Tara Bova is a grade 3 teacher at Barbara Blanchard Elementary School in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
Tara has been a teacher since 2013, starting first as a health teacher in rehabilitation facilities. Working with so many adults in the area as a health teacher helped Tara realize that she had a passion for education. She began her career as a school teacher when she began teaching third grade at Blanchard Elementary. Tara has spent four years teaching third grade and four years teaching second grade at Blanchard, and her passion is trying new things in the classroom! Her brave approach continues to inspire her students to be fearless when they try new things! SEL, technology, and collaboration are all common themes in her classroom!
Tara on Powerful Learning:
What’s one strategy teachers can use to incorporate Powerful Learning?
“I always try to start off my day with a mindful practice. One of my favorite mindful practices is to have my students take a few seconds to listen quietly to the sounds in our classroom. I dim the lights and once that amount of time is up we discuss what we can hear. I will do this for a smaller amount of time at the beginning of the year and then gradually increase the duration of the session.
Mindful practices help to ground students and bring them into the present. Clearing their minds and bringing them back to the present can be difficult, but I find that this strategy helps so much to get them to refocus and ready for the moment! It also helps them to feel safe and aware of their surroundings.”
What’s one student project that demonstrates powerful learning?
“The Adobe Spark video is from a second-grader at the beginning of the year being introduced to researching and citing sources. The picture of the mini room model was done with virtual third-grade students. We learned about architecture, making blueprints of our rooms, and then created a mini model! Students applied the engineering design process to complete this activity.”
What book has influenced your thinking on powerful teaching and learning?
“Raising Human Beings by Ross Green. This book is a great look at reframing traditional discipline into a more trauma-informed approach.”
Ask Tara about:
“Making connections with other classrooms and ways to incorporate this into your lessons! I have collaborated with more than 75 classrooms in the US and globally, I have put together group events such as Global Read Aloud Day get-togethers, and I love collaborating with other schools that use the same curriculum. Students shared each week on Flipgrid what they learned from that weekly story and if they would recommend the story to a friend.
I have presented on this topic at different conferences. I have done both short-term and long-term collaborations. If you are looking to integrate social-emotional practice into your classroom and are looking where to start or just new strategies! I integrate a variety of practices, such as talking circles and restorative circles. I have been to a variety of conferences and I am part of my school’s Trauma-Informed Team.
Also, ask me about incorporating more tech into your classroom! I have always loved incorporating tech into the classroom, but this past year I have been teaching virtually and have been fully immersed in using technology in all aspects of day-to-day instruction.”
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