December Teacher Spotlight

Meet MJ Kinard

Grade 4 Teacher- Suwannee County, FL

MJ Kinard is an innovative teacher who is passionate about bringing relevance and understanding to her classroom math instruction. MJ teaches elementary school in Suwannee County where she has exceeded all of the state benchmarks for excellence. Her success has led her to a new role where she now trains teachers in methods that have benefited others. MJ has been recognized as one of Florida’s High Impact Teachers for the subject of Mathematics and is categorized as a highly effective teacher.

MJ’s Goals for this Year

It is important to set goals for professional growth as we move through the school year. A few goals I hope to accomplish this year include:

1) Self-Assessment

Throughout the year I will be exploring the most beneficial ways to create a learning environment that allows for safe and honest expression of ideas and abilities. Modeling how to evaluate one’s ability through conferencing is a routine I have put in place. Eventually, my goal is to have students record their self-evaluations and “share” them with me through an online portfolio, then having students respond to feedback through an extension of idea or ability.

2) Self-Reflection

The classroom structure creates an environment that allows for opportunities to self-reflect. I will be looking for what environments promote changes in how my students see themselves as mathematicians. (Self-assessment differs from self-reflection where one is a method that is used fluidly throughout student learning to gauge the student’s confidence in a content area).

Journaling is one tool with many uses. This year I would like to provide opportunities for student reflection in journaling by holding myself more accountable. I will focus on meaningful and timely feedback, journal prompts written with specific goals and intentional teacher modeling to maximize my student’s learning and organization.

3) Purposeful Planning

I would like to make more purposeful and intentional decisions in the classroom when planning and assessing as a “road map” in their learning. This will force me to use formative assessment techniques more often than summative ones.

4) Develop Metacognition in My Students

I was involved in a 3-day lesson study at Oak Hill School in Nashville, TN that allowed me to collaborate with other teachers from around the US looking for changes I could make to build more metacognitive students. One focus area I will continue to study is the teacher’s role in the metacognitive process, such as when to intervene and when to step back and observe.

MJ congratulations on being in the spotlight! We can’t wait to check back in later in the year and watch the great work you are doing in the classroom.