HSE 21 at BSE

Curriculum and Instruction Fall Newsletter

Feature Teachers at BSE

It is one of my core beliefs that we truly are "only as strong as the sum of our parts". Every member of our team at BSE has value and talent that increases our collective strength as educators. In this fall HSE 21 Smore, some of our newest BSE Bears give us a peak into their beliefs and the experiences that led them to hold the noble title of teacher.

Miss Amy Blair

Growing up, I never had a good relationship with my brother. We are complete opposites in every sense of the word and, no matter how much my parents tried, it was impossible for us to get along. I simply couldn’t understand him. It wasn’t until we were adults that we learned my brother has Asperger’s Syndrome. Everything made sense. His difficulty managing social situations, lack of understanding facial expressions and body language, his obsessions over things that I couldn’t understand, etc.

Since that day, I’ve made it my goal to not only be a better sister to Nick, but be that person for other kids just like him. I did many case studies during my time at IU on Autism Spectrum Disorders and other special needs. I am educated on many strategies to assist in building relationships and problem solving with students that have special needs. I thrive on opportunities to work with children that others may label “difficult”. I believe my personal connection with struggling children makes me a great fit as their teacher, and I love nothing more than to share my knowledge and experiences with others.

Miss Ramey Butler

I’m not going to lie to you. My experience as a first-year teacher so far has been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I’ve been challenged in areas I didn’t expect to be challenged in, and successful in areas I thought would be more challenging.

But I’m a teacher. I thrive on being challenged!

On the first day of school, I was ready to love my students, and that’s all I would need to do and everything was going to be perfect. I was way off. I came to the sudden realization that I was in the wrong place. I didn’t know how to manage a classroom. I wasn’t responsible enough to be in charge of 24 six-year-old bodies. I was messing everything up, and I was totally overwhelmed. I thought multiple times about marching down to the principal’s office to ask why I was hired in the first place because I clearly had no idea how to be a teacher. I’m so glad I didn’t, because today I love my students in a whole new way than on that (terrifying) first day of school.

Today, I had students begging me for new books to take home over fall break. I was inspired by students who are passionate about global education and making a difference. I saw children who met a new student and embraced her with open arms and helpful hearts. Today and every day I see growth, excitement, and endless possibilities.

After these nine weeks, I still don’t always know what I’m doing. What I do know is this: my students have grown immensely in just 45 days of school. They’ve become readers and writers. They’ve learned how to be a friend and a responsible community member. They’ve learned what it means to work together and how to help each other. We’ve developed a passion for learning, and that tells me that I am doing okay.

Miss Genna Swanson

Like most of us teachers, I have known I wanted to be a teacher since I was very young. I used to help my Mom, who was a preschool aide at the time on my half days of school. I also knew, ironically, that I wanted to teach in a first or second grade classroom in a district that would have a direct impact on my family. It was not until high school when I was asked to be a part of the Peer Mentor Program that I learned my life's true passion. The Peer Mentor Program was an amazing program that asked students, such as myself, to work alongside peers with special needs to complete their course work. I realized then that my career choice of being an elementary teacher was never going to be enough unless I knew how to educate all students. That is when I decided a double major in elementary education and special education was my true career path. I wanted to be an inclusion teacher who was able to service all the various needs of the future students and to create an Individualized Education Plan for ALL students. And being the youngest of 4 and having a strict father, I double majored in 4 years and graduated magna cum laude. I’ve been blessed that at BSE, my passion for inclusion education can continue to prosper and grow, and I get to teach where some of the next generation of Swanson’s attend!
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Mrs. Amy Wroblewski

Amy shares her commitment to building relationships with parents:

Starting off the year right includes building strong relationships with your students and their parents. Children need to feel safe and cared for in your classroom in order to achieve their highest potential. Parents also need to know that their most treasured little people are being well cared for at school. This is the reason I call all of my students’ parents the first week of the school year. I give specific examples of why I enjoy having their child in my class. Every parent loves to know that their child is with a caring person during the day. Every parent also loves to hear compliments about their child. It starts the year off right by establishing a positive relationship with both the child and the parents.

Classroom Book A Day

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What was your favorite book as a child? It's likely that many of us can not only name the book, but also the teacher that read that beloved story to us in our youth. You know, mouth agape, begging for just one more page or perhaps shouting, "read that one again!"

In a recent article from NAESP, National Association for Elementary School Principals, Using Read Alouds in Today's Classrooms, I giggled out loud upon this portion:

"In many speeches, Lucy Calkins, known internationally for her three decades of work in the area of literacy for teachers, has stated that the read aloud is a powerful force in the lives of children and that it is still the single most important thing a teacher does during the school day."

I overhead a teacher in a recent PLC say to her colleague, "What would Lucy do?" Lucy would want you to read to the 5-10 year olds in front of you. Every. Single. Day. And, yes, read texts beyond those in the session for your day just like you want to.

If you are looking for a fun, simple, and authentic way for students to share and celebrate the books you are enjoying, consider the CLASSROOM BOOK A DAY CHALLENGE. I've posted images of several 2nd and 3rd grade teachers who are participating.

Want to know more? See me for teachers to team up with or contact:

Mrs. Emily Cespedes @ ecespedes@hse.k12.in.us

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Just Right Words for Just Right Books

There is not a teacher I've met that is not committed to, at appropriate times, getting a just right book into a students hands. Teachers know, from experience and research, that when students need to practice newly acquired skills, a book should be in their zone of proximal development as a reader.

Since those very books are designated a particular level according to text complexity and vocabulary, should we not also be just as determined to offer students, at times, just right words for study?

See if the article below confirms or challenges your thinking, or spurs some questions!


Word Work Reflection Questions

Word Work Menu:

  • Phonemic Work
  • High Frequency Words
  • Vocabulary

How are you embedding word work into your day?

Do you see reading and writing work shop as the "book ends" to word work?

Are you thinking about additional ways to make your word work authentic?

Would you consider using your anchor charts and wall as opportunities for authentic dialogue about words? Take a look below - what opportunities do you see for work with high frequency words? spelling patterns? vocabulary?

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What's Happening in the Media Center and around BSE with Mrs. Kussy?

Open Media Center Space

Pictures say it all! How can you use this open space?

· Collaboration?

· Performance?

· Literacy lessons and student practice?


Building readers and their reading lives is at the heart of what we do. Bookopolis is a tool that promotes getting excited about reading, increasing stamina, and sharing books with others. Contact me if you are ready to get your students into the World of Bookopolis.

Collaboration Classroom Teacher + Media Specialist + Students

Classroom Teacher + Media Specialist + Students = Powerful Experiences

Megan C. Thompson

Teacher Development Specialist

Hamilton Southeastern Schools