There are lots of people who make a school a special place. From board members to bus drivers, many people influence the lives of our Moore County Schools students. But there are few who have the positive impact that Lori Paulus has at Cameron Elementary School. At first glance, she may appear to be a typical media center specialist with books in hand and a list of Reading Counts stats closeby but there is so much more to Mrs. Paulus than what meets the eye. You will be hard pressed to find a more caring, supportive, dedicated, hard-working and passionate employee in our district who only has the absolute best in mind for our students. She pushes our students to achieve more than they could ever imagine. I love coming to work at Cameron and meeting with Lori because she always has these amazing ideas that she gets so excited about and you can tell that she can’t wait to roll them out to the students. Another thing that I love about Lori is her eagerness to incorporate technology into her lessons. Her relentless drive to find ways to use iPads, Chromebooks, and even robots with her classes motivates me to be a better DIF. Don’t get me wrong, Lori knows the importance of having her students complete assignments by getting out a dictionary or using a non-fiction book to research a topic. But she is constantly looking for ways to enhance instruction through the use of digital learning.
One project that I am really anxious to help her with is a lesson where we are going to incorporate our new Spheros! Since we are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month we are going to take a look at three folk tales. Two are Mexican and the other is Cuban. We will use the Spheros to work on our sequencing skills while we retell the stories. The students will recreate the different scenes from the story then they will code the Spheros to retell the important details as it goes through the sequence of events. Follow us on Twitter for pictures from our lesson!
I always enjoy picking the brain of teachers who I look up to, so that I can hopefully take something back from them and add it to my toolbox. Take a look at what Mrs. Paulus shared with me when I sat down to interview her and hopefully you’ll be able to take something from this phenomenal librarian:
Question: How long have you worked at Cameron/Moore County?
Answer: This my 15th year. Before that I was not in school system. I ran a used book store, worked with the Peace Corps in Thailand, but I spent most of my time teaching environmental education classes in New York. Almost 50 different types of classes.
Q: How would you describe your teaching style?
A: I think because there are so many awesome books I very rarely teach the same lesson every year. I’m always trying something different. I try to use fresh material for the kids, and for me as well. I don’t like to repeat things.
Q: What motivates you to use technology in your lessons?
A: We really had a mandate in our curriculum to integrate technology. It really has eved and flowed with different teachers. I think for kids technology is so motivating. The engagement and differentiation is crucial for our students. But technology could also engage them in a topic that they may not be interested in before. I think if you show a variety of things to kids it expands their repertoire and hopefully it will set them up for classes in the future. I like it for organization too. Things like Google Drive are so great for students to organize and keep their materials from year to year. Finding different ways for students to express themselves. It’s also good for independence.
Q: What is one of your most memorable lessons that included some kind of digital learning?
A: The thing that I really enjoy is our One Book One School program. We’ve done a blog in years past for students to have an ongoing discussion on the books. I loved that the parents were involved in it also. Parents who had trouble reading had access to the videos we made. And kids who didn’t have a parent reading with them could watch the videos at home. We would have the traditional reading experience for students but technology allowed us to expand on reaching more of our population by giving them an alternative way to interact with the book. It could also be extended by responding to the blog. It was a great encouragement for those kids.
Q: You’re an inspiration to many people, including myself, what inspires you?
A: I listen to National Public Radio a lot. They have new ideas in art and music. They will highlight authors as well as technology. They have a lot of ideas that we could use in our classroom. I also check social media daily, like Twitter. Authors tweet a lot. Facebook and Pinterest also give me lots of ideas.
Q: What is your favorite part about being a teacher?
A: The special part for me and my job is that everybody is my patron. It’s not just students, it’s staff. I get to work with every student. I love to work with staff as they come in. I love to work with big groups or small groups. I like working with people. I like connecting people with resources that connect with them.
Mrs. Paulus is, without a doubt, the heart and soul of Cameron Elementary School. She is an absolute pleasure to work with and the students at Cameron are very lucky to have her as their media center specialist.