Last May, when Instructor magazine asked Trina Gunzel to write a feature on how teachers ease first day jitters, she knew just who to interview.
At the time she wrote the article, Gunzel was the English language learning teacher at Julia Randall Elementary School. So, she asked her peers at JRE to share their ideas.
"They did and their contribution made my article a success," Gunzel said.
"First Day Jitters? 5 ways to make kids feel welcome" was published in this month's edition of Instructor magazine .
In the article, Gunzel, Dawn Ashton-Proudfoot, Jeanne Ann Greer, Linda Ansick, Roxanne Savage, Nancy Wright and second grade teacher Susan Ryden shared their insight.
For instance, Jeanne Greer had a way of making first graders and their families feel like celebrities when she taught first grade (she is now retired). As part of orientation she took a picture of each student with his or her family.
"What would you like to learn this year?"
That is the question pre-first grade teacher Ashton-Proudfoot asks her new students to answer through a drawing. She mails the question in a letter to her pupils and parents before school starts and includes drawing paper.
"That age group is very trusting, open and honest," Ashton-Proudfoot said. "They are fun to teach."
Linda Ansick said she welcomes kindergartners with homemade gingerbread man cookies.
Second-graders in Savage's class share stories in a time capsule.
While Wright's kindergartners learned each other's names, and the alphabet through a variety of activities, like Wright adding their names to the classroom's word wall. Wright taught kindergarten last year and is a substitute teacher for the district this year.
Last school year, Gunzel used a "bee" theme to teach her pupils to "bee" safe, "bee" respectful and "bee" responsible.
This year, she is staying home to be with her two year old son and work for herself as an educational trainer and consultant.
"Their ideas have been shared nationally and they will never truly know how much they have inspired others or touched classrooms by serving as a mentor through this magazine," Gunzel said.
It is difficult not to get bogged down and keep instructional material fresh, according to Greer who taught for 26 years, the last 10 at JRE, before retiring. Exchanging ideas at conferences and praying are two of the ways she kept ideas fresh in her career.
"It is important to have quiet time for yourself during the day, which is almost becoming unheard of, where you can actually be in your room and ponder and meditate and just look through things you don't get to look through all the time," Greer said. "When you make it fresh for yourself you can't help but make it fresh for the kids."
The three teachers, Ansick, Savage and Wright, whose ideas appeared in "First day Jitters?" received a copy of the August issue of Instructor magazine plus a $50 gift certificates.
The certificates can be used to purchase any books or materials they would like from Scholastic, the publisher of Instructor magazine.
It was recognition they weren't expecting.
"I am so excited for them," said Gunzel, who has loved writing since she was a child. "I will be doing future assignments and would love to help other teachers get their ideas published and receive recognition."
According to Hannah Trierweiler, associate editor of Instructor, the magazine is always in search of fresh ideas direct from the classroom.
Activities, lessons, success stories and teaching tips may be submitted to Instructor magazine, P. O. Box 713, New York, NY 10013 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Contributors of ideas that are used receive a copy of that issue of Instructor and a $50 Scholastic gift certificate.
-- To reach Carol La Valley call 474-5251 ext. 122 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.