Recently, Erin Stanfill, a teacher coached by CLI last year was awarded a PBS 2012 Teacher Innovator Award. The award winners had to reinforce 21st century learning skills in the classroom. Erin Stanfill demonstrated how her students engage in author studies and how she uses authors’ collections to introduce features of print, writing craft and illustration styles. She used the books to engage the students in conversations about feelings-specifically, focusing on emotional vocabulary.
Stanfill said, “Students connected with the authors during the studies by learning about their writing styles, as well as their personal histories.”
After reading about feelings and emotions Stanfill set up a digital camera on a tripod and allowed students to take pictures of each other. The students then took turns practicing different faces such as “mad”, “sad”, “happy” and “scared.” Next, with their 6th grade partners they used iPads to search for synonyms of these words such as “joyful”, “frightened” and “heart sore.”
“By searching for synonyms for basic emotions, students immediately connected with the new words.”
The students then created portraits on the iPads depicting the new vocabulary they learned. Stanfill’s project demonstrated innovative methods of displaying knowledge into the area of creation. She said, “ I wanted to say thank you to CLI for helping me get started during my first year teaching last year. Without my work with CLI I wouldn’t be the teacher I am today.”