Director of Teaching & Learning Miles Azzeh's Academic Spotlight: Caroline Reynolds
Our Lansing USD 469 teachers are incredible at engaging our students in fantastic learning opportunities to reach their full potential every day in our district. To highlight and bring recognition to this great work, Director of Teaching and Learning Miles Azzeh will be regularly shining a spotlight on a stand-out teacher through "academic spotlights."
One of an educator's most remarkable traits and skills is their ability to adjust on the fly. My Academic Spotlight this week goes to our Instructional Coach Caroline Reynolds who showcased this talent by stepping in as the cooperating teacher for student teacher Emmaly Farr. As Instructional Coach, Caroline is a vital component of the excellent work LIS has been doing the last couple of years: she helps facilitate PLCs, coaches teachers around curriculum and instruction, has helped get the DIRT initiative up and running, and has spearheaded the GVC and standards-based grade card work we have embarked on as a district. Even with all of this on her plate, she stepped up to help Emmaly gain the student-teaching experience necessary to become a licensed teacher.
When observing the classroom to cover Caroline for this week's Academic Spotlight, I had the pleasure of also seeing them collaborate for a 5th-grade math lesson on division. The pair kicked off the lesson with the ever-important spiraling of prior learning:
"The objective at the beginning of the lesson was to practice what we had learned yesterday. Our class is divided; either they can divide, or they cannot. I wanted to build confidence in those who could, and I want those still struggling to hear their peers explain it." Caroline said.
After the spiraled bellwork, Caroline moved on to a collaborative activity called "Rally Coaching," where students pair up, and each solves a problem, while the other student can step in and coach or help with any struggles. These cooperative strategies are important and lead to a better understanding of concepts and increase student confidence in their abilities. It was apparent students enjoyed the activity:
"I like doing coaching and helping people." - Madalynn Mcmurtrie
Caroline elaborated on her and Emmaly's decisions when it came to lesson planning:
"The second part of the lesson was exposure to our new topic, 2-digit divisors. Go Math has a lot of strategies for 2-digit divisors. I chose not to give them the worksheet on day 1 because I thought it would be more confusing. Tomorrow we will talk 2-digit divisors again." Caroline said.
While watching superb instruction always impresses me, seeing and hearing students enjoying their teachers and learning was what filled my heart the most:
"Mrs. Reynolds and Ms. Farr are both very encouraging and nice and sweet." -Dakota Hunter
"I like this class because we do fun activities that help me learn." -Joshua Njoku
"I like how both of our teachers push us until we learn it. We keep working things until we get it right." -Preston Barger
Mrs. Reynolds ended the day with an essential component of any lesson: a closure activity. The exit slips she assigned students will allow her and Ms. Farr to check for understanding before instructing students the next day, making necessary adjustments to make sure ALL students learn the content.
Thank you, Caroline and Emmaly, for being fantastic instructors for our children and to Caroline for being an outstanding leader and mentor in our district. We're lucky to have you!