Mrs. Kolenich was met with a surprise when she found out she was the Valleys Top Teacher, but her kids say her class is always filled with unexpected adventures.
“Every time we walk into our classroom, there is a surprise there waiting for us,” says Emory Coon, a fifth grade student at Heritage Elementary School.
The reason Mrs. Kolenich always keeps her fifth graders guessing is to keep them engaged and excited about coming to school.
“If it means me, you know, singing songs with them or doing hand motions with them, or standing up on a desk, or having fun things they get to do that are outside of pencil and paper, if I can get them excited about learning it makes them so much easier to teach,” says Kristin Kolenich.
Her students say there are having more fun than ever before, while also learning more.
“We have questions for a test and then she like asks them and if you get them right you can get the person on the left or the right out,” says Lena Racelis of the games they play in Mrs. Kolenich’s class.
“She has this other call and repeat, when she says shark bait we hit our desk and go mu-ha-ha,” smiles Emory Coon.
Mrs. Kolenich’s classroom is filled with smiles, teamwork, and a whole lot of books.
“I grew up as a struggling reader, I tell my kids that all the time,” shares Mrs. Kolenich. “So if I can find a book or a way to help a kid find their strength and their passion for reading, that is the biggest thing I could do for a student.”
“The things that she does is convincing kids to face their fears,” says Emory Coon. “She is reading Wonder to us and every time we find things in it, she relates to it all the time.”
Mrs. Kolenich says after 14 years of teaching, there is one thing that never seems to get old.
“That light bulb moment kind of in a kid, whenever maybe they are struggling with something, something is hard for them, and all of the sudden they get it and they figure it out and they can go forth and just show what they know,” smiles Mrs. Kolenich.
If you have a teacher you admire, you can nominate them by clicking here.