About chelseapeoples

I have been teaching Kindergarten for 5 years and loving every moment! I enjoy reading great books. Writing is my favorite subject to teach. I live in Palm Bay, FL with my Canadian husband and our dog, Bella, and cat, Figaro.

Tips for Interviewing for a Teaching Position

While I don’t claim to be an expert on interviews by any means, I feel as though I have some tips to share for those who may have doubts or questions.  What better place to share those tips than right here on the Teachers Count Blog? Let me start by saying that I have only been an “interviewee” for a teaching job on two separate occasions.  The first time I was fresh out of college and interviewing for a school which had not yet opened.  I believe the principal may have had mercy on me and decided to give me a shot even though I was sweaty and red-faced throughout the entire interview.  One thing I had going for me was I maintained a smile the whole time and was able to slip in a few jokes here and there.  So, though I was nervous, I believe I came across as “likable.” My second and only other teaching interview was quite unique.  I was living with my husband in Canada at the time but, we were planning to move back to the States.  A friend of mine had been working at a Charter School and loved it.  She was able to “put the good word in for me” when a teaching position became available.  The principal was nice enough to interview me via Skype.  If you’ve read any of my other blogs, this may shine some light on why I love and feel so indebted to technology!  I managed to earn a second interview and was offered the job a few weeks later. I am still working at that school to this day!  What NOT to do… In the nearly five years between my first and second teaching interviews I was able to research interviewing tips and skills.  I found much of the same information no matter where I searched.  Most websites and books offered a list of questions that the interviewer might ask and insinuated that the person being interviewed should memorize these questions and formulate the correct answers to each one.  Is it just me or does this sound absolutely terrifying to a presumably already terrified potential teacher?  As if we haven’t gone through four grueling years of college, not to mention studied into the wee hours of the night in hopes of passing all THREE of our Teaching Certification Exams on the first try. Now we’re expected to study a list of questions and (what we hope are) the correct answers to those questions and, oh yeah!  Here’s a fun twist!  Some of those questions won’t be asked at all during the interview and they will likely be the ones we prepared the best answers for.  Long story short, I suggest you read these questions, maybe even skim them, and think of your general stance on them but, do not spend too much time sitting at a computer and actually typing out your answers or sitting in front of the mirror rehearsing your responses.  In my opinion, the ONLY thing this will do is to make you even more nervous than you originally were (if that’s even possible) and make you come off disingenuous.   Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying don’t come to an interview prepared.  I just think we should have more faith in ourselves and not only the innate knowledge that made us want to teach in the first place but, also what we’ve learned in college and already know from experience.  What TO do instead… While it is important to be up on all the latest education lingo and strategies that the latest research shows are “in” (and will probably be “out” by year’s end), I believe the best time to form a true and lasting opinion on these issues is while in the field.  Any teacher will tell you that you learn the most when you are physically in the classroom molding those young minds.  If you haven’t taught before, hold back on the research talk and if you have taught before, it is far more impressive to speak on what has worked for you in your personal experience than to quote someone else’s findings. Having recently had the opportunity to be on the other side of the interview chair, I realized that we are all reading the same articles, fabricated questions and latest behavior management books!  All this does is make each person being interviewed seem like a robot, spitting out the same information.  It makes you sound unoriginal.  And how, you may ask, can I come across as original and still impressive to my future principal?  My answer is simple. BE YOURSELF. Even if you are asked a question that you fear you will have the “wrong” answer to, answer it honestly!  Don’t cater to the latest research or to what you think the principal wants to hear.  More often than not you will be appreciated for being brave enough to speak your mind and, more importantly, you will come across as confident as opposed to nervous. My point is you can’t really mess up when the objective is being you.  Should you prepare yourself in your own way?  Of course.  However, we certainly don’t need an army of robot teachers, spewing out the same popular information in the education industry.  What we need are teachers who can speak their minds.  Teachers who have various and differing opinions about education and teaching in general and who are intelligent and diligent enough to work together to find out what truly is best for our students. In closing, I would say that the most important aspect of any interview is your “likability factor.”  Whether or not you know all of the answers to the questions that will undoubtedly be asked, if you can walk away from that interview with the principal thinking, “I really like him/her,” you have a great shot at getting a job.  This simply means you should remember to be punctual, smile throughout the interview, be courteous and take your time answering questions.  Also, utilize the personality strengths you already know you possess.  If you’re not sure what those are, ask a few of your friends to describe you in three words.  If humor is one of your strong suits, be sure to use that!  Remember, interviews are stressful for everyone involved.  Your future principal will surely enjoy a little chuckle to lighten the mood. If you are gearing up for an interview, I hope this blog has helped you!  I wish you good luck in your pursuit of a teaching job at a great school.  If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below.  Happy job hunting!

