Saying we’re proud to have such talented, hardworking, and creative faculty and staff at Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA) might be an understatement after we introduce this Hootworthy staff member! Ms. Shuman, former GCA ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) teacher currently serving as the ESOL District Supervisor has taught at GCA for ten years, five of those as an ESOL teacher. She enjoyed serving GCA’s multilingual population in the classroom, and is now leading, inspiring, and encouraging the teachers who support our multilingual students.
Last school year, Ms. Shuman was tasked with educating multilingual learners in kindergarten, her first time at that grade level as a matter of fact. Coincidentally enough, she had her own kindergartner learning online at the same time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She noticed how difficult it was for her son to stay engaged with online learning, so she began thinking how she could make her own classroom more engaging. How could she reach and keep her virtual learners engaged? Answering this question is where her hootworthy teaching strategy arose.
She remembered her hometown puppet show as a child, how interested she was in the puppetry arts, and how excited the drama made her. She thought of her son’s fascination with YouTube, fantasy, pretend, and stories. Her idea then came to life. Ms. Shuman decided her class needed one more student who lived in monster city, her puppet, Sparkle.
Ms. Shuman introduced Sparkle to her class as a multilingual learner, like them. She also let the students know Sparkle was very shy because she wasn’t very confident in her English, so Sparkle would talk to her, and Ms. Shuman would translate. The students immediately took to Sparkle. She truly shined as the star of the class. Sparkle would participate in many of the activities the students did; however, as Sparkle would sometimes get stuck on an activity, the students would help Sparkle complete it. She sometimes brought an item to class to discuss or hyped the students up to get ready for class.
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