Episode 24: Teaching First Grade with Tonya Hair
Mrs. Tonya Hair teaches first grade at Pulaski County Elementary School located in Hawkinsville, Georgia. This is her 11th year of teaching. Mrs. Hair grew up in Hawkinsville and is now a teacher at Pulaski County Elementary School where she attended as a child. She is working with some colleagues who were teachers when she was a student. How cool is that?!
Mrs. Hair has some amazing routines and practices. Her kids know them and it is obvious. They transition between activities and different locations in the classroom with no down time or disruption to the learning. I asked Mrs. Hair to explain how she is able to accomplish this. She commented, “Practicing routines. If you set it up in the beginning then it is not that hard as the year goes on.” Tonya also noted, “Organization and planning are keys to being successful, as well as learning from your mistakes.”
Tonya uses groups quite successfully. She says that she is looking to find the best fit for the child. She uses these groups to help her address the individual needs of her students.
As you listen to us talk teaching and learning you will hear us touch on…
· reading and math stations
· problem solving
· showing numbers in different ways
· starting class with an activity
· formative assessments
· charts that she uses to make notes on student progress (she uses this information to adjust her instruction)
· using mini-white boards
· engaging kids
· organizational skills
Her favorite resource for her classes is her SMART board and if she could have anything for her classroom where money wasn't an option it would be a parapro and a set of laptops.
If she had a chance to give advice to 30 brand new elementary teachers she would tell them, “Always be prepared and forward thinking. Be flexible.”
At the very end you will hear Tonya express her thoughts about a teacher who made a difference in her life… She says that she was like… Wonder Woman.
Mrs. Hair has much to share!
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