My name is Beth Bowden. 2010-2011 was my tenth year teaching. I honestly can't believe it. Here is a short history of my career...
2001 - 2007: I was at at K-2 school. I taught 2nd grade all 6 years. I really feel like that gave me the chance to really develop my skills in a critical area: teaching reading. I was able to become familiar with the curriculum and expectations. I tried out different strategies and methods before settling into a good routine. I was able to easily transfer that knowledge to my future situations.
2007 - 2009: I taught 3rd grade at a K-6 school. The first year we grouped across the grade level for reading. This was new for me and was the first challenge I'd faced in several years. I wasn't able to use my knowledge about teaching reading in the same way... instead of having 4 or 5 groups, I had one huge group of low level kids. There wasn't time to do small groups (and it wasn't part of the school culture either.) The second year things changed and I kept my kids all day long. I did more traditional reading groups and saw great results with EOG scores.
2009 - Present: I am teaching 4th grade at a different K-6 school. I just finished my 2nd year in a grade level - and it feels great to know I'll be teaching the same grade again in the fall. There is such a change that happens when you approach your 3rd year in a teaching situation. You know (or should know) the curriculum, the kids abilities, the expectations. You have better ideas about what works and what doesn't. I've already got Science and Social Studies plans for the entire year - because this year I got smart. I'll share more about that later.
I'm currently teaching AIG students. Any given year, I'll have 6 to 12 kids that are identified as Academically-Intellectually Gifted in Reading, Math, or both. The rest of my class (up to 25 kids or so) is your typical, general ed kid. Throw in a few ELL students and possibly an EC (Spec. Ed) student and you're living in my classroom.
The 2010-2011 school year was a really interesting one for me. I have NEVER had a group quite like this one. There were 13 AIG kids (out of 23.) My boy/girl ratio was 9 to14. What was interesting about this group, as a whole, was their pick-up and retention of information. I could throw a concept out, give a brief explanation or demo, and let them run with it. Much of my job this year felt like facilitating and uncovering what they already knew... and I LOVED it. It was so fun to see what they could do!
I'm excited to find new ways to incorporate technology into my classroom. I thrilled to be developing a personal learning network of like minded teachers - there are some super teachers in my school, but it gets a little old to see eye rolling and hear, "Oh, Bowden's at it again!" when I share some website or tech tool. At least if you feel that way, I won't see your eyes roll or hear your grumbles!