NYCDOE Vice Chancellor Weinberg Visits Star Teacher, Ms. Camano!

Ms. Camano teaches 5th grade departmentalized math and science at P.S 43 Jonas Bronck. While a student at Lehman College, she did her student teaching there during the 2013-2014 school year and then was hired full-time. She has taught there for 4 years (since September 2014). Principal Giovanna Delucchi often recognizes Ms. Camano’s expert teaching, so arranged for Vice Chancellor Phil Weinberg to visit in Spring 2018. Below is an article written by Ms. Alicia Camano about her experience.

A Proud Summary of the Vice Chancellor of the NYC Department of Education’s Visit To My Classroom!

By Alicia Camano

Why you think your class was selected for a visit by the vice chancellor?
The Vice Chancellor’s goal was to visit the schools in the Bronx. He wanted to familiarize himself with the schools and what was going on in the classrooms.

Why has the principal often recognized your teaching?
The principal realizes that I engage my students through questioning and hands on activities. I encourage my students to work with partners and in groups. They provide feedback to each other and assess themselves and their peers.  My teaching is interactive. My students have opportunities to actively participate through questioning and feedback. My students set goals and take steps to accomplish them. I also have a Coding Club in which my students learn how to code. They have opportunities to interact with various technology such as Spheros, Lego Mindstorm, Dash and Dot Robot, Hot Dots, Osmo, and a 3-D printer. This helps my students to be college and career ready. It prepares them to be productive members of society.
What makes your class stand out? What do you do differently?
·       My class stands out because I take my students needs into consideration so they can be successful. I focus on having a classroom that is student-centered. I facilitate their learning by acting as a guide on the side. My students engage in partner or whole group discussions to share their thinking with peers and to problem solve. Students use a Qball to engage in whole group discussions. Students share their opinions using hand signals to signal if they agree, disagree, or if they want to comment. Then they select a speaker to support their answer.  My classroom is designed to suit my student’s needs, such as using different entry points with modifications and differentiation, such flexible seating. It also has a chill zone for the students to cool off and refocus if they should become distracted or upset. This helps them to calm their minds and bodies in order to help them shift their mood and refocus during trying situations.
·       I follow the blended learning pedagogical approach. I focus on student-centered, technology-integrated learning environments because it helps to produce students who are better able to think critically, solve problems, collaborate with others, and engage deeply in the learning process. I value perspective thinking and learning by doing. I promote a safe social learning environment in order for students to learn productively. Not only I would like to grow in teaching others, but I also enjoy expanding my own understanding and knowledge of teaching and learning. I encourage students to use technology in innovative ways.
·       I was able to purchase many tools for teaching and learning, especially through technology. I also received a lot of support and donations from Donors Choose. Donors Choose supports classrooms in need by allowing sponsors to donate directly to those classrooms for support with materials and experiences.
How do your incorporate technology in your teaching/share more about the 3D scan, etc?
I incorporate technology in my classroom because it exposes my students to becoming creators instead of just consumers. I want my students to learn how to use technology in different ways such as problem solving real life situations. I focus on a student-centered, technology-integrated learning environment because it can help to produce students who are better able to think critically, solve problems, collaborate with others, and engage deeply in the learning process. My students were not exposed to different ways to use various technology. This school year I have exposed my fifth grade students to coding and robotics such as the; 3D printer,, Scratch, Dash and Dot Robot, Spheros, Makey Makey, Osmo, and Lego Mindstorms EV3. Exposing my students to new technology has had a positive effect on my students, especially with their motivation, interests, and mathematical and technical skills.

Since our world is constantly changing, it is important to embrace it and grow with change. We live in a time where technology is changing and making the world smaller. The way we interact and learn is also changing in amazing ways. We have to prepare students to be successful citizens of the 21st century. Technology is crucial for our students to learn because it will help them to be successful leaders of tomorrow.

About the classroom visit:
Deputy Chancellor Phil Weinberg visited Jonas Bronck on February 5, 2018, during the second period 9:05 with Dr. Delucchi. He observed a math lesson using math manipulatives.

Mr. Weinberg interacted with students from the first Coding Club. Students were able to articulate how to use the 3D printer and the benefits of using it. Students mentioned the centers used in the coding club. They modeled how to use the Dash and Dot Robot and the use of the 3D printer to solve real world problems such as in our classroom. Students came up with the idea to create cable holders to keep the students safe and protect the cables to our smartboard and laptop to prevent students from tripping or getting hurt or damaging the cables.

Both Mr. Weinberg  and Dr. Delucchi were impressed with the students and how much they knew about coding and technology. They were so impressed that it motivated them to get down on the rug with the students and interact with the technology tools. Later that evening, Mr. Weinberg tweeted a comment about my instruction, my students, and his overall experience in my classroom.

Why I love teaching and my future goals:
I love teaching because the needs of my students and their overall happiness are important to me. I believe that my students have to be proud of what they do and of their accomplishments. They don’t have to be great but they have to do their best. My goal is to bring out the best in my students. This will help them to be happier students and to feel successful.

Since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to be a teacher. My sister struggled in reading which motivated me to join the Read Foundation and become a tutor. From that point forward I was motivated to aspire to become a teacher. While I was a student teacher, I met great and knowledgeable teachers who influenced me and motivated me to aspire to become a teacher who cares and motivates students. Today I am that teacher for many students in my class and in my school.

I want my students to be motivated and eager to learn. I love when my students say “Now I get it.” or “Ms. Camano I wish you were my teacher forever.” I was a shy student when I was younger. I met a science teacher in middle school who knew that I struggled and provided me support during after school hours. She took those moments to help me improve. That kind gesture impacted my life. It was a great moment for me. It showed me how much care and dedication goes into teaching. It is more than a job. It is a lifetime commitment, a calling. I am overjoyed when my students overcome their struggles and challenges. I am pleased when they succeed. When my students succeed, I feel like I succeed also. I feel proud.

What else would I like to share that’s relevant?
My students are motivated to learn more about technology. They interact with eat other daily. My lesson require students to think about their learning and to learn from their peers. They assess each other as well as themselves. This helps them to grow. They think and respond on a higher level. I want them to think beyond what’s on the page. These skills will help them to become lifelong learners. These skills are essential for college and in their careers.

Quality review feedback:
I received feedback from the quality review. The feedback was encouraging. The reviewer saw evidence of high levels of student thinking and participation throughout the classroom. The reviewer observed a fifth grade math project which asked students to select two field trip locations they think will be fun to visit. Students were asked to explain how much each field trip would cost, including items such as calculating food costs. Then the students had to make a final choice for a field trip location. Once students selected their two trips, they wrote a letter to state their position. Students used graphic organizers to help with their research and used peer checklists to review their classmates’ work. Students used a checklist along with the rubric in order to allow them to take active ownership of their learning. They used these tools as a guide for completing the project. Students’ final written projects were articulate and clearly explained the process they used. The projects even included artwork to give the readers a complete view of their work. During the student meeting, students were able to articulate their knowledge of the rubric using language such as “novice” when referring to a level one and “apprentice” when referring to a level two. This showed the students are active participants in their learning and they are comfortable with giving and receiving feedback about their work. This made a good impression on the reviewer since student-centered learning is a major goal.