Congratulations to Kelly Skinner, 3rd Grade Teacher at Waller Mill Elementary School.
Kelly Skinner is March 2017 Williamsburg’s Choice Teacher of the Month!
Kelly Skinner was voted Teacher of the Month for March 2017. Mrs. Skinner is accepting her gift card and certificate from School Crossing Owner Sherry Phipps.
Learn more about this Teacher of the Month, by reading her answers below to a series of questions we asked her about herself and teaching. We hope you enjoy reading about another wonderful teacher in our community!
- How long have you been teachingand teachingat Waller Mill Elementary and as a 3rd Grade teacher?
In total, I have taught for 13 years. I started my career in Maryland as a fifth grade teacher and then moved to Virginia to marry my husband. At that time, I started working as a fifth grade teacher at Waller Mill Elementary. I taught fifth grade for four years and then first grade for three more years at Waller Mill. Then my family relocated to North Carolina where I taught first and second grade for two years. Finally, four years ago, we returned to Williamsburg. For one year, I taught third grade at Seaford Elementary School, but for the last three years I have taught third grade at Waller Mill. I have been lucky to work at many wonderful schools, but Waller Mill is truly where I call home.
- What drew you to teaching, teachingat Waller Mill Elementary?
I knew that I always wanted to be a teacher. My mother, sister, and sister-in-law are all teachers. Many family conversations revolve around instructional ideas, planning and helping students. As a child I eagerly accompanied my mother each summer to plan, decorate and organize her classroom. I dreamed of the day that I would have my own classroom of students. Now I am fortunate enough to have that classroom at a wonderful school like Waller Mill Elementary.
- Can you mention a project where you were able to engage thekids outside ofthe classroom or stories that you heard where they brought their learning home?
Currently our class is working on a special project inspired by Katherine Applegate’s book, The One and Only Ivan. This fictional story, about a gorilla and elephant, highlights some of the hardships wild animals face in both captivity and in the wild. The story inspired our class to have a coin drive so we could sponsor an endangered animal. During the last few months we have compared fiction and nonfiction texts, participated in two class web quests, created coin jars, started a coin drive. We will also count and roll the coins collected by our class. One student has even suggested a take home pet writing project with a stuffed gorilla and elephant. The best part of this project is it was student driven and created! It is inspiring to see students take ownership of their learning.
- What perspective have you gained from being around 3rd grade children all day?
One thing my third graders remind me of daily is to have fun. When you are eight and nine years it is ok to play, it is ok to be silly, it is ok to smile, and it is ok to have fun. Sometimes I think, as adults, we get so busy that we forget to play, be silly, smile and have fun every day!
- What do you want your students to be able to do when they leave your classroom – that you know will prepare them for further education and life in general?.
I want my students to leave third grade looking for their “yet moments” in life. In our class a yet moment is any time we have not “yet” mastered something. Instead of giving up, we work hard and keeping trying. Hard work and determination are two keys to success in life. I want my students to leave third grade knowing that mistakes and failure happen, but it their response, mindset and actions, that makes the difference.
- If you could ask parents to do one thing to help their children’s academic success what would it be?
I would ask parents to read every day with their children. Read anything and everything: books, magazines, recipes, signs, game directions, instructions, and menus. Reading is the foundation to academic success.
- Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you and/or your class that you find you post, read, share or just meditate on?
“Every child deserves a champion an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” Rita Pierson
This quote encompasses my entire teaching philosophy, interactions, and attitude towards my students.
- Are you from Williamsburg? If not, where are you from, what brought you here?
I am originally from New Jersey. My husband and I met in college at the University of Delaware. A year after college, I moved to Williamsburg and continued my teaching career.
Congrats again to Mrs. Skinner and we thank her for being such a great asset to our community and teacher to our kids!!