Mrs. Estrada's Kinder Class

A little about me...

Education and Teaching Background   

           I am a native Las Crucen who has been teaching in the LCPS district for ten years.  I graduated from NMSU with Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in December, 2001. I obtained a Master of Arts degree in Education with a Science emphasis from NMSU in May, 2011.  I completed my student teaching internship at Hillrise Elementary in a second/third grade classroom. I began my teaching career in fourth grade, I taught first grade for one year, and when I transferred to Desert Hills I began teaching Kindergarten. I have remained in this position for seven years.  I look forward to another wonderful school year!! 

Personal Background   

          I am married and have one daughter who keeps my husband and I very busy.  I love to spend time with my family, I love to read, and I LOVE to spend any extra time away from home at the beach. The unequivocal beauty of the ocean during our family vacation adventures and my love of the ocean was an inspiring factor for my interest in the Rio Grande.  It is amazing to me how all the waters of the world are linked, all living organisms rely on this water, and how important it is to teach the "next generation" an appreciation and respect for aquatic environments.   

         Since a young age, I have always had a strong interest in Science. After observing my daughter and my students demonstrate a similar, innate interest in Science and Nature, I have become passionate about integrating Science Education into the daily curriculum. I continue to build my content knowledge in regards to Science topics relevant to my students, and I'm constantly researching engaging Science lessons to implement into our classroom learning. On May 20, 2011 I was recognized by President Obama as an awardee of the Presidential Award of Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.  My experiences in Washington D.C. have motiviated me to continue to encourage and inspire the next generation of scientists, innovators, teachers, and leaders.   

Classroom Philosophy           

“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”                     John. F. Kennedy

      Children are filled with a wealth of experiences! As an educator, I need to teach to each child in a way that builds and expands on these experiences to create meaningful learning. One opportunity I always take advantage of, and that assists me in understanding a child, is creating a positive Home-School connection.  My classroom is always open to visitors; I encourage fun, educational home projects that coincide with classroom objectives; and I maintain a consistent, open line of communication with my classroom families. Through this connection, I gain not only the acceptance, respect, and trust of my students and their families, but I also can relate to their values and backgrounds more effectively.

      Besides their experiences, children also have diverse ways in which they learn best.  These learning styles are focused on in my classroom by collaborative grouping, using a wide variety of pedagogical strategies, and taking into account Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences. One Intelligence that I feel is often overlooked in a classroom is the Naturalistic Intelligence. Being an Elementary Educator, I have discovered that almost all students are fascinated, excited, and motivated to learn about elements in Nature, especially if they can experience it first-hand. It is through this realm that I can not only teach a wide variety of academic objectives, but also skills that encourage the growth of good citizenship, being active participants in society, and learning respect for the environment that surrounds them.

      In my classroom, my structure is focused on To/With/By.  This structure, developed by Margaret Mooney, is integral to the Balanced Literacy approach; however, this structure can be used across all subjects in the curriculum.  It allows the teacher to serve as a proficient/fluent model for the students (TO), scaffold the learning of the children in whole group, small groups, or one-on-one (WITH), and allows the children time to practice their learned skills independently (BY).  It is through this structure that has given my students the motivation to meet their highest expectations in a safe, learning environment.

       Although I have many high expectations in my classroom, my main focus is always on student success and student happiness.  If I take the time to build a good rapport amongst my students and their families we can respect one another for our similarities and our differences.  I also consistently use proactive classroom management.  I set clear expectations at the beginning of the year, and these expectations are continually revisited and re-evaluated throughout the year.  It is through these efforts that my students become more conscientious of their behavior and how it affects the classroom as a whole.  I always use positive reinforcement to influence all the children to do the same.   

       In conclusion, when others describe my classroom I would want the words STUDENT-CENTERED, HIGH EXPECTATIONS, ENTHUSIASM, REFLECTIVE, RESPECT, and CONSTRUCTIVE to be used.  I truly believe that through the years, I have become more passionate about my teaching due to the achievements and development I witness each year in all of my students.  This passion is the driving force for my continual professional development to enhance my students’ success!