My name is Katherine!
I am currently studying to be elementary school teacher, and will graduate may of 2017 from the University of Northern Colorado's Center for Urban Education. I am a life long learner and love to explore and learn new things every day. I try and push myself outside of my comfort zone, and find the best things always come from doing so.
As a Colorado Native, I have a passion for the outdoors. I love spending time outside as much as possible, I also love helping out the Denver community and am a proud member of the Denver chapter AmeriCorps program.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Northern Colorado - Bachelors, Elementary education
Singing, learning to play Ukulele, hiking, running, painting, and reading
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that, with the right opportunities, all students can learn and succeed. Through differentiated instruction and an integrated arts approach, learning can be fun and engaging.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session with students, I would take the time to get to know them! I want to know their likes, dislikes, and learning styles! Then I would do a small pre-assessment to get an understanding of where they are at, so I can make my instruction fit them best.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Students can become independent learners with the right tools! Of course, they need guidance, but after teaching study habits, how to read for information needed, and what to do when a student gets stuck, they can definitely become independent learners!
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Looking at a student's successes, keeping track of their progress, and setting goals are great ways to help a student to stay motivated. When a student has something to work for, and a reason to work for it learning becomes less of a chore. Students will also stay motivated when they consider what they are learning is engaging. Through different learning styles and modalities, students can stay engaged and learn content in interesting ways.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When a student has difficulty learning a skill or a concept, it is time to bring them back to what they know and then fill in the blanks. Instructors need to start with where their students are - not where they want them to be. After figuring out where the student is with their progress, it is important to differentiate the instruction so it fits their learning style. If a student isn't learning math because he or she is more of a kinesthetic learner, then I would bring in manipulatives and try to address their learning style.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
In order to help a student who was struggling with reading comprehension, I would first try smaller books with them. We would do a walk-through of the book, and introduce big words they may not know so they are not caught up with the vocabulary. We would make predictions about the book before reading it as well. Periodically throughout the book (every 2-3 pages), I would ask a student what they just read because it is easier to re-tell a few pages than an entire story. Then we would write out or draw re-tells of the beginning, middle, and end. We would play games that pertain to the book, get to know the characters and setting in depth, and talk about the main point of the story. Doing these activities allows students to make connections with the story instead of focusing on just the fluency aspect of reading.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Some strategies I find most successful are the ones where students are fully engaged with the activities. For example, when a student was struggling with number recognition, I had the student roll a die and count the number of dots on the die. He then got to make the written number (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6) out of Play-Doh. This activity was fun for him and helped him make a connection with the numbers he was learning. I also find activities that are authentic to students work really well. For instance, if a student likes super heroes, I would tie the activity into super heroes somehow. This makes the student motivated to learn and makes the learning a little more fun for them.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
When it comes to helping a student get excited about a subject that is difficult for them, authenticity is key. If a student is struggling with reading, they are much more likely to give it a try if it is a book they are interested in. Making the content area connect with the student in any way possible will engage them and excite them about learning, even if the content may be difficult.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would do a pre-assessment with a student to first see where they are. Even if this is really informal and just asking them about the topic. Periodically, I would give them a few problems to try on their own, or a few pages to read out loud by themselves, to check for understanding. Progress checks are important so I can know if I need to change my course of instruction or material to best fit the student.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Focusing on a student's success rather than their hardships really helps build confidence. I always try to promote a growth mindset with students. They might not understand something yet...but they certainly can get it! Praising their success, big or small, is important for confidence. I try to focus on what they are doing right, and build off that instead of reminding them what they are doing wrong.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I will use anything a student may need! Games, books, crayons, markers, math manipulatives or even computers. If there is a material that will engage a student and help them understand a concept, I try and do my best to have it.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate a student's needs by getting to know them. I want to know their preferred learning styles, how long they can sit and focus, and where they are at instructionally so I can tutor in a way that fits them best. If I need to do a simple pre-assessment so I can gauge what level they are reading at, or what concepts they understand in math, I certainly will.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adapt to my student's tutoring needs by finding out how they learn best and differentiating my instruction to fit their learning style. If a certain type of instruction is not working, I will take a look at what I can do to change it up for them.