Name: Kelly Hiatt
School: Omaha Public Schools
Located: Omaha, Nebraska
Number years teaching: 25
What do you teach and to what grade(s)?
I teach computer application skills to students in kindergarten to sixth grade. I am also the cosponsor for the Robotics Club, STEM Club, and the newly formed LEGO® Club. We work with students in third through sixth grades in these clubs.
Why do you like what you teach?
I love helping both teachers and students integrate technology into the curriculum. Students are motivated and engaged when they get to do a differentiated project on the computer, whether it is a PowerPoint presentation, podcast, creating a brochure, or making an iMovie. Kids love coming to the computer lab to learn new and interesting ways of doing things!
Did you always want to be a teacher?
YES! I have always wanted to be a teacher! When I was young, my friends and I would play school and I always ended up being the teacher!
Why do you like to teach with hands-on products?
I love to teach with hands-on products because you can actually see the lightbulb in a student’s head turn on when they understand a concept. The students are more motivated to work and can retain the concept that you are teaching. Hands-on products make learning fun for our students!
How does using hands-on products improve the students’ learning experiences?
When students are actively engaged in what they are learning, they will then be motivated to retain the concept. It is so important for students to explore and discover on their own concepts using hands-on learning. It is also important for students to know that it is OK to make a mistake. The important thing is to go back to the drawing board and try again to make whatever they are working on successful. I believe that hands-on learning is so much more important than just finding answers out of a book. And most importantly, it is fun for the students!
How long have you been using Pitsco Education products?
This will be our first year using Pitsco Education products. I am very excited to try them out!
How do the students respond to Pitsco Education products?
I know they are going to love them! Our students love doing hands-on activities.
What's your greatest teaching accomplishment?
It is so hard to pinpoint my greatest teaching accomplishment. There are so many. Most of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch and have many challenges in their lives. As our school’s testing coordinator, I get to see the academic growth of our students from the beginning of the school year to the end of the year. This is rewarding! I am so proud of the hard work that has been shown by our students. As a specialist in our school, I get the pleasure of working with students in various grade levels and watching them grow and achieve throughout the school year. I absolutely love working with kindergartners at the beginning of the year and watching them grow both socially and academically, especially when they can read me a short story at the end of the year! I also love interacting with the older students, watching them work together when using the scientific method of inquiry or the engineering design process through STEM. I always love it when former students come back and tell me that my class was always their favorite and how much they learned from me. I love being a teacher and working with my students!
Visit www.pitsco.com/scholarship for details about the scholarship or to nominate an educator you know.