San Diego, CA
Welcome to Team 16! My name is Marissa Ochoa and this is my sixth year of teaching. I earned my undergraduate degree in Psychobiology from the University of California at Los Angeles. While working as a therapist for students with Autism, I was introduced to the complex environment of a classroom and fell in love with the idea of having my own classroom. I received my teaching credential from California State University at San Marcos and two years later my master’s degree in Educational Technology from National University. Last year I was chosen District Teacher of the year and was a top ten finalist for San Diego County Teacher of the Year.
I have experience in teaching both third and fourth grade classes. Currently, I am thrilled to be teaching third grade once again in room 16 of our school which will be turned into the headquarters of "Team 16!" This year, I will also be continuing the as GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) Coordinator at our school in the Poway Unified School District.
My school is one of 23 elementary schools in the district and has a population of 800 students. Our school is the only school in the district with a school-wide Spanish Dual Language immersion program. Three third grade classes are taught in Spanish and three classes are taught in English, including my own classroom. We have a diverse student population, fifty per cent of our students are on a free or reduced lunch program, and we have the largest English Language Learner (ELL) population of all the schools in the district. With an ELL and GATE cluster in my class, differentiation of material is key to student success.
Lessons: I try to use as much authentic experiences as possible so students can connect the information to a real world setting. I strongly believe in Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. With each lesson I teach or unit I plan, I try to incorporate as many of the intelligences and diverse learning styles as possible. It is essential to tap into each child’s strength by presenting information in diverse ways. I frequently incorporate technology into my lessons, often using sites, such as UnitedStreaming to introduce a concept. After sharing my lessons at a conference with the guest speaker, I had the opportunity to be published in Linda Hoyt’s book, Spotlight on Comprehension: Building a Literacy of Thoughtfulness. Sharing lessons with my peers is important, too. I have presented lessons to peers at “lunch ‘n learn” settings and have mentored student teachers.
Mission: My mission for the class is to ensure that each student has a successful year, while progressing across every subject. I want each student to remember the laughter and enthusiasm for learning I instilled in them every single day; I want to help them create memories they will treasure for years to come. The poet e. e. cummings stated, “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”
Success: Beyond state test scores and the pressures of mastering each state standard before the end of the year, the success of the student is measured in different ways. It is measured by the smiles on their faces when I open the door to greet them in the morning, their tears on the last day of school, the emotional support they provide each other at school, the pride on their faces when they finish a presentation to their peers, and the love of learning that develops. My ultimate goal is that I hand them a desire for higher learning and in the years to come they hand me back a copy of their college diploma — while we laugh together about the good times we had at school.