Teacher Spotlight: Emily Wolszczenski

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Teacher Name: Emily Wolszczenski
Office Location: Crums Mill, HBG
Currently Teaching: 8th Grade Language Arts

How do you build relationships with your students?
Being in a cyber setting can be very isolating for some students. One small thing I do to keep that from happening is I use my webcam all the time so they see a face, expressions, engagement, and personality. That’s how they see me. To get to know them, I let them chat in class. I really do. We set our norms at the beginning of the year together, and occasionally we do need to pull them back out and reflect on them, but I don’t like to stifle the chat. I’m also never all-business on the phone. Usually, my first question is, “What have you been doing lately?” I’ve learned all about skunk catching to Minecraft!

How do you engage your students in the learning process?
In regard to LiveLessons, I like to include some sort of engaging video for those visual and auditory learners to watch. I always have several opportunities for participation including guided practice and creating an original work for those multimodal learners. We’ve done things from creating posters for propaganda on Padlet, to texting in on polleverywhere.com. My message board comes in handy too when students want to discuss favorite books. I do have students follow an answer protocol and they seem to hold each other to a high standard!

When you’re not working, how do you spend your time?
I have 3 children, a nine, six and two year old. So I’m pretty busy taking care of them and my home. I do enjoy cleaning and organizing. I especially like doing baseboards!

What might we be surprised to know about you?
I speak two languages and have lived in Mexico for some time. During my time at the Centro Bilingue in Cuernavaca, Mexico, I had the opportunity to teach 2nd grade at a local school. The disparity between schools here and there is great and made me very thankful for what we have here.

How do you set goals for your students?
I feel this is already set for us with Common Core. The standards are already there and I feel that this is my goal for my students. To get them to reach each goal, I plan every lesson meticulously to try to incorporate activities that would address standards that they would need to meet. Analyzing student responses, calling them on the phone, and looking at their grades among other data all help me to determine if they have succeeded or need more guidance to reach this goal. I also deliver personal feedback that students use to help them reach their goals. This can range from questions to ponder on correct essays to how to structure a response for a grade improvement.

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