Feb 23, 2011 2:32 PM by Andy Koen

Fourth grade teacher channels excitement into learning

Holly Corsentino makes sure her students start each day with a handshake and a smile. The 4th grade teacher at Beulah Heights Elementary in Pueblo recognizes that kids naturally get excited about things, and tries to channel that into excitement into learning.

"Anybody that's had the good fortune of spending their day with kids knows that in general they're just excited, and as long as you go with that and you don't fight against it you can usually make just about anything fun."

In her 12 years in the classroom, holly has tried to never teach the same subject the same way.
Some ideas come from professional development, others from her peers and sometimes she just thinks of a better approach on her own.

"It's complete trial and error every single day which is what makes it fun."
For example, early in the day holly's students learn sentence structure with shapes. Each word is to written on a laminated card that represents the subject, predicate or adjective. Later in day they break into small groups for individual activities on the computer or reading along with books on tape.

She says she prefers activities to lectures. "If I have to be something up at the front of the room, I try to make sure they're doing it with me in some way, shape or form."

The small groups are a constant in her class. Holly size that manageable size of the groups guarantees she can give one-on-one attention to each child every day.

"It's essential," she says. "I can tell you in 5 minutes probably more than an assessment can tell me just by talking with them, listening to them read and asking them questions about the story."

For the enthusiasm and excitement she brings to her students every day, Holly Corsentino is our February Teacher's First award winner.

We want hear about the special teacher in your child's life. Click here to nominate them to be our next Teacher's First award winner.


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