About Ms. Waisanen
Welcome! This picture was taken at Yellowstone National Park. On the left is my mom Gloria; otherwise known as "Nana." She has been both a classroom teacher as well as a special education teacher. Nana spends a lot of time volunteering in our classroom teaching students how to sew, as well as helping students make math corrections, read, write, and explore art, science and social studies. The smiling nature lover covered mostly in pink is my daughter Hayley; she will be entering grade 3 as we embark on the 2016-1017 school year. I am on the right, super excited to finally see my very first geyser (see steam in background). This will be my eighteenth year teaching students. Yes, I have the most AMAZING job!
Ms. Waisanen's Teaching Philosophy
It is my belief that an outstanding teacher cultivates a community in the classroom built on trust and relationships. This teacher takes the time to greet each student in the morning, comment on a pair of shoes or new haircut; and asks students about their cross-country meet or what they did for fun over the weekend. In order to promote a sense of community and motivate students the teacher’s lessons would reflect students’ interests, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The classroom environment promotes purposeful conversations where students’ experiences and opinions would be respected.
The classroom is arranged in an organized and systematic fashion. The teacher and students work together to organize the classroom in order to provide student ownership, choice, and room for quality conversations. The teacher provides floor space; work areas, circle tables or desks group together, and trouble free access to materials. The teacher explicitly teaches classroom routines. The classroom schedule is organized in a way that is both predictable and consistent; students are provided time to read, write, and conference. The teacher models and rehearses how to follow directions, and good behaviors.
The curriculum implemented promotes self-directed learning, group work, and community involvement. The units are inquiry-based integrating technology that spans across content levels. Cooperative learning activities foster open-ended questioning that is part of the daily instruction and the classroom environment. Skills and strategies are taught in a systematic, balanced, meaningful, and explicit context where the learner is able to reflect, and be motivated.
The teacher’s knowledge of current research, and exposure to diverse people, perspectives, and ideas guides his or her ability to evaluate and modify instruction and assessment. Performance assessments, portfolios, parent/teacher/student-led conferences, student and/or teacher created scoring guides and observations are examples that provide on-going assessment that drives the teachers instruction.
The teacher understands that it is his or her responsibility as a professional to be a leader and foster positive change and inspire others by example. The teacher conducts research, stays abreast of current and seminal literary work, and adjusts his or her philosophy, classroom instruction and assessment to meet the demands of social, cultural, and political influences that impact the educational discourse. The teacher is willing to explain, model, and share knowledge.
Communication with parents establishes a relationship between the school and the home environment that is critical for student success. The outstanding teacher helps students, parents, and caregivers understand the goals, instruction, and assessment that occur in the classroom. The teacher builds relationships and invites ongoing communication that fosters each child’s ability to learn (active parent, caregiver, family, and community involvement). The teacher communicates with parents and caregivers the goals, instruction, and assessment that occur in the classroom by means of weekly parent notebooks, newsletters, portfolios, and/or student-led conferences. The teacher understands that all parties bring knowledge and unique perspectives into the school environment.
National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) in Atlanta, Georgia
* Alaska Math & Science Conference in Sitka, Alaska
* National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Columbia University via The Teachers' College Reading and Writing Project
This summer I took the following courses in New York:
* The Writing Workshop Can Make Phonics, Spelling, and Punctuation Hot!: The Investment and Pride that Come with Authorship Can Engine Powerful Development in the Basics of Both Writing and Reading (K-2) via Rachel Rothman
* Refining Methods of Small Group Writing/Reading Work (K-3) via Amanda Hartman
* Bachelors of Education with an emphasis in Science & Mathematics (K-8)
* Masters of Reading in the area of Acquisition of Language and Literacy: Reading
* National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) via Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood