Episode 29: Understanding Wildlife Conservation and the Importance of Early Math Interventions
Episode 29: Understanding Wildlife Conservation and the Importance of Early Math Interventions
This episode is a two-parter. The first half of the conversation features Beth Pratt, who serves as the California Regional Executive Director for the National Wildlife Federation. Pratt leads the #SaveLACougars campaign and has worked in environmental leadership roles for over twenty-five years.
The second half of this episode is with math interventionist Keri Brown, who tells us how she uses social media to connect with other teachers online. Brown has been teaching in central Alabama for 14 years and has experience in kindergarten, first, and second grade.
Nati Rodriguez [1:33]
Beth, it’s a pleasure to welcome you on the Learner Podcast.
Beth Pratt [1:37]
Thank you for having me, it’s really fun to be here.
Nati Rodriguez [1:41]
So, I’ll just dive in. You’ve had many years of working in environmental leadership roles, worked in environmental leadership roles, including with two of the country’s largest national parks, Yosemite and Yellowstone. Could you talk about how you got interested in this work? And what led you down this path?
Beth Pratt [1:57]
Yeah, it’s been kind of a weird life journey. You never know where you’re going to end up. But most of my career has been in places like Yosemite and Yellowstone. I actually live outside Yosemite National Park, where I worked for a decade. And even as a kid, I dreamed of working in these remote national parks and these sort of wilder places, and so to be advocating for the dating lives of cougars in such an improbable place as Los Angeles is as a surprise to me as anybody.
But I’ve come to really recognize that wildlife conservation is not just about Yellowstone or Yosemite, that indeed, when the number one threat to wildlife worldwide is the loss of habitat, we’ve taken so much from them. And in some ways, like with P-22 they’re coming back, right? They’re reclaiming where we had banished them from, but we need to start sharing spaces, we need to keep places like Yellowstone, Yosemite, but this sort of urban wildlife conservation and connectivity, which is key to, you know, resiliency in the face of climate change. This notion of connectivity that goes along with that, you know connecting these spaces has also been a journey for me because I came up 30 years ago in the conservation paradigm of you put aside a Yosemite, check the box, you’re done, it works! Well, we now know scientifically that it doesn’t work; islands of habitats isolate both plants and animals and that spells, ultimately, their doom. Someone famous said “Islands are where species go to die”; that is what we’ve created with our freeways. So that’s just become my life’s work. And actually, the short answer to this was that it all comes back to P-22 and his appearance in LA and how he really got me to look at conservation and how to do conservation differently.
Nati Rodriguez [3:51]
Thank you. I had never thought about that. This is a new learning in the field about reserving these spaces for wildlife versus trying to integrate and connect with them. Can you talk a little bit more about that and is that accepted widely? And what other work do you see that is similar to this where people are actively working to connect these spaces?
Beth Pratt [4:18]
It’s such a good question. And I think it is still not widely accepted. I think scientifically it’s there, right? We now know connectivity is essential. And that was a new thing even when we started the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing. Now I think you have books like “Crossings” that just came out with Ben Goldfarb; this whole notion of connectivity has captured both scientifically and socially, sort of this new wave of thinking. But for some, it still is, I think, a leap. I did a TED talk on this some years ago and I worked 10 years in Yosemite, I still have a lot of friends there. And one of their lead biologists who I’m friends with, said to me after my TEDx Talk, because I was talking about the need to share space that, you know, we can no longer think of wildlife needing to be here and people needing to be here that we needed to do so both scientifically, they need more habitat. But also socially, we had done a disservice for a long time and telling people they couldn’t have relationships with wildlife; that you couldn’t name them. Well, we’re animals, right? I mean, we are related. And so, she came up and she told me, “Oh, my God, Beth, that’s everything I’ve been advocating against in my career. We try to keep people and wildlife separate in the parks,” and, and she’s like, “you know, there’s been scientific studies that wildlife is more stressed if they’re in cities”; and “I’m like, well, who isn’t, I am”, right? But does that mean they can’t live there? And with a lot of change, it’s something that some folks are just going to hold out on.
But I am convinced, again, for two reasons, scientifically, the data is there. But socially, I think that P-22 showed this too, that, when you sever that connection with animals, because you’re told in school growing up, don’t name them, animals can’t think they, can’t feel; and of course, science is now showing what all of us who’s had animals our whole lives know, of course, they do. I mean orcas have dialects, elephants mourn their dead, and even fish have emotions. It’s not quite like humans, but it’s related.
But the reason a lot of us got into conservation, or love of wildlife for animals is not because of a scientific paper, it’s because we watched a show, like “Flipper,” or “Born Free,” or read books, like the “The Wind in the Willows.” And so, I think that taking away that kind of emotional connection and love to animals by creating this almost discriminatory separateness has been bad for conservation, but also bad for people. I mean, it’s such a rich, wonderful thing to have a relationship with animals. Again, back to P-22, so many people connected to him in ways that enriched their lives. I think it’s getting there, but there are still a lot of people like, oh my god, don’t anthropomorphize; or wildlife and people should not interact. And I’m not advocating for people making pets of a mountain lion. But for me, I want people to just see them as neighbors. They belong in the landscape like us. And P-22 showed it was possible even with large predators that we can coexist.
Nati Rodriguez [7:27]
That makes me think how amazing you have been at bringing public awareness because, yes, there’s the science that I don’t know when that data has come out. And then there’s a public perception and then taking action and doing something about it. So, I’d love for you to share about P-22, especially for our audience that is not in LA or California or may not know.
Beth Pratt [7:51]
Who doesn’t know P- 22?! That’s like not knowing Brad Pitt. Come on.
Nati Rodriguez [7:26]
So, can you tell us a little bit about what makes P-22 special? And can you tell us about that tattoo?
Beth Pratt [8:04]
I had an old friend visiting this week. And certainly he’s an educator in the sciences, but not biology. And we were talking about it, and he put it so well. He’s like, it’s almost like P-22 absorbed all our sins, right? He was sort of that face of animal suffering that compelled us to act. And I hadn’t quite thought of it that way. I usually call him a relatable victim. Here’s this mountain lion; if you don’t know who he is, he sadly is not with us anymore. He passed away in December of last year, after 12 years of living in Griffith Park, which if you don’t know LA, that is the middle of LA; not on the outskirts – the Hollywood sign there – the Griffith Observatory is there. And he made a perilous journey when he was young, crossing two of the busiest freeways in the country, if not the world, to find a new home, because mountain lions live alone and they can’t share territory, especially if they’re males. And most of his mountain lion relatives die on those roads. So, he did something near impossible. And as somebody who’s retraced his route several times, I don’t know how he made it.
But he went on to live for a decade relatively peacefully in Griffith Park, coexisting with celebrities and the 10 million visitors that this small park gets every year. And although it was successful in that he made a life for himself, it wasn’t exactly a success story, in that he ended up trapped on this little island of eight square miles of park, which is just surrounded by freeways and on every side, but the south side and then it’s like Hollywood Boulevard, which of course is a little too urban. But it’s not that he shouldn’t have been there per se, but most mountain lions have 100 to 150 square miles of territory, and he couldn’t move in and out of the park because of these roadways. I’m sure he got there and was like, “Oh my god, I’m not going across those roads again. I’m here.” So, we celebrated him, but he became this face of the whole issue, this poster cat for what connectivity does and he was impacted by being trapped his entire life; never had a girlfriend. And even at the end, although he had successfully evaded cars for his whole life, gets hit by a car as he got older. But we owe a lot to him because through his story, and people relating to it, we got the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing is under construction and I think that’s important. It gets back to what you said like, we need to love things before we act to protect them.
And I come back to science is important; I consider myself a scientist, even though it’s not my day job. We need the science – the science told us that these mountain lions were going to vanish if we didn’t do something; the science told us what we needed to do, which is build a wildlife crossing. But the science does not get the public support, and how many species have gone extinct despite reams of science? Because the public didn’t care. And I think that’s where P-22 is such a great ambassador for people to lift off a scientific paper something techy; fragmentation and all that stuff. Lift off the techy terms and show the reality; this poor, lonely mountain lion trapped in LA – people could relate to that. And I think that was a real lesson in how to get stuff like this done. It caused people to take action, and I think that’s important to learn what motivates people.
