Teacher Spotlight From Colorado: Lauren Sexauer

Name: Lauren Sexauer

Grade/Subject Currently Teaching: 3rd Grade – All Subjects

Current City: Denver, CO, USA                                                                                                                        

Why do you think it’s important to connect your students globally on UClass?

I think it’s important to connect students globally in order to show them that they are part of a much larger world. I have often found that students struggle to conceptualize anything outside of their city/town. By connecting them with students and classes all over the world, they are better able to understand what is going on outside of Denver, or that there is even a place outside of Denver!

How do you use UClass in your classroom?

Even though we are still getting our feet wet with UClass, I have already found many uses for it. For one, it’s a great way to connect with my students and have more informal conversations with them so I can get to know them better. I have several students that I have messaged back and forth to get to know them better, and for them to get to know me better. I have also found that it is a great assessment tool. I can use their messages to assess their writing in the way of capitals, spelling, punctuation, and subject/verb agreement. In this way, it has actually driven some of my instruction for small group reading. In 3rd Grade we also teach students how to write a letter, so I am looking forward to using UClass as practice for this skill. I feel as though the possibilities with this technology are endless!

Share a great moment that your students have had while using UClass.

I think one of the great moments we have had so far (keeping in mind we’ve just started), is that I have actually had 2 students solve what I like to call a “small problem” using the messaging on UClass. One of the students sent an apology message to another for something he had done. For this particular student, who is quite shy, having this avenue to communicate allowed him to solve an otherwise difficult social situation.

What is your favorite book and why?

Sarah’s Key – I love it because it is about the French roundup of children during the Holocaust. I find it fascinating because this is an aspect of the war that I never learned about. I thought the book did such a beautiful job of portraying this dark and secretive history.

What do you think can be changed about the educational system in your country?

Investment in teachers. We need to ensure that we have talented teachers and leaders in our schools, and that they are effective. I love the work my district is currently doing with teacher evaluations and development. I think it’s a step in the right direction (clearly there’s a lot more that needs to improve).

 What do you love about being a teacher?

The kids! I love getting to know who they are. I’ve found that once you get to know who a kid is as a person, you can better teach them because they are more comfortable and vulnerable with you.

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