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This Pembroke Kindergarten Class is Engaged and Ready to Learn

Haley Brink  |  February 14, 2020

Engagement in the classroom is vital – and this teacher’s classroom is continually engaged in fun ways. Stevie Reilly, kindergarten teacher at Pembroke Academy, is in her second year with the school, and is already making a huge impact on her students.

“Miss Reilly is a caring educator that has a growth mindset who never forgets about bringing the joy factor to teaching,” said Salwa Kinsey, assistant principal at Pembroke. “She has an exceptional focus on small group instruction and differentiation, strategically planning for her students to maximize their growth. She makes learning fun and celebrates her students’ achievements every step of the way. Parents love her, staff love her, and most of all her students adore her and have had so much growth with her leading the way!”

According to Mrs. Kinsey, Miss Reilly has one of the highest levels of student engagement. She utilizes a handful of class calls to get her students’ attention. For example:

  • She says, “peanut butter,” they say, “jelly.”
  • She says, “macaroni,” they say, “cheese.”
  • She says, “are you ready kids,” and they yell back “aye, aye, captain.” She says, “I can’t hear you,” and they say, “aye, aye, captain.” Then she says, “oh” and her students pretend to have a bubble in their mouths while they wait for directions.

“I try to incorporate whole-brain learning to engage the students’ brains and bodies to maximize their engagement,” said Miss Reilly.

She tells students to “kiss their brains” when they get a question right or make a connection, and she has a few different celebration cheers. The roller coaster cheer is when students start on the ground and slowly stand up while making a roller coaster motion with their hands, saying “click, click, click, click” until they’re standing, and then moving their hands up and down saying, “woohoo” like they’re on a roller coaster. She even has a trucker cheer, which is when they hold one arm up like they’re pulling a horn, they yell “honk, honk,” and then they pretend they are on a radio in a truck saying, “Good job, buddy! Good job!”

Miss Reilly is all about celebrating a successful academic week. Every Friday, if her students have had a good week, they’ll hold a Fun Friday. This engaging activity has only one rule: no talking. Each student receives half a blank sheet of paper. Miss Reilly draws an animal on the board one step at a time, and the students copy what she draws.  “The fun part of this activity is that the students have to guess what animal we are drawing before we finish,” said Miss Reilly. “At the end, they have time to color and make a scene for the animal.”

But the engagement doesn’t stop there in Miss Reilly’s classroom. She likes to sing with her kids. “I have a song for just about anything that I teach. I believe it helps them remember what we are learning about. We also have so much fun doing it.”

Great job, Miss Reilly!