Nati Rodriguez [11:32]
Yes, thank you. And would love for you to share about your tattoo. (laughs)
Beth Pratt [11:38]
Oh yeah totally I forgot – I have a long sleeve shirt on so I can’t, but you’ve seen it. This was my first tattoo. I had never gotten one before. It came about from a friend of mine; I was having dinner with them early on when I started working on this. They just retired, they’re both in their late 70s and we’re having dinner. And they were tech lawyers in Silicon Valley and Jerry pulls up his shirt and says, “Look what I got.” He had this little bison tattoo, and I first was like, “is that Henna”? And he’s like, “No”, and I’m like, “You just got your first tattoo at age seventy?”, you know whatever he was. His big cause is that he would donate to his bison conservation. I said, “What made you get your first tattoo?” And he’s like, “Well, I wanted to show a commitment to the bison. I was like, “Oh, that’s nice.” And it kind of stayed with me and then a month later we had a mountain lion meeting, and it was becoming apparent to me after I volunteered to help with this crossing how big of a heavy lift it was going to be, and I found myself kind of almost on a whim at a tattoo artist in LA. He was this great guy, I still stay in touch with him, a 24-year-old and I handed him the Hollywood sign photo and I said I want this in my arm. Well, this thing was half my arm. But I’m just going to roll with it. So yes, now P-22 is on my arm and for me it was a personal commitment. The Wall Street Journal ran a photo of it, and I’d be sort of in a cafe 100 miles from LA and someone would come up, “Oh, you’re Beth, and that’s P-22 and how’s he doing?” So, it kind of became a billboard too. But I guess it is a thing to tattoo the scientific project you work on.
Nati Rodriguez [13:49]
It’s wonderful and again, another way to rally the public and show the commitment.
I would love to hear about opportunities for students, so I’m thinking about our next generation of youth growing up, who actually might be able to see these spaces as connected and part of their daily lives. A lot of our listeners are teachers and educators, and we’d love to share what opportunities are offered for them to learn about the wildlife crossing, and to learn more about your work.
Beth Pratt [14:23]
You know wildlife crossings are nothing new, so we’re taking sort of decades of science around how they were built. But we’re also having to develop our own science because nobody’s been crazy enough like us to put it over one of the busiest freeways of the world. Most of these are in very rural areas. And so, we’re having to do things other crossings haven’t like sound walls and light mitigation – but also, we’re putting an entire habitat on the top, so lots of opportunities to learn about that. I mean, the first place you can start is the website: www.101wildlifecrossing.org; lots of great information on the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing; there’s a whole 60 Page FAQs, depending on what you want to look at.
There’s a new book out, “Crossings: How Road Ecology is Shaping the Future of Our Planet.” It is excellent and the New York Times named it one of the best books of the year. I mean, Ben was on Terry Gross; there’s a whole chapter in here on the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing. But the book overall, if you want to learn about why connectivity is important, it is such an excellent primer. And I think those are good places to start. I will also say, I’m always happy to come talk to students. It’s one of my favorite things to do, to talk to classes, help them learn. What the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing did, or what the movement has done wasn’t just to get one built, but crossings and connectivity are now part of the public discourse in a way that it wasn’t. And so, there’s so much great information out there, including like that Ben’s book is so popular. I mean, road ecology is kind of a techy topic. But if you want to learn about the mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains, the National Park Service research site has a puma profile site where you can look at all the mountain lions they are tracking right now. And reach out to me, I’m happy to help people learn more. And then socially, I think just looking at how we approach this work. Since we’re on a Learner’s podcast, this was humbling for me too, being someone who has 30 years in conservation. How do you do conservation work? We sort of turned it on its head, and that was me learning from people like Rue Mapp and Miguel Ordeñana; people who weren’t represented in conservation, how to make sure that they were empowered and connected to the movement and serving on boards like Outdoor Afro and seeing not everybody connects to nature like I did.
I see my role as empowering voices. So, for example, Warren Dixon, a hip-hop artist from Watts, we met around the campaign. He was doing some work for something, I learned he was a hip-hop artist; he started becoming enamored with P-22, and started writing songs so we funded some music videos, we funded in his community, a Wildlife to Watts Festival to bring wildlife to them. We have mural artists who paint P-22. Jonathan Martinez he’s an incredible Latino artist; Cory Maddie who is this incredible artist in LA who represents LGBTQ movement. So, for me, this campaign started becoming about empowering and uplifting how everybody connected to P-22 differently; and it has become a movement that we’re going to not just get one crossing built, but more. And we just had our eighth annual P-22 Day festival, and we sold out the Greek theater for a celebration of life for a mountain lion. It’s going to get more done, and that to me is what’s interesting about this; it wasn’t just a one-off project, we’ve launched a movement that is going to continue and that’s by being welcoming and inclusive.
Nati Rodriguez [18:08]
Thank you, thank you for that. I think traditionally, we’ve worked in our own disciplines and the real problems that need to be solved require work at interdisciplinary spaces and with people that have expertise in other areas or interests in other areas.
