Teaching first grade is a joy! Each day, children who are full of energy walk through my classroom door eager to learn. They gather around my table to read books, share desk space to interact with manipulatives and laptops, and sit with a shoulder buddy to read from favorite books and poetry journals. My young students learn how to work independently, with a partner, and in small groups to share their discussions and good thinking with one another beginning on the first day of school. Our learning environment is a happy, bright, safe place where all students are encouraged to use their imaginations, make connections, and solve problems. My name is Michelle Sullenberger, and welcome to my 1st grade classroom.
I have a passion for literacy. Teaching young children how to read is the best part of my day. Reading, Writing, and Math Workshops are the cornerstones of my instruction. Through a balanced approach to literacy, I meet the developmental needs of my diverse students. Favorite books, favorite authors, and student choice inspire the planned reading and writing activities in my classroom. Poetry, readers’ theater, shared writing, and personal narratives inspire our classroom podcasts, SMART Board activities, and digital storytelling. Through assessment-based instruction, organized planning, structured classroom management, hands-on activities, and technology integration, my students develop a love of learning.
We begin each year by focusing on friendship and community since the start of the school year is a time of new beginnings and making new friends. I encourage and empower my students to see themselves as readers, writers, and problem solvers. We come together to become responsible learners and good classroom citizens and through structure, routine, and high standards, my students meet and exceed my expectations each and every day.
I have been a first grade teacher for 18 years. I currently teach in Fairfax, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C., at Lees Corner Elementary School. Lees Corner Elementary School is one of 139 elementary schools within the Fairfax County Public School System, which is the 11th largest school system in the nation. Prior to teaching for the Fairfax County public schools, I taught for the public schools in Alexandria, Virginia, and I have also taught in western Pennsylvania. Teaching students in urban, suburban, and rural settings has allowed me to serve in the roles of teacher leader, teacher mentor, standards-based trainer, and balanced literacy presenter. I earned my elementary education degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. My husband, Keith, and I reside in Centreville, Virginia.
I believe all students can learn. For that reason, I continuously review my instructional strategies, research new ideas, and implement best practices for a wide range of learners. As a teacher leader, my classroom door is always open and I enjoy collaborating with other educators. I welcome this opportunity to share my love of teaching with you. I hope you’ll come learn with us.