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New Teachers Learn the Ropes

New Teachers Learn the Ropes

New hires get lessons in district procedures, resources


When Shera Rasmussen wanted to tell new teachers about the ins and outs of classroom teaching in WFISD, she asked them to load the Kahoot app to their smart phones.


Then the Secondary English Curriculum Specialist used the app to give her group a seven-question quiz.


“The English Language Arts TEKS are divided into five strands. True or false?” she asked.


Teachers punched their answers into the app, which formatted them into a bar graph that appeared on the classroom screen. Their answers were easy to see: 11 teachers said yes; one teacher said no.


“Very good,” said Ms. Rasmussen as she strode back and forth from her computer to the screen.


As Ms. Rasmussen worked her way through six more questions, she dropped hints about how to use the app with students, something she urged her teachers to do.


“It’s a quick way to do an assessment,” she said. “Do under 10 questions, even just two questions.”


This instruction was typical of the three-day New Teacher Orientation training that began Monday. Here, new teachers learned what resources the district has to support their teaching. They also learn how to zero in on teaching the Texas requirements as listed in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and how to pace their teaching to match the curriculum calendar.


The information comes fast, and there is a lot of it.


Secondary Science Curriculum Specialist Steve Henderson began by explaining to his group of new science teachers exactly what a curriculum specialist like himself does.


He is his teachers’ go-to resource, a helper, and a problem-solver.


If they can’t find materials they need, they need only ask and the curriculum specialist will begin the hunt for them.


He also introduced his group to the Science Resource Center, a facility near Carrigan Career Center that stocks science supplies. Any teacher who needs anything from pill bugs to red wigglers can request them from the Science Resource Center and receive them in one of two deliveries per week.


“Do you need straws? If you call the Science Resource Center, they will ask you, ‘Do you need 6-inch, 10-inch or 12-inch? Do you need bendies or not?’” he said.


He also explained how to turn any photo into a poster, then laminate it for classroom display. He also explained how the WFISD science department shares a wealth of information among team members by uploading information onto certain computer drives.


Stephanie Parsons, curriculum specialist for first and second grades, led her group of new teachers in an activity that she urged teachers to turn around and use on the first day of school.


The activity, called the “Chrysanthemum Name Activity,” required teachers to analyze their names in several ways. They wrote their names on a yellow circle, glued on the same number of petals as letters in their names, then used the same number of craft sticks as syllables in their names for the stems.  They were to count the vowels in their names and glue that number of leaves to the stems.


When an entire class does the activity, the teacher ends up with a bright bouquet of “flowers” for her desk. Ms. Parsons displayed the bouquet new teachers made last year at this time. The new teachers were busy cutting and pasting.


While the activities varied, the amount and importance of information conveyed to new teachers was considerable. The district’s 37 new teachers, along with all teachers, are now back on duty and will continue getting ready for the first day of school, which is August 22.