My name is Beth Bowden. 2011-2012 is the beginning of my eleventh year! 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 at a different K-6 school. I did 2 years in 4th grade and have now moved to teaching 6th grade Reading. I'm currently teaching a whole grade level of students. This year, I have about 15 kids that are identified as Academically-Intellectually Gifted in Reading, Math, or both. Another 6 are ELL. I also have 8 EC (Spec. Ed) students. We have a newly identified group of Tier 1 RTI students (about 20!) The rest of my students are your general, run of the mill, average kids. There is almost a 2 to 1 ratio of girls to boys - that makes for some interesting classes!
The 2010-2011 school year was a really interesting one for me. I have NEVER had a group quite like that 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!