Welcome to Brent Vasicek's Classroom

By Brent Vasicek on August 2, 2010
  • Grades: 3–5

Lights, camera, action! Where does the excitement of Hollywood meet rigorous Michigan academic standards? Right here in Studio 24 at Miami Elementary in Clinton Township, Michigan. My name is Brent and each year I pick a theme for the class. This year it is entertainment, and I am excited to share the yearlong production with you, from the opening number to the final curtain call.


As of fall 2010, I will have taught in the Chippewa Valley school district for six years. With more than 15,000 students, Chippewa Valley is one of the larger districts in the state. It is located in southeast Michigan, about twenty-five miles north of the nation’s struggling Motor City. With countries of origin ranging from Bangladesh to Poland and spoken languages from Albanian to Macedonian, Miami Elementary has a diverse population of approximately 400 students.

Before becoming a teacher, I worked in the medical field. I enjoyed what I did, but something was missing. Passion! Around that time, I happened to volunteer several weeks at a children’s cancer camp called Special Days. At camp I expanded my comfort zone and discovered my ability to connect with kids of all ages. After several summers of volunteering, I decided to go back to college to change my career.    

One of the best gifts I ever received was from Dr. Evanski, a mentor who gave me permission to bring all the fun of camp into a classroom setting. This seemed crazy to me; when I was a student, desks were in rows and classrooms were places for quiet learning. Getting permission to have summer camp fun while teaching was a revelation, and it has produced unlimited possibilities for inspiring my students to learn.

As an educator, creating a supportive classroom and a cohesive team with drive, compassion, and a good work ethic is my ultimate goal. Forming this highly efficient team of lifelong learners is accomplished by paying attention to every detail in the environment, intentionally building rapport with students and parents, and modeling what is expected inside the classroom and beyond. I attribute my success to my R.E.M. philosophy of teaching — Rapport, Environment, and Modeling — which you will read more about as the year progresses.

I look forward to sharing Academy Award-worthy classroom activities as well as the behind-the-scenes magic and the blooper reel. After all, we learn best by reflecting upon our mistakes.   

For now, that’s a wrap!

Comments

he is my teacher

mr.vasicek is the best teacher in the world...... i should know!

Susan, I love the "First Grade - The Musical" theme. Oriental Trading or your local party supply store should have scene setters that will help you decorate. I particularly like buying the gold foil stars to create a "Hollywood Walk of Fame." Students earn their star by doing something great and then they can post it on the wall. I look forward to hearing the ways you incorporate the theme into your classroom this year. ~Director Vasicek

Melanie, Norman, and Rachel, How exciting that some of my teaching peers from across the state use the Scholastic website! Welcome to this year's journey. Please feel free to add your two cents to any of my posts because I know you all have quality ideas that I have borrowed and tweaked to fit the needs of my own classroom.

Brent, looking forward to the exciting details of your 2010-2011 school year!

Wendy, Melanie, Rachel, Victoria, and Susan--

It is great to hear from all of you! At the moment, Brent spending some time at the children’s cancer camp he mentions in his post, and is without internet access, so expect to hear back on your comments when he returns in a few weeks.

Be sure to check back next week when we post another message from him!

Thanks for reading and sharing, The Editors at Scholastic

This sounds like a lot of fun. I am looking forward to reading about this Academy Award-worthy classroom. ;)

For those of you who are not sure that these people deal with "real" situations and "real" problems, let me vouch for Mr. Vasicek's passion dedication and service to his students. Please know that as teachers, our job is to share our craft with others- Brent has taught me so much here in Michigan! It would be a disservice to not follow his blogs- you can't help but be a better teacher for it!

I am so excited to travel through your year and follow along as you inspire kids to reach their fullest potential! What a fabulous opportunity- thanks Brent!

Welcome, Brent! I will be encouraging people to read your weblog (as well as everyone else's, of course, this year). I know you will enrich everyone's minds with some great thoughts. I cannot wait to see what you come up with!

I teach with Nancy Jang and was excited to see you have an entertainment theme for next year. Nancy motivated me into thinking up a theme for my classroom next year, and I had decided that it would be "First Grade-The Musical." I was planning on putting state standards in the "Lights" section of the bulletin board, doc camera-ActivBoard set-up in the "Camera" section, and photos of past lessons will be placed in the "Action" section. I look forward to reading your Blog this year and enjoying the energy you devote to your passion.

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