Asking “why” is something that started at a young age for Lauren Flot, which is a practice she now instills in her students. Ms. Flot is a kindergarten teacher, grade-level lead, content leader, and Dean Prep Academy participant at Brooklyn Dreams Charter School.
When she teaches, she tries to provide an explanation of “why” that her students can understand. For example, her class recently took a field trip to a pizzeria where students were able to witness the importance of sequencing when making a pizza. When they returned to the classroom, students sequenced the steps of making a pizza in a project titled “How to Make Pizza.”
The “why” doesn’t stop with classroom lessons, she also extends it to classroom rules, the social contract, routines, and procedures, during which she has found that students are more likely to follow the rules if they understand the reasoning behind them.
“For our classroom rule ‘raise your hand to talk,’ my scholars now know that they need to wait their turn to speak,” said Ms. Flot. “Their peers will even call them out now if they interrupt. It feels good when I see my scholars take ownership like this.”
Ms. Flot believes the coolest, and most difficult, part of teaching kindergarten is that it’s usually the students’ first time being in school, so everything is new to them.
“Walking in a line in the hallway, going to the bathroom on their own during a class bathroom break, or eating lunch with their friends at a table in a busy lunchroom can be overwhelming,” said Ms. Flot.
Although she believes this is sometimes exhausting, it’s also one of her favorite parts of the school year. “When a student lights up at seeing all of the math manipulatives that they can use, when they are immersed in a read aloud, or when they get to experience a specials class and enjoy making an art project, this, as cheesy as it sounds, makes me remember the joy of teaching and seeing the world through a child’s eyes,” said Ms. Flot.
She loves teaching reading, something she believes is much easier to do in front of younger kids. Parents sometimes tell her they are nervous to read in front of the class, and Ms. Flot assures them that younger students are a great audience.
“Children at this age are excited to hear books read aloud to them, are almost always interested in the plot or topic, and ask questions about the story or comment on what they notice,” said Ms. Flot. “This is definitely one of the beauties of teaching the little ones.”
One of her past scholars, a now third grader, recently came back to her class to read to the class. Ms. Flot originally planned to have her be a book buddy for some struggling scholars, but the third grader wanted to read to the whole class. Ms. Flot reflected on what a phenomenal job she did reading the Dr. Seuss book, which she mentioned was extremely lengthy.
“During the read aloud, she guided my scholars in making predictions about the book based on the clues that she pointed out on the cover,” said Ms. Flot. “She built students’ comprehension by asking them questions after reading each page."
Ms. Flot expressed how impressed and full of pride she felt after seeing how her past student had grown over the years. “This was an incredible reminder of why I do what I do and how my talented colleagues are able to build on students’ talents each year,” said Ms. Flot.
Rumana Rahman, dean of lower elementary at Brooklyn Dreams, reflected on what makes Ms. Flot such an outstanding educator. “Within our school community, she is seen as an exceptional teacher who constantly leans in whenever there is a need. All who are present of Ms. Flot can benefit from observing a teacher who truly exemplifies one who is able to transfer learning from one area to another with ease.”
Keep up the incredible work, Ms. Flot!