Gwendolyn Faulkner, 2018 Fellow
Second Grade Teacher
McKenzie Elementary School | Wilmette, IL
Gwen’s classroom is engineered to be a student-centered, flexible learning environment. Her students tweet daily about their classroom activities through the class Twitter feed, which she started several years ago as a means for parents to stay informed about what their children were doing at school. They take turns serving as class reporters to capture and caption the day’s significant moments. This year, students also began delivering “on-air” reports via video clips of their presentations during non-fiction reading and writing units. Parents of Gwen’s students share with her that this communications channel helps them to have more fruitful conversations with their children about school. At the end of the school year, the class will review the Twitter feed to reflect on and appreciate how much they have learned and grown. Student empowerment is core to Gwen’s teaching. This year, through a partnership with Together We Rise, she helped her students tackle concerns they had shared about the lack of personal integrity, kindness, and diversity in the discourse surrounding the recent presidential election. The service-learning project led by her students helped raise funds to purchase suitcases for children in foster care. The effort helped her students feel empowered to take action to help others and fostered their personal awareness and empathy. Gwen says the lifeblood of her classroom is love and laughter. As a result of her achievement in the classroom, she was recognized with a teacher tribute from The Alliance for Early Childhood Education, Beyond Pencils and Gluesticks Grants.
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