Where and what do you currently teach?
I am currently an elementary school computer teacher in Marlboro, New Jersey. I’ve been a computer teacher in Marlboro for 19 years, however, my first year was in the middle school. Last year, my school was 2:1 with Chromebooks. This year, our first graders are 1:1 with Nexus tablets and our second through fifth graders are 1:1 with Chromebooks.
My role within the school changed this year. Rather than being a special’s (related to arts) teacher, where teachers drop off the students, I am pushing into classes, working directly with just about every teacher in my school, and integrating technology into the academics.
Why did you go into teaching?
From an early age, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Once I got to first grade, my first grade teacher, Mrs. Gerber, made an incredible impression on me. At that point, I knew that was what I was going to be.
Until I went to college, I thought I would be a first grade teacher and hoped to be half the teacher Mrs. Gerber was. Once I saw other grade levels during various student practicums, I decided that first grade was good, but the older (elementary) grades were, too.
My first day of substituting in Marlboro was for a computer teacher and at that point, I realized it was fun, the kids were learning, and I liked it a lot. The rest is history!
What about your job gives you hope?
It’s funny, but there is something about the beginning of the year that always gives me hope. Hope for a good year. Hope to give my students what they need. Hope to make my class an enjoyable one they will remember. I love the enthusiasm kids show when they “get it.” It’s fun to see how excited they get.
How have you used Edcite at your school?
I began using Edcite this past fall with my third, fourth, and fifth graders. More recently, I began using it with second graders and most recently I began using it with the first graders. With the older children, using Edcite was primarily for PARCC preparation. It allowed me to introduce the children to the types of questions they will encounter and create questions myself. My goal with second grade was to introduce them to the different types of questions. For them, they’re enjoying the challenge of the variety of questions. The first graders are another ball of wax entirely. I am creating activities that integrate with their math lessons and their Daily 5 Centers. Once they got the hang of it, the actual integration was seamless.
What makes you Edcited about using Edcite?
Without any question, it’s the first graders! The enthusiasm, delight, and squealing over the activities is mind-blowing. It can energize (or re-energize) anyone. One student did the same activity multiple times. When the classroom teacher asked why, he said he wanted to because he liked it a lot. He did not feel like it was run-of-the-mill work and probably did not realize that it could have been an assessment of sorts. Another time, the same class was jumping up and down and squealing with delight after they saw an activity I created for them. They were so excited, they had their teacher write me a thank you letter which they taped on the door to my room. They see me and they think Edcite. They get Edcited and I do, too!
Final Words of Wisdom?
What I find wonderful is that I can create something that makes a difference. Using Edcite, I can create activities that integrate, however, they do so in a way that the children don’t always realize they are working. It’s fun!
Sharon Julien is currently a computer teacher at Marlboro Elementary School in New Jersey. As an undergraduate, Sharon studied at the University of Maryland at College Park and, as a graduate student, she studied at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, New Jersey. Sharon has been working closely with the Edcite team over the last few months, giving us continual feedback on how to help elementary school teachers and students succeed on the site. Sharon was one of the earliest teachers to suggest that a CSV upload would be helpful for elementary school students, and we implemented that feature less than a month later!