Classwork, and even homework, is more engaging with the technology used in this fourth grade class.
Kalena Kinsman received two new “titles” in October. She was named Teacher of the Year for Old Kings Elementary, and she got married to Shawn Kinsman.
“We were married on Oct. 23 in Orlando, right in the middle of all of the Teacher of the Year stuff,” Kalena Kinsman said.
Kinsman is a fourth grade teacher, and her students can often be seen sitting outside the classroom on their iPads recording themselves reading. Not a lesson in vanity, but a lesson in self-reflection, and something Kinsman sees as a life skill.
Each day her students take papers, comparable to their learning level, and go outside to read it. They read the same thing every, single day for five days.
“They compare their Monday recording to Fridays, and rate themselves on accuracy, their reading rate, and vocal expression. Did they read too fast or too slow, did they sound like a robot, or pause when they came to a comma?” she said. “Practicing reading fluency is a skill, but to me this is a little bit more than just a skill. For them to be able to sit and reflect on this video every single day, and for them to be able to listen to something that is themselves, and to be able to critique themselves, and to see the improvement read same passage is a life skill to me.”
Nothing is traditional about Kinsman’s class. The desks are all on wheels, and students are self-motivated, working on different projects on their iPads at their own pace. There’s a lot of responsibility for 9 to 10 year olds.
Kinsman never had any doubt that she would be a teacher.
“I always wanted to be a teacher,” Kinsman said. “My best friend Hannah and I would fight over who would get to read the book to our baby dolls and Barbie’s -- who got to be the teacher.”
She shares her passion with her students, replacing outdated learning methods with new technology.
“I love to learn. I absolutely love to learn, and I love watching the students grow,” she said. “I am really attracted to educational technology, and I love seeing kids make their lives easier with technology.”
Book reports are done online. Kinsman has her students participate in online discussion, instead of a reading log, every night for homework.
“They collaborate together on what they have read, and talk about their books with each other, and post videos about what they read that night,” Kinsman said. “Some kids who might have been resistant about typing about their books, and writing about what they are reading, are now actually recording videos, and I know that they are reading every night.”
Kinsman is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in exceptional student education, and her masters in reading. She has been teaching for five years, all at Old Kings Elementary, and is now the lead teacher for the fourth grade.
“We share resources and use Schoology. We have the opportunity as teachers to share these resources. Each teacher can take and tweak it, and use the same things in their own classrooms.”