Greetings From Top Teaching Advisor Ruth

By Ruth Manna on September 2, 2011
  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

I’m always excited as a new school year approaches. It’s the time of year when all the pencils are sharp and none of the crayons are broken and I’m filled with a sense of hope and possibility. It’s an annual “do-over.”

I’m always excited as a new school year approaches. It’s the time of year when all the pencils are sharp and none of the crayons are broken and I’m filled with a sense of hope and possibility. It’s an annual “do-over.”

I’ve been an elementary teacher for 25 years in New Jersey, Illinois, and Massachusetts. During that time I’ve taught many diverse students in urban, suburban, and rural schools.


I graduated from George Washington University with a BA in Political Science and a MAT in elementary education. In 2007 I entered an administrative licensure program and am now licensed in Massachusetts as both a teacher and a principal.

Since 2005 I’ve worked for eScholastic here on www.scholastic.com. In 2005-2006 I served as an online mentor teacher and developed five units of study.

Since 2006 I’ve been moderator of Scholastic’s Teacher Helpline, originally a message board and now a group. Teachers write with their questions and problems and I respond with specific, personal answers, usually within 24 hours. By 2008 the Helpline archive had so many posts with certain repeatedly asked questions that I selected 130 questions and answers and rewrote them in a book. My book, 130 FAQs and Practical Answers from Scholastic’s Teacher Helpline, was published in 2009.

In the recent past I accepted a position as Director of Curriculum and Assessment for Mohawk Trail Regional School District in Shelburne Falls, MA. In this job I visit teachers in six elementary schools and one middle school. As I travel to these schools I have learned new techniques and strategies that I am pleased to pass on to Top Teaching readers. I’m excited about continuing my work on Teacher Helpline as well as working alongside so many talented, creative colleagues here on Top Teaching.

Best wishes to you for a wonderful school year!


Comments

I am working on my Curriculum License. I am in need of 10 questions to ask a Curriculum Director. Can you help. What pertinent questions would you as a curriculum person like to be asked?

You have a challenging teaching assignment. I recommend you teach reading to first graders and kindergarteners in the morning when you have an assistant. While you work with small groups, your assistant can circulate and provide help and supervision with writing or drawing. For the last two hours of the day, plan whole group activities like science experiments, nature walks, and read-alouds and free play/choice time at centers. Do your students take a rest or nap after lunch? A rest will likely make the afternoon go more smoothly. So maybe a schedule that involves read-aloud, rest/nap, whole group activity, followed by choice time. While students are napping you might want to fill backpacks and get coats, etc., ready, so later on it will be easier to get students ready to go home. Let me know what happens. I'm interested.

I have started teaching a combined class of PreK, Kinder, and First Grade. I am a bit overwhelmed, but I do have help during the morning. The last two hours are on my own. Do you suggest any way to organize my classroom so that I can ensure teaching and learning success. I have 21 students (6 first graders, 9 Kinders, 6 PreK4's).

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