Uplift Triumph kindergarten teacher and team lead Teal Price is part of a kindergarten team that has seen tremendous scholar growth in Uplift Triumph’s inaugural school year. At the start of the school year Uplift Triumph kindergartners were eight points below the national average in math and four points below the national average in reading, based on the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP). The turnaround has been dramatic with the latest MAP results showing Uplift Triumph kindergartners eight or nine points above the national average in reading and math.
The former professional ballerina helped choreograph the kindergarten MAP pirouette by implementing creative teaching methods and nurturing an enjoyable learning environment for scholars. She uses visual cues to help scholars think through word sounds and her joyous classroom comes from setting high expectations for herself and teaching creatively.
“This entire year I have been focused on creating a joyful learning environment, where every scholar learns to value their education. From the beginning of the year, I have set very high expectations not only for my scholars but for myself where I’ve pushed myself to create rigorous, engaging, and extremely effective read aloud lesson plans for my kinder team,” Mrs. Price said.
Mrs. Price’s classroom creativity helps her adapt to the learning needs of her scholars. Her dedication to scholar reading improvement inspired her to teach phonics in a way that more fully engaged her scholars and helped them become better readers.
“I am naturally creatively minded, so I love thinking of all the different ways I can deliver a lesson. Phonics can be boring, but I like to give it a creative spin and get the scholars actively involved. For instance, I create a ton of anchor charts. I just recently created an anchor chart for Bossy R where the r has a mouth and a mean eye! The message that he tells the vowels is that he is bossy and controls the sound, but he lets the vowel sit in front! I love giving them fun visuals so that when they go to read a story, and decode a word, they remember the visual and it helps them to make the connection of what sound it is making,” she said.
Mrs. Price has been a teacher for four years but she was not always at ease with challenges of the profession. She found that teaching required transferable skills from her career as a ballerina: pacing, balance and finding a rhythm.
“I feel like I have become more confident in my craft over the last four years, and I understand how to pace myself. I also feel like I more fully understand classroom management, lesson planning, and balancing my time. I feel as though I have found my own rhythm,” she said.