Beth Pratt [18:28]
Yeah, exactly. And I will say much like the sort of urban wildlife, it does not always go over well. I get challenged even by my own organization of people who think anthropomorphizing is bad. I remember early on somebody said we did a hip-hop mockup of P-22 and one of our scientists was heavily offended by that. And it’s the right thing to do, though. It’s taught me…you just have to ignore the criticism because it’s just that people aren’t as far along as you are in how the world needs to operate these days.
Nati Rodriguez [19:05]
Thank you, Beth. Is there anything else that you would like to share with our Learner audience?
Beth Pratt [19:09]
Since this is an Annenberg podcast, the partnership with Wallis Annenberg, Cinny Kennard and the Annenberg Foundation is astounding. It really does….that overused adage, you know it takes a village, it does. And much like we’re talking about how P-22 socially connected people to each other to build a movement. I think the Annenberg Foundation was not just a donor in this, but a partner and really helped and continues to help us launch this work in meaningful ways by investing in leaders like me; investing in, again, not just writing a check, and I’m very grateful to them for that.
The other thing I’d say is just that I was rewriting the preface for my book “When Mountain Lions are Neighbors,” or writing a new preface actually – they’re re-releasing the book – and people ask us all the time I get asked to talk a lot not just about the crossing itself, and what it is going to be, but how we did it and how we did it differently. I just did a talk for Secretary Wade Crowfoot’s leadership team, so of all the natural resource agencies across the state, and like just get outside your usual thinking; and I think in the P-22, what we did is replicable. Not everybody has a mountain lion in their city, but you don’t need it. It’s just find that landscape, that wild animal that people connect to, empower that connection and love, and then people will act. So, my new motto to people has been “find your P-22″ – that can connect you as a neighborhood, as a community, as a city, whatever it is. And it gets back to how all of us connected to wildlife as kids or even later as adults, it captured our imagination and captured our love. And that to me is what leads to action more than anything else, and I think especially if you’re working in conservation or even education; you can teach people the science of mountain lions when you need to, but I would start first with the stories and then like the kids or the young people, are they going to want to learn about the science. That’s what we saw with P-22 is that we were having a lot of fun with them, like we do Who’s Hotter, Brad Pitt or P-22 polls. And so, people would come into the cause more because it was kind of fun, but they started learning more about mountain lion behavior. So don’t forget that emotional connection for me is what really leads to learning.
Nati Rodriguez [22:40]
Hi Keri, it’s great to have you on the Learner Podcast today.
Keri Brown [22:43]
Hello, hello! Thanks for having me.
Nati Rodriguez [22:46]
I’d love to start with just having you share a little bit about yourself. How did you become interested in teaching math?
Keri Brown [22:53]
That’s a great question – because I never wanted to be a teacher. So, it’s kind of funny that I turned into a now focused-on-math type of person. But a few years ago, when everything was science of reading, and we were doing all of the science of reading professional developments, and just all this training around reading, I’m sort of a rebel. And so, I was like, “Oh, my gosh, y’all are doing all this reading. Let me go and learn more about math.” And so, on my own, I started just looking up research articles; I started getting my own PD books on my own free time. And I started becoming curious about why we are teaching what we’re teaching, especially because at the time I was teaching kindergarten. And I’m the person yes, you tell me to do this….but like, why am I doing this? And so, I started trying to figure out what was the reasoning behind why I was teaching what I was teaching? And so that led me down a big, huge rabbit hole of math, everything.
Nati Rodriguez [23:58]
What is the approach to teaching math in such early grades? So, my understanding is that people don’t really specialize until the middle school years. So, I’m very curious about you wanting to take that route, again, in math at such an early stage in kids learning, which I think is fantastic by the way, the earlier the better.
Keri Brown [24:20]
I think there are some places that do allow elementary teachers to specialize in math, I’ve never been at a place that allows it. I did ask one time and it was a firm hard no. Not to say that it hurts kids. But it would be nice if it was an option for elementary students because if somebody is just focused on math, there’s so much more you can learn and to help the children. But it’s like we have to do everything; you have to teach reading, you have to teach math, you have to do science, you have to teach social studies. And just introducing students to math in general is kind of tough when some children have never gone to preschool, have never been anywhere but home. And then by the end of the year, they have to leave kindergarten adding and subtracting fluently. And you start the year teaching them this is a number, this is this. So like you said, they don’t specialize in math until upper grades.
Nati Rodriguez [25:25]
What is your approach to teaching math, or philosophy around teaching math in kindergarten and those early grades?
