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Top Teaching Blogger

Mary Blow

We must be the change we want to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

I teach sixth grade English at Lowville Academy Middle School in New York's Black River Valley, located in the rolling foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.

Mahatma Gandhi’s inspirational words are posted on my classroom wall as a reminder that my goal is not limited to teaching sixth graders to read and write, but to empower them with the tools to make the changes they want to see in the world. It is a reminder to my students that they have the power to become productive contributors to society as well as great leaders.

Lowville is an agriculture-dependent community in the heart of Lewis County, one of the lowest socioeconomic counties in our state. Despite economic struggles, Lowville is rich in small-town culture, which is attractive to many of the 10th Mountain Division soldiers stationed at nearby Fort Drum. We are pioneers in alternative energy. Not only are we home to the infamous Maple Ridge Wind Farm on Tug Hill, the largest wind farm east of the Mississippi, but we have a nearby biomass plant and a hydropower plant.

Becoming a teacher was a career change for me. Married and with children, I earned my Associate in Arts degree at Jefferson Community College; a Bachelor of Arts in English and Childhood Education at Utica College of Syracuse University; a Master of Science in Education Literacy Specialist (grades 5–12) at SUNY Potsdam; and a NYS certification to teach English (grades 7–12).

Serving as a teacher advisor for both Scholastic’s Scope literary magazine and Scholastic Printables has provided many years of inspirational and rewarding experiences. During the summer, I like to write or collaborate on Common Core State Standard teacher guides: An Educator’s Guide to I Survived by Lauren Tarshis, the Scope Common Core Reader, and the Storyworks Common Core Reader. Currently, I have the honor of serving a two-year term on the New York State Reading Association Charlotte Award Committee, which provides me with the opportunity to evaluate recently published books with my students, colleagues, and community.

The 2016-2017 school year will be a groundbreaking one at Lowville Academy. Each of my students is getting a computer. We will be digging deeper into digital literacy in our hybrid classroom, combining classroom instruction with online instruction using Google Classroom. When our year is finished, I want my students to have the technical skills they will need as young 21st century adults. I also want them to believe that barriers can be broken, and that if they are willing to work hard enough, they can be whoever they aspire to be. Visit us on our classroom web site, Mrs. Blow’s English Class.

My greatest strength is my passion for learning and my desire to share with and learn from others, which is why I am excited to be mentoring a new teacher and co-teaching this year. Collaborating with colleagues is especially critical in developing curriculum and integrating technology into my classroom. It is my desire to learn from and network with others that has brought me to this exciting endeavor, contributor to Scholastic’s Top Teaching blog.

Top Teaching bloggers are paid contributors for the Scholastic Teachers website.

Grades

6–8

My Scholastic

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
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