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Middletown Transcript
  • Q&A with NEA Master Teacher Dana Patton

  • Old State Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Dana Patton recently was chosen as one of the 96 educators nationwide – and only two in Delaware – to join the National Education Association's Master Teacher Project.
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    • MORE ABOUT PATTON
      AGE 34

      HOMETOWN Reading, Pa.

      FAMILY Husband and daughter

      EDUCATION Reading High School, Class of 1997; bachelor's degree in ...
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      MORE ABOUT PATTON
      AGE 34
      HOMETOWN Reading, Pa.
      FAMILY Husband and daughter
      EDUCATION Reading High School, Class of 1997; bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., 2001; master's degree in curriculum and instruction from ODU, 2003
      CAREER Teacher for 11 years, including eight in the Appoquinimink School District; Currently a fifth-grade teacher at Old State Elementary
      FAVORITE BOOK The Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella
      HOBBIES Skiing, snowboarding, running, Zumba, reading, video games, Internet surfing, spending time with family, traveling, and crafts with my toddler
  • Old State Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Dana Patton recently was named one of the 96 educators nationwide – and only two in Delaware – to join the National Education Association's Master Teacher Project. The Middletown resident and her fellow Master Teachers will create more than 14,000 Common Core-aligned lessons and share them for free on BetterLesson.com.
    Q What will your responsibilities as a Master Teacher involve?
    A I will give teachers a glimpse into each day of my reading classroom. I use the Common Core standards to create lessons that I upload to the BetterLesson website. These lessons are complete with every resource I use. Videos and photos are included to give teachers a full view of how the lessons are carried out.
    Q What do you hope to provide to your fellow teachers?
    A Teachers can no longer open a textbook and read stories to teach reading. We're expected to teach students to dig deep into the text and provide thoughtful explanations, so finding resources can take some time. I'm hoping that educators can feel a bit more relaxed about searching for resources to implement the Common Core. I also want teachers to see we can still make learning engaging and fun even though our standards have changed.
    Q What made you want to get involved in this project?
    A I enjoy finding resources and planning out units of study. Whenever I come across a new activity that will engage my students, I can't wait to try it out. Appoquinimink put together an amazing team of professionals to create Common Core units in reading and writing, and that experience has pushed me to pursue more professional development in that area. This project will allow me to work with 96 of the most talented educators in the nation and enhance my craft. I am so excited to learn and share my knowledge at the same time.
    Q How has the Common Core changed the way you approach lessons in your classroom?
    A I've always taught standards-based instruction, so the Common Core hasn't changed my approach much. It's actually made things easier for me because educators all across the nation are creating activities centered around a common topic. I have more resources now than I ever did before. Also, in my district, we pose Common Core-related questions during each lesson that let the students know what we'll work on each day. My students are more focused on the topics because they know exactly what I want them to master.
    Q What do you love most about being a teacher?
    A I love learning from my students. Seeing life through their eyes keeps me grounded and helps me enjoy life so much more. Every day I walk into the room thinking I'll be teaching them something new, but still, after 11 years, I think I learn more than they do. Every year, 30 different children leave a mark on me that helps me continue to grow. Not many people can say their character is directly shaped by hundreds of people in their lifetime. I truly feel like the luckiest person in the world to have this opportunity.

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