As we close out 2012, were looking back on the great things in social media and tech that caught our eye this year. Were calling it The 5s! Today, its 5 amazing teachers we met this year. This may have been one of the hardest 5s list to create. Everyday we encounter incredible teachers and we are so thankful for everything they do! But when thinking about some of the amazing educators we have met this year, these are five that stood out. Christy Crawford, Bronx Community Charter School, NY A true teacher of the 21st Century, Christy is the technology teacher at the Bronx Community Charter School in New York City. Her passion for using technology to elevate the learning experience brings relevance and excitement to her classroom. Using platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and Storia, her students are able to create and read and learn in powerful ways. Christy often refers to technology as the great equalizer. Jessica Johnston, Brenham Middle School TX Jessica Johnston, also known in the Twitter universe as @edtechchic, loves discovering new Web 2.0 tools and sharing them with her colleagues and students. Jessica sees social networking not as a distraction, but as a powerful educational tool. Her ability to think outside the education box motivates students and her faculty peers. Derek Olson, Afton-Lakeland Elementary School, MN Minnesotas Teacher of the Year, Derek Olson, is a 6th grade teacher at Afton-Lakeland Elementary in the Stillwater Area School District. Teaching by example, Derek takes his classroom beyond the textbook and brings curriculum to life for his students by using technology. In a guest blog earlier this year on OOM, Derek wrote: We should not teach technology for its own sake, but instead we should teach with technology whenever it better allows us to meet our goals as educators. Technology is, by definition, tools that assist people in accomplishing goals. Karen Settles, Oscar Smith Middle School, Chesapeake, VA Research has show that more than 12 million children go back to an empty household after school on any given day. Realizing the need for positive after school programming for students in her school, Karen Settles, a READ 180 teacher, sponsors a mentoring program for girls called DIVAS (Determined Involved Volunteering Aspiring Students). Through DIVAS, Karen counsels 8th grade girls on issues such as manners, fitness, overall wellness, study skills, bullying, and how to deal with negative influences in their lives. She is a true mentor! Elizabeth Vicary, I.S. 318, NY Elizabeth Vicary teaches chess. You heard me right. The chess teacher at I.S. 318 in Brooklyn, Elizabeth has helped hundreds of students learn the game of chess and go on to win national titles. Best known for her role in the documentary Brooklyn Castle, Elizabeth pushes her students to learn new skills and gain the confidence they need not only during a chess match but in life.