March Teacher Innovator

SMART Boards, wikis, and blogs.

These technologies may seem foreign to some, but for many Naperville children, they’re being used to create a better learning environment.

Kingsley Elementary teacher, Kristen Phillips, has taken advantage of those technologies as she innovates in the classroom.

As a result, Naperville-based OfficeMax rewarded Phillips with this month’s Teacher Innovator Award, which is presented to School District 203 teachers that excel and innovate in the classroom.

Along with the award, Phillips receives a camera, printer and a $400 gift certificate to OfficeMax.

Before entering Phillips’ classroom, second grader Reagan Purl was already a strong reader. But now, her love of reading has blossomed—a testament to Phillips’ teaching.

“Through her encouragement and gentle guidance, she’s gotten Regan to a level of reading that has really excelled,” said Purl’s mother, Karen.

Phillips uses various new technologies to bring out the best in her students.

“I think one thing that I try really hard to do with the kids is to expose them to technology,” said Phillips. “Or I give them different ideas of activities or things that they can do that maybe they’ve never done before.”

One of those technologies is the Internet. Students can log on to a secure website that’s set up specifically for their class.

“They go on there and they blog and they do things on our wiki that we have—little quick thoughts that we may have in class,” said Phillips.

Phillips also goes out of her way to help fellow faculty incorporate some of the technology in their classroom.

“She’s helped her colleagues understand the SMART Board and many other software items,” said Kingsley Elementary Principal, Dr. Mary Alice Lindvall.

And as much as she teaches the students, Phillips says that relationship goes both ways.

“My job title is ‘teacher,’ but I feel like they’re teaching me,” said Phillips. “Everyday is just a fun experience because I can have my lesson plans written out and have the day go in a totally different direction because I’m taking their lead.”

Even with the experience taking unexpected turns, Phillips finds new ways to inspire students like Reagan.


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