Keri Brown [25:29]
So, one of the things that I’ve been researching and just learning more about is number sense. What students need to know and the foundational steps and starts of just math in general. And I think now I’m in a place where it’s so important for students to have number sense in itself, and just know the ins and outs and being able to be fluid with numbers and counting and being flexible with numbers. If I could go backward in time, I would teach myself that a long time ago, because I know I didn’t do a great job on it every year that I taught. But now I know better. So, I think now that’s my big philosophy, that number sense is very important in primary.
Nati Rodrigeuz [26:21]
I’m glad you brought that up actually, because one of the resources you offer in Enchanted Kinder Garden, your blog, are tools around number sense and flexibility with numbers. For those in our audience who may not know, although that might be rare, because we’re mostly teachers; what does that mean, and can you give an example of one of the tips you give to teachers on how to develop number sense?
Keri Brown [26:41]
I would probably say the easiest way for students to master all the parts of number sense is just having a routine of counting. And one of the ways that I do that is through something called Counting Collections. Once you have taught your kids how to do the routine, quick, ten-minute or less routine that can be daily, or like three times a week; but as long as you’re actively doing it, students just grab a set of objects, depending on what time of the year it is. Or if it’s first and second grade, of course they can go with a larger set of objects; but for kindergarten always start with like five at the beginning of the year and they just learn how to count them. And we practice on being accurate. And then they can record that group of objects and then they learn to record that number. So, let’s say I put in some glue tops, because I literally will give anything to count. So, let’s say I give them some glue tops, they count the glue tops, they can actually tell me when I say okay, “How many did you count?” They can tell me; I’ll ask them how they counted them, because sometimes kids will line them up, or if it’s something they can stack together, they might put them in the stack and make a tower. It just depends. And so, it’s just the talk of numbers and how you can count them, in what ways can you put them together to count. And once they started doing that they get so much better with being flexible with numbers and being able to manipulate things and realizing, “Oh, if I add one to this, I know that five plus one is six, or if I take one away,” and they get really quick with it, instead of just like memorizing something, they’re able to be flexible with the numbers.
Nati Rodriguez [28:32]
Yeah, and I love that there’s a tangible component. So you mentioned giving them things that they can touch. I’m sure that’s a big part of them developing that fluidity with numbers. So, you’ve been teaching for many years, and you have a lot of expertise in this space. What models of teaching and learning do you see that support those 21st century skill development in kids? And I know we typically talk about those as they get older. But I’m always curious because I have never worked with young kids. I’m wondering what are those foundations to then develop those skills?
Keri Brown [29:09]
It’s funny that I just talked about Counting Collections. So, I literally will start that in kindergarten, probably the second week of school, and I start it in partners. So, from the very beginning, they learn how to work together and work in groups, and they come up with different ways. So, one of the things I try not to do to get them to think on their own and not just go with whatever Ms. Brown says is the way to do things. I ask them like, “How would we?”. So, we always do a chart – how can we count this or different ways to count things? And they come up with the list. And so usually when I’m showing them how to count, or how to get through a problem, or how to come up with a solution, I try not to show them; because you know how five and six–year–olds are, if you show them, that’s the only way they’re going to do it, because they think that’s the only way. And so, when I just kind of start asking questions and allow them to kind of guide the conversation, and let me know how to do it, then I push it on them and I’m more of a facilitator. And I think that’s huge. And I know that was a thing a long time ago, probably like 10 years ago, in education, where they were saying, as a teacher, you shouldn’t be the one tired when you get home; the students should be tired because they should do all the thinking, they should do all the problem solving; they should be figuring out how to do everything. And as a teacher, you should be the facilitator. And I think that’s still very true now to get them to work in groups to get them to figure out…how do I work with a friend and come up with this answer? And then what do you do if you have an answer, and your friend you worked with has a different answer? How do you figure out what’s the correct answer? And how do you talk to each other and figure that out? And so, another thing to kind of go with your question, because I know I’m getting off topic a little, but Math Talks is huge with just teaching children how to talk about numbers, and how to talk with their friends in their classroom about numbers. And just how to have a conversation on well, I know this person said the answer is five. But I know that the answer is six because…and then they’re able to talk out how that all makes sense. And believe it or not in kindergarten, they can do that.
Nati Rodriguez [31:35]
That’s amazing, I’d love to hear it. It’s striking how it’s very similar to teaching older kids; the part about facilitating it and having them justify their answers. I haven’t had a lot of experience listening to little ones talk in that way, but that would be amazing to hear.
