For our inaugural Educate Spotlight, we are proud to profile Stephanie Carlsen, high school math teacher at LaSalle Academy. Stephanie believes that learning begins with solid relationships, and she seeks to build those relationships with students by giving them a voice in her classroom and by letting them know that she is always there to support them. Her Catholic-school education imbued her with a service mindset, and she comes to school every day mindful of nurturing and supporting her students in any way she can.
“My students are my life. I don’t say this lightly. I’m always thinking about them, and trying to figure out how I can better reach them. I want for them to feel and be successful in school and beyond. I’m hoping that I’m helping them to become their best version of themselves. I wake up each morning for these students.”
Stephanie’s first educational experience was being homeschooled by her mother in Petaluma, California (a town best known for its butter, eggs, and potholes), and her early experience with a personal approach to education has helped form her instructional philosophy. Her third grade teacher, Mrs. Giacometti, and her Honors World History teacher, Mr. Kavanaugh, both taught her to expect more from herself and to push herself to become her best.
While this is Stephanie’s first year at LaSalle, she has already worked with Educate coaches for several years while teaching middle school math at Mt. Carmel Holy Rosary School, also in New York City. Because of her curiosity and ingenuity, Ms. Carlsen would inspire students wherever she taught, but she feels that working with instructional technology coaches has helped her to feel supported as she finds new ways to use technology to support her teaching.
Ms. Carlsen looks for EdTech tools that put students at the center of their learning, and for this reason, Google Classroom, Nearpod, and Khan Academy are some of her favorite tools. Khan Academy helps her provide instruction that meets the needs of individual students, and also allows her to design inquiry-based activities where students pursue their own growth. Google Classroom helps her communicate with her class and to check for understanding on a consistent basis.
Recently, Stephanie designed and led workshops at LaSalle on using Nearpod to make presentations more interactive. She worked with roughly twenty teachers who were used to using slideshows to supplement their lectures, and she showed them how the transition to interactive slideshows could help students to be more engaged in lessons, and to get real-time feedback on how much students are understanding.
Coaches at Educate love to work with teachers like Ms. Carlsen – not only does she embrace technology and innovative practices for her students, she is committed to building a community of learning among the teachers at her school. She is constantly developing her teaching craft, and shares what she learns with her peers and through her twitter account. Follow Stephanie on Twitter @Ms_carlsen.
By Jeff Lisciandrello @EdTechJeff