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  • Writer's pictureMadaline Dunn

Elizabeth Palermo: Creating a safe space in class and getting students talking about math

Elizabeth Palermo is an educator who prides herself on creating a community of trust and respect and encourages her students to believe in themselves and their abilities.

For Elizabeth Palermo, education wasn't always something she felt that she excelled at. In fact, as a child, she encountered a number of obstacles when it came to learning. However, with the help and encouragement of her second-grade teacher, she found her feet, and by third grade, she had realized that teaching was what she wanted to do herself. Having learned to love school, she wanted to bring that joy to others.

Elizabeth is incredibly dedicated to her growth as a teacher and always keeps an eye out for new learning opportunities, as well as software and program updates. With education changing all time, she understands the importance of keeping her finger on the pulse and is currently completing Alludo and diversity training, too.

Building a safe space where students feel comfortable asking questions and making mistakes is a central focus of Elizabeth's classroom. Part of the way she achieves this is through teaching her students social-emotional skills to help them navigate through the different challenges of life.

One of the teaching strategies Elizabeth finds most helpful in the classroom is using the "I Do, We Do, You Do" format. Using this strategy, Elizabeth also relates math topics to her students' lives, believing that real-world connections are crucial for students' understanding of key concepts. In her classroom, Elizabeth encourages students to think and talk about math through 'Math Talks,' which allows students to explain things in their own language.

Elizabeth outlines that teaching in a remote environment allows her to get to know her students on a personal level, which helps her to truly meet their learning needs, and views parents as partners in their children’s learning and development.

For Elizabeth, her favorite aspect of teaching math is seeing the light bulb go off for students when they finally understand a certain mathematical concept or solve a particular problem. Reflecting on the joy she gets from these moments, Elizabeth said she loves breaking down students' beliefs that they aren't good at math and showing them that all it takes is practice.

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