All right, well switching gears a little bit. One of the reasons we have you on today’s episode is also to highlight your work and your following on social media. Your handle is @enchantedkindergarten, and I’m curious to know how you use Instagram and social media in general when it comes to your teaching.
Keri Brown [32:14]
That’s a great question. So, I started a long time ago wanting to share what I was doing in the classroom, because I was like, “Oh, this is kind of neat. We did this,” and then I would post about it. And then lo and behold, I started having people to follow me. And I’m just like, “Oh, hey, this is a thing. So, people are following me.” And now it’s just like a completely different thing. But most of my audience and the people who follow me follow me because I was very big into technology. And that was a lot of what I was teaching about – how to use it, and how you can use it with kindergarten because it is difficult to teach a classroom full of 20 something, children, how to get on technology, how to use it without you wanting to pull out your hair. I think that’s why a lot of people started following. But then within me talking about technology, I was still talking about the everyday teachings of what’s going on and just like real life. That, yeah, it’s hard, but it can still be hard and fun and figuring out, you know, still, like, how do we get through this together? And I think that’s probably why I still enjoy using social media to teach things like that, and to help other people. And I’ve gotten a lot of messages, which is funny from new teachers who’ve either found my website because they’ve searched something. And then they’ll question well, how do you do this and how’s that? And I guess thinking back is kind of crazy that you can help somebody just by one post, and you really have helped somebody and made their day easier.
Nati Rodriguez [33:54]
When I think about teaching, and maybe it’s different now, it’s been a long time since I’ve been in the classroom, but it could be very isolating. So, you don’t necessarily know if what you’re doing is the best thing and being able to see another teacher and what they use and how they do it and actually see them in action is so powerful. But there’s sometimes very little opportunity for that, and probably social media, it helps highlight that.
Keri Brown [34:21]
I completely agree, because funny thing, some of my very best friends I met because of social media. So very thankful for that.
Nati Rodriguez [34:29]
That’s awesome. Thank you for sharing that. I want to ask a little bit about the tech that you mentioned. What challenges do you see around tech adoption among those early teachers? What is the hurdle there? So, I guess classroom management might be one of them. Anything else?
Keri Brown [34:49]
Oh, there’s a lot. I think just the thought of [tech] scares people sometimes, so they don’t even try. But once you have somebody to give you a step-by-step on, “Okay, it can be easier if you take in smaller chunks. And this is how you do it in smaller chunks,” then they’re like, “Oh, then maybe it’s not so bad.” And then when you give them things to do on the technology that is not just oh, let me just put them on technology so they’re doing something; but it’s actually meaningful, then I think people see the difference in, okay, it’s not so bad. And I can take a few minutes out of the day to teach them how to get on. Because I’m one of the people that – I really want my kids to be independent. Because again, you are going to be so tired at the end of the day if you’re doing it all and not trying to put some of the work on the students. And I think once teachers figure that out that they just need like a child who’s in charge or a couple of children who are in charge, and you kind of put it off on them, then it’s a whole lot easier to manage. But yes, the management is insane, of just being able to do – even just like plug this thing about every day plugging up all of the devices, unplugging all of the devices, making sure something’s not wrong. If a kid’s card doesn’t work so they can log in, like there’s just so many things, and especially during COVID it was insane that they changed my students log in to like this 10-digit number. And I was like, “how am I supposed to type in a 10-digit number every time every child has to get on the computer?” So, it’s just little things like that that will just stop a teacher from even wanting to try. But I mean, there’s little tricks to get around everything.
Nati Rodriguez [36:32]
That’s great. And your experience really is highlighted here when you say putting the burden of them doing the work of putting it on them. I think that’s probably contributed to your longevity and education. Because if you don’t figure it out, it can be exhausting to be a teacher as you said.
Keri Brown [36:55]
I completely agree it is exhausting. Thinking about it is exhausting.
Nati Rodriguez [36:59]
Is there anything else that you would like to share with the Learner audience?
Keri Brown [37:01]
Oh, of course, I always have tons of things to share. But I think I will share a thought – more so like a mindset type of thing. Every year, I always focus on trying one new thing. So, I wouldn’t try to do like five new things. Even though there’s all these sparkly new things to do every year, I always focus on one thing so I can get really good at it. And then master that the whole year and then the next year, I can add in something else. And even if it’s like math, if someone thinks that they aren’t a great math teacher, or you’re not strong, then that can be your theme this year is just to focus on math and get really good at that before you add in something else. And I think that that has always helped me to save my sanity.
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