First grade teacher Carly Tiffany-Brown believes every student can learn.
“How they learn is the question,” she says.
Tiffany-Brown has taught in East Greene Community School District for 14 years. She has been a special education teacher, a kindergarten teacher and, for the last four years, a first grade teacher.
“I love teaching first grade. The difference in maturity between kindergarten and first grade is amazing. You see a lot more maturity,” she says. First grade is in the East Greene Elementary School in Grand Junction.
As a teacher, Tiffany-Brown says, she needs to get to know the students and figure out how each student learns. That’s why she mixes up how she teaches.
“I use visuals and hands-on learning, along with other techniques” she says.
Earlier this year, the students were working on strategies to help them read better. For example, a strategy called “Chunky Monkey,” teaches the students to look for chunks or parts of words they know to help them figure out the words they are reading.
“It takes to about Christmas, and then I can really begin to see students reading better,” she says.
Tiffany-Brown also uses a glove that has a photo that symbolizes the various parts of understanding what the students read. For example, one fingertip of the glove has a photo of a ladder to symbolize beginning, middle and end. Another fingertip has a picture of a house, which symbolize the place a story happens.
There are special ways of teaching math as well. This year the district is using “everyday math.” Last year the students were doing more paperwork-type math, Tiffany-Brown says. Now, the math is related to the students’ lives so that they can recognize the importance and understand math better. Recently she set up a classroom store where students used play money to make purchases.
“I just love figuring out how kids learn best and seeing them grow throughout the year. This job changes every day,” she says.