In this “ACT Voices” video, teacher residency graduate Danielle Ito makes a case for building her teaching practice within an Arbor kindergarten/first grade classroom. The multi-age setting meant that she needed to develop strong differentiation techniques to support emergent readers just beginning to link letters and sounds as well as strong transitional readers already delving into chapter books. These practices added to others in her teaching repertoire and contributed to her success in a public school context during her second residency year. Working in one of Portland Public School’s biggest elementary schools, Danielle taught third graders who brought 6 different first languages to the classroom community. She says that her Arbor experience “definitely translates to teaching across any spectrum of learners.”
Also during her second year, Danielle focused her “action research” on taking her Arbor kindergarten and first grade students outside to the Arbor woods to study science, math and literacy. She describes the benefits of this experience for her young naturalists, learning to observe carefully while exploring the flora and fauna right outside the classroom door. Read Danielle’s action research article here for more about her discoveries and practical suggestions around place-based education.