If you peeked into the resource room at Knapp Charter Academy recently, you might think something fishy was going on. Carissa Moore, special education teacher at Knapp, went above and beyond to take her students under the sea for a week by transforming her classroom into an ocean from floor to ceiling.
In her seven years with NHA, she has never done anything like this. Moore took an interest in sea life when she went snorkeling on vacation, where she was able to interact with sea creatures. She especially liked stingrays, starfish, sharks, and sea turtles. She let her experiences guide and inspire her classroom transformation. What a great way to relive a vacation!
Back in the classroom, Moore worked on sensory, writing, math, reading, sight words, and communication with her students using fun ocean-themed activities, including fishing for initial sounds, writing CVC words in the sand, using sight word “bubble” balloons, and writing in “Ocean Animal Research Journals.”
“My kids are excited to ‘swim’ with me each day,” said Moore. “They are actively engaged in activities. They ask clarifying questions and wondering questions related to the activities and the world around them. They are also making connections to their own experiences and making new memories. I’ve never seen my students this excited to come to my room.”
Keeping students engaged for an entire week is something to be proud of, especially when it comes to creating and planning a whole week of ocean-specific activities. Luckily, Instagram and Pinterest were there to help the creative juices flow.
“This is my first classroom transformation, and I am hooked! We are all loving it, and I am already planning my next one,” said Moore.
She is an inspiration to teachers for taking on a classroom-wide transformation, and for jumping into her next idea so soon.
“Carissa’s dedication and heart for her students can be evidenced in many ways throughout our building,” said Kristin Coughlin, dean of intervention at Knapp. “She meets her students where they are at and makes them love learning.”