Vinci Tablet Initial Review: Tracking Student Progress!

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As a fifth year Kindergarten teacher one of my goals for the 2014-2015 school year is to utilize more technology in my students’ learning environment. Another goal of mine is to intensively track student progress in all subjects and use that information to better differentiate instruction for each and every student. Recently, I applied for a grant and was awarded two Vinci Tablets loaded with educational apps for Kindergarten.

Since the school year has come to a close and I have some extra time, I was finally able to sit down and “play” with one of the tablets. Below you will find my initial review of the Vinci Tab III 7″ Learning Tablet.

The Vinci Tablet came with a USB cord and charger. It also included a small User Guide pamphlet which I did not find very helpful. Instead, I found all of the instructional information I needed to set up my Vinci Tablet at this website: http://www.vincigenius.com/support/.

Once I signed in with my username and password I was able to browse through over 50 educational apps.  What immediately captured my interest and attention as I played these games was that it felt like I was doing just that…PLAYING! The colors are vibrant, the characters are adorable and the graphics are up to par with many video games available in today’s market. Children no longer have to waste their time (and possibly brain cells) playing ordinary video games. I believe that children will fall in love with playing on the Vinci Tablets without realizing they are learning specific, teacher-assigned information.  Not only that but, student progress is being tracked so that parents and teachers can then work together to individualize and monitor a student’s learning path. 

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The Vinci Tablet also includes an internet browser, YouTube, Skype a built-in camera and other apps for teachers and parents to utilize.  Of course, students are assigned their own usernames and passwords and access to the previously mentioned apps can be restricted. Basically, the teacher is in complete control over what he/she wants each student to be working on.  So, as each student logs on to the Vinci Tablet, they will enjoy an individualized learning experience!

Another neat feature of these tablets is the red rubber handles on each of it’s four sides. These will make it easy for children to keep a firm grip on it while transporting it from place to place as well as playing on it.

Though I do foresee many hours of training and modeling using the tablets before I allow my students to go off on their own, I am sure once they catch on they will be able to use them with ease. I cannot wait to use my Vinci Tablets as a technological tool for student learning in my classroom this coming school year. I look forward to blogging a second review describing my students’ experience with them and how well the progress monitoring function works. At that time I will also be able to let you know if the close to $550 price tag is worth it as well as whether or not I plan to order more for my class.

Until then, you can find out everything you need to know about the Vinci Tablet at this website: http://www.vincigenius.com/.

 

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Osmo: The Future of Early Education

chelseapeoples

Like many teachers, I “geek out” every once in a while when I find something neat I can use in my classroom. Technology is such a huge part of how children today learn so I try to use it as much as possible in my teaching. That being said, when I find a product that is groundbreaking, fun and will allow me to use technology with my students, I enter a whole new level of “Geekdom.”  The newest educational product I can’t wait to get my hands on is called Osmo.

Osmo works with most versions of the iPad to create a totally interactive experience for students of all ages.  It comes with a stand, a mirror attachment for the camera, a wooden tangram and two sets of letter tiles: red and blue. The user can then download free Osmo Apps and let the learning begin!

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My favorite game that…

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