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Berlin Central School District introduced a monthly highlight on its teachers last month. It is Teacher Feature, teachers from the elementary, middle and high schools will be presented each month.

BCSD will quote their responses to a light-hearted questionnaire. This is an opportunity for the teachers at BCSD to share a little about themselves as well as offer some advice from a teacher’s perspective.

November’s featured teachers are, Ms. Rontey from the elementary school, Ms. DeCelle from the middle school and from the high school Mrs. Colbert.

 

Ms. Rontey

Ms. Rontey BES
3rd Grade Teacher

1. What is your favorite memory from school?

My favorite memory from school is probably field trips from Stephentown Elementary. I particularly liked visiting Hancock Shaker Village and learning how to make candles. 

2. What would the students be surprised to find out about you? What is one of your hidden talents?

I think students might be surprised to know that I have been practicing yoga for over 20 years!  One of my hidden talents is that I can do a backbend! 

3. What makes a ‘good day’ at school?

A good day at school is when I have taught my students something new and I know that they understand what we have learned.  I especially love hearing students excited to learn and wanting to come back the next day to learn more! I also love the feeling of community in my classroom.  When I see students helping and learning from one another, this makes a good day at school! 

4. What kinds of questions do you suggest that I ask my child(ren) on a daily basis after a day at school?

I like to ask my own children about the best and worst parts of their day.  I also ask them to tell me something they learned that day. Sometimes our children forget to tell us about their day and it is a good way to begin a discussion.  It is important for me to know how they feel about school and what they are learning. 

5. What are the best resources that we should consider using to support our child in the classroom?

Seesaw is a very helpful resource for parents in grades K-3, activities are posted daily.  It is also a great tool for parent/teacher communication. Students in grades 4-12 are using Schoology for the same purposes. It is so important to maintain communication with your child’s teacher and to understand what activities your child is working on each day.  IXL is also another great resource for extra practice of math facts at home.  It is so important that children are reading each night.  Epic is a great resource for reading at home if books are limited.  Access your local library as well.  They are the center of your community and have unlimited access to all of your child’s reading needs! 

6. If you could take the students on a field trip to anywhere in the world, where would you take them?

I love watching children learn from a museum. I have always wanted to take my students to Plimoth Plantation, a museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts telling the story of the Wampanoag People and the Colonial English community in the 1600s.  I would also love to take my students to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City or the Museum of Science in Boston Massachusetts.  

7. What is your “trapped on a desert island” book?

I have so many favorites, it is hard to pick just one!  One story I read to my class every year is The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. It is one of seven novels in the Chronicles of Narnia.  My father read this story to my brother and I as children and I have continued to read it to my students today! I love the sense of imagination in this book.  The idea of entering a wardrobe into this world of talking animals and mythical creatures that is ruled by an evil White Witch was always so magical to me! 

Ms. DeCelle

Ms. DeCelle
BMHS Art Teacher

1. What is your favorite memory from school?
One of my favorite memories of school: I was carefree in elementary school where my mom taught. Here, I had a teacher, who was also a theater director. She had us singing & dancing daily. Each year, it was amazing, our whole class participated in what felt to me, like a Broadway production.

2. What would the students be surprised to find out about you?
I worked on an Island off the coast of South Carolina where I observed and documented the behavior of monkeys for National Institute of Health.

3. What is one of your hidden talents?
My astounding sense of direction. This is not a joke, you can trust me, I know the way! This may be the scenic route, but this is on purpose.

4. What makes a ‘good day’ at school?
A good day in the art room is when students become fearless artistic risk takers. Truly, a good day is when students are kind and help one another. Most days are good!

5. What kinds of questions do you suggest that I ask my child(ren) on a daily basis after a day at school?
Are you thirsty? During covid and remote learning, life is confusing and overwhelming. Children need time to process. A good walk would be ideal, then, wait for it….. Listen. I would then ask about that backpack. “Unpack that. What is in there? “ Let’s get organized: What do you for Period #1… so on…? “

6. What are the best resources that we should consider using to support our child in the classroom?
Direct communication. If your child has a question about an assignment or just needs clarity, do not hesitate to email the teacher directly. We are here for you. As a parent, I would spend a good amount of time getting to know Schoology and visit the Berlin School Website for updates.

  • Your child should utilize their .berlincentral.org email & Google Drive. Here, they create and should share Documents, Slide etc. with both you and the instructor.
  •  A quiet place, where they can focus’ and keep their school work organized.

7. If you could take the students on a field trip to anywhere in the world, where would you take them?
Ok, this will be a year long ‘Globe Trotting’ Volunteer Field Trip.
We will meet with schools from around the world, exploring art, architecture, music, food and the ecosystems.
In each location, we will volunteer our time to build a global community!
Is this too much to ask?

8. What is your “trapped on a desert island” book?
I am taking this literally. An edible plant identification (survival) book.

 

Mrs. Colbert

Mrs. Colbert
BMHS Art Teacher

1. What is your favorite memory from school?
Parachute or scooter day in P.E. class, definitely. But aside from that, I just remember the social things: inside jokes, chatting at the lockers, dancing horribly at school dances, trying to figure out what my best AIM away message would be, and passing notes to friends between classes (yes, paper notes, we didn’t have texting or social media).

2. What would the students be surprised to find out about you? What is one of your hidden talents?
Artsy people can also be athletic! It’s not one or the other. I love basketball. I don’t play so much any more, but I love the game. I once made 86 free throws in a row. It was in my driveway and there were no witnesses, but I swear it happened.

3. What makes a ‘good day’ at school?
A “good day” at school usually revolves around great conversations and laughing with my students. In the Art Studio, there are sometimes more opportunities to chat while we work so I enjoy getting to know my students and witnessing them grow as people from year to year.

4. What kinds of questions do you suggest that I ask my child(ren) on a daily basis after a day at school?
“How were you creative today?” or “Tell me about an art technique you learned about or practiced today” and then ask them to show you. Most children love to show off their art to their families (even if they’re a grumbling teenager and might say they don’t want to…).

5. What are the best resources that we should consider using to support our child in the classroom?
The best resource for Art is interacting with it in the real world, as much as you can. Experiencing art is totally different in person. MASS MoCA, The Clark Art Institute and The Williams College Museum of Art are super close to school over in MA. There are local outdoor sculpture parks that you can visit as a family for an inexpensive trip out. Art Omi is over in Ghent (by Chatham) and Storm King Art Center is a longer road trip of about 2 hours south. You can walk through the trails to see the sculptures, read the captions, have discussions and take a picnic to have lunch. A cheaper, socially-distanced activity in the outdoors! Right now, most museums also have virtual tours of their exhibitions online. “Visit” a museum with your child(ren) and talk about the art – What pieces did they enjoy? Why? A virtual experience is better than none at all.

6. If you could take the students on a field trip to anywhere in the world, where would you take them?
Oh, the choices! There are so many amazing museums and pieces of architecture to see around the globe, but I have always wanted to take students to the Louvre in France or the Uffizi Gallery in Italy. Someday!

7. What is your “trapped on a desert island” book?
I struggle with reading and did all through school. I didn’t give up though – it just took me more time to read something and be able to understand it. I am more of a visual person who enjoys illustrations/photographs along with the words so my desert island choice would be a stack of graphic novels, comic books (some good ol’ Calvin & Hobbes) or non-fiction books about Art History.