during class assignments and uses examples from her life to encourage students to be daring and open their eyes to have fun while learning in non- traditional ways; from the world and people around them.” SIXTH GRADE ADVANCED ACADEMICS, SCIENCE, SOCIAL STUDIES, AND LANGUAGE ARTS TEACHER AT MOSBY WOODS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FAIRFAX, VA NOMINATED BY: MEENA B.