Carol Bilawchuk: 'Mom, she makes learning so much fun!'
Year: 2019 – Province: Alberta
Certificate of Achievement Recipient
All subjects, grade 4
St. Francis of Assisi Academy, DeWinton, Alberta
"[Mrs. Bilawchuk's] positive influence on [my son] was noticed within the first few weeks. With an honest smile and incredible attitude, she leads her classroom towards ample learning while ensuring students are actively participating and grasping the Grade 4 curriculum." — Parent
Carol Bilawchuk makes an impression on the students at this rural K–9 school, with current and former pupils regularly naming her their favourite teacher. They recognize that although she sets high expectations for them, she helps them succeed through fun, kindness and patience.
Carol fosters digital and creative literacy in her class to teach her students how to strive in the digital age and to ensure they are fully engaged. She also promotes collaboration with classmates in all subject areas to ensure students get accustomed to working with others with different perspectives.
In the classroom
- Engages students with innovative learning opportunities: at the class Halloween party students learned about the senses through minute-to-win-it games, making slime, a game show and a science lab; students built earthworm habitats to learn about decomposers, which consume natural waste.
- Promotes love of reading by encouraging children to "sell" a book they liked to their classmates; they share favourite lines from the book, explaining why they like them, which connects reading to writing; five-minute unmarked "quick-write" exercises kick off writing class.
- Blends subjects to show connections in learning: students learned to use a map's scale, legend and direction indicator, and designed their own map as a unit-ending project; another time, they sorted the classroom garbage and then estimated how much the whole school throws out in a day.
- Rewards good behaviour and courtesy, and emphasizes the importance of being accountable for choices: a piece is added to a 24-piece class puzzle when students collaborate and encourage each other; a piece is removed for decisions that have a negative effect on the class environment.
- Recognized as a Master Teacher in her school division, recognized by administrators and parents for her commitment, leadership and dedication to her students.
- Literacy lead for teachers at the school, supporting her colleagues and guiding discussions on the importance of integrating literature into the classroom and having literacy-rich conversations.
- Leads school-wide projects that inspire community service, both global and local: students raised money to bring clean water to two villages in Tanzania, and toys and food for families in need.
- Selected to attend school division's training program on preventing, de-escalating and, when necessary, intervening when student's behaviour threatens themselves or others.
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