• Elevate K-12

Instructor of the Month - Dawn P.

Welcome to another ETalk, where we introduce an amazing person at Elevate K-12 involved in revolutionizing education through high-quality live online instruction inside schools!

Name: Dawn P.

Location: Pearland, TX

Experience With Elevate K-12: 1 year

Expert/Superstar In: Coding

What excites you most about teaching your particular subject?

I love the “out of the box” problem-solving challenges coding offers to middle schoolers. Every day is different as students come up with new, unique, and creative ways to express themselves through what they are learning—applying their new knowledge in novel and practical ways that will make them the problem solvers of the future!

How do you make live, online instruction engaging?

My students take the initiative to act as class greeters each day when class starts, whether those students are in school or learning from home. We started the course by establishing classroom norms, and we revisit them to ensure that our class is a safe place to take risks and share new ideas. My students are really good at building each other up! We know that we learn best by having the courage to throw out ideas, no matter how random they may seem, because together we can come up with some really awesome solutions. I also enjoy a good sense of humor, so we like to laugh about things that come up randomly in class!

What strategies do you use to effectively reach your students who are working below grade-level expectations?

Awareness of the learning challenges of my students gives me the information I need to make sure I provide the appropriate educational supports and the scaffolding they may need from me. Understanding the vocabulary for any subject area is huge, and I intentionally define terms in language at their level. I am so proud of the work effort of my students, and I make sure they know that I notice how hard they are working as they take responsibility for their learning.

What do you like about working from home/remotely?

Working from home is incredible. I love the opportunity to open the windows and enjoy the beautiful weather outside as I teach. I commuted to school in some pretty rough winters, and I do not miss it. The flexibility of working remotely means I can enjoy spending more time at home and less time commuting and filling my gas tank!

How do you ensure your students have been successful whether they're learning at home, school, or both?

I try very hard to be an encourager of ALL my students’ participation in class—responding via class chat, writing on the whiteboard, or acing an assessment—regardless of whether they are learning at school or at home. I also remind them that we are all one class regardless of our physical location. In addition, genuine, real-time feedback is essential to celebrating student success, and I praise their participation, ideas, and efforts by name as much and as often as I can!

Describe your best moment teaching live and online. Be specific!

My best moment teaching live and online has got to be when I finally got to see and hear my students for the first time! I absolutely love teaching middle schoolers, and the connection I felt when I could finally see their faces and hear their precious voices was THE BEST THING EVER.

Tell us a little more about who you are--what do you like to do?

I recently moved to Texas to be closer to my family and my three-year-old grandson. Life is too short, and I want my grandson to grow up with great memories of spending lots of quality time with me, his nonnie! I’m originally from Wisconsin and will always be an avid and loyal Green Bay Packers fan, but Texas is my forever home now. So in addition to now experiencing great weather most of the year, I can now cheer on my favorite MLB team in their home stadium. Go Astros! :)

Thanks, Dawn P.

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