This is the latest in a series of blogs by a partnering cohort teacher.
By Olivia Berry
Maybe it’s the new mom in me, but lately I’ve been lucky enough to experience many moments that have me wishing I could freeze time. You know, when something is happening that is so good, brings so much joy, that you feel like you could live in that one moment forever. Ultimately, these are the times that we all live for. In preparation for my return to teaching after 14 weeks of maternity leave, I started to wonder what moments my students wish they could push pause on, both personally and academically. Furthermore, I wondered if I was creating learning experiences that would be remembered, ones that left some amount of lasting impact on their lives. I decided that upon my return to the classroom, I would ask my students just that.
I came up with a “Push Pause” page for students to write their responses to these questions (one side for personal moments, and the other for academic): What moments do you wish you could push pause on or go back and relive? What made that time so special or different from other times? How did it make you feel? Who was involved? Unfortunately, I have not been able to complete this activity with my students due to the global pandemic that we are currently experiencing. However, I look forward to reading their answers and finding themes in their most significant moments. I predict that those times will be ones that allowed them freedom to create and be themselves alongside people that they care about.
The Fluency Project has taught me a lot, but above all it has motivated me to create more meaningful learning experiences for my students and remember that it is okay to s l o w d o w n. Through this “Push Pause” activity, I will be able to collect valuable data on what my students themselves consider “meaningful.” I plan to use what they share to design better lessons with components that ignite and instill a love of learning, because even though the thought of having a real life pause button seems pretty neat, the only true way to live longer in those special moments is to create more of them.
Little did I know when I started writing this blog, I would soon be given many extra moments with my sweet, new daughter. Though these times are uncertain and worrisome to say the least, I sure am thankful for the silver lining this storm has provided my family.
Olivia Berry graduated from West Liberty University in 2012 with a major in Elementary Education and a minor in Special Education. She was valedictorian of her class and named Elementary Education Major of the Year. Olivia began a career at Woodsdale Elementary School in the fall of 2012 as a Behavior Disorder Specialist. After one year, Olivia moved to third grade and has been teaching this grade level at Woodsdale since 2013. She attained her Master’s Degree in Reading Education in the spring of 2018, also from WLU.
Olivia is an active member of Woodsdale's Positive Behavior Support team and Curriculum Adoption Committee. She also organizes the schoolwide Science Fair each year. She currently is a member of Cohort 3 of The Data and Technology Fluency Project with West Liberty University and the CREATE Lab (situated in Carnegie Mellon University).