- Who: Amy Horner
- School: Three Oaks Elementary School
- Position: Kindergarten teacher
- Principal: Dr. Vicki Parks
- Years of teaching: 16 years
- Graduated from: University of South Florida
- Hometown: Johnstown, Pa.
- Years in Southwest Florida: 30
About one hundred students, in five classes, celebrated their first graduation, on June 2, from the Three Oaks Elementary School Kindergarten class. Parents, friends and relatives were invited to attend an awards ceremony and presentation of a musical program.
Kindergarten teacher Amy Horner noted that today’s Kindergarten students are more advanced than those children she taught years ago. Horner chatted with us about the graduation program and her class.
TB: How did you wind down the school term?
AH: On Tuesday night, we had an awards ceremony. Awards were given for citizenship, participation in the Kindergarten program, recognition of homework Completion and achievement of A or A/B honor roll. The awards ceremony was followed by a musical, “The Classic Nursery Rhymes,” which were nursery rhymes covered in our core knowledge reading program at the beginning of the year.
TB: What nursery rhymes were featured in the musical?
AH: One rhyme was featured per classroom, such as, “London Bridge,” “Little Bo-Peep,” “Little Jack Horner,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Little Boy Blue.”
TB: Is the musical and original production?
AH: It comes from “Singlish: the Classic Nursery Rhymes Volume 5.”
TB: Did you collaborate with other teachers for the project?
AH: Yes, Mr. Norris, our outstanding music teacher, chose the program for us, which I believe, he somewhat adapted for our class. He also worked with the other special area, art and physical education teachers, to coordinate our reading core knowledge topics throughout their curriculum as the year progressed. Our students love to visit their special area teachers.
TB: Have you seen teaching trends change since you began teaching?
AH: Yes, I have seen changes in teaching since I first began 16 years ago. Kindergarten children of today are working at a first grade level, particularly in reading. Many students come to school having a pre-school background.
TB: What reading program does Three Oaks Elementary use?
AH: We are fortunate enough to be using the core knowledge reading program. Last year we piloted the program for the first time, after receiving a week-long training at the University of Virginia.
TB: Why is this reading program superior to those previously used?
AH: This program is the best one that I have ever used to teach reading as the stories that the students read during the skills portion of our day are 100 percent decodable from lesson to lesson.
TB: Why is that a benefit?
AH: My colleagues and I feel that this is the best method because it helps children feel successful right from the beginning.
TB: What are your future program plans?
AH: Next year, the children will continue the reading program in first grade, as their teachers will be beginning their second year using it. Our hope and goal is that we can pilot the reading program for a new grade level each year.
If you know of a student or teacher with a special achievement, contact Jean Amodea at email@example.com