I’m Catherine Crenshaw, “Ms. C”, “Ms. Crenshaw” in the classroom. I’m beginning my 21st year as a public school educator and 2017/18 marks my first year teaching 5th grade. I landed in Beaverton in August 2016 after returning from a year living overseas in Vilnius, Lithuania. Prior to moving overseas, I taught in the Medford School district for 18 years. I’ve taught every grade 1-6.
I started out my career, seeking to make learning relevant, challenging and engaging for those I taught. This focus has not changed for me. I vowed to remain innovative, relevant, and informed about current trends in education, teaching methods, and best practice. I’ve managed to honor this vow thus far. Instead of binge watching the latest Netflix series on the weekends, I’m often perusing research about the best way to teach math, thinking about ways to help my students think more deeply about math or the books they are reading, or planning activities that will enable my students to utilize skills and technologies they will need as they move through school and beyond to their careers and lives as creative, critical thinkers contributing to the betterment of our world. I’ve loved the advent of technology in our world and in my classrooms, technology, inquiry, design-thinking, asking questions and pursuing answers is key. I view myself more as a facilitator of learning and deep exploration rather than a provider of knowledge.
I’m not a complete workaholic, however. I absolutely love the Columbia River Gorge, all the beautiful scenic areas we have in this state, and the Oregon Coast is my zen place. I’m a novice landscape and street photographer so I try to get out and take my camera with me when I can. Traipsing around downtown Portland, checking out new foodie venues or quirky neighborhoods and thrift shops is another favorite pastime. Coffee black with cream, no sugar is my beverage of choice and my students definitely know when I’ve not had my morning cup.
Teaching is a constantly evolving profession. There is always some new initiative to familiarize oneself with, new research that impacts our pedagogy, and with the addition of constantly evolving digital technologies there is a never ending smorgasbord of options to explore. When it comes to utilizing the potential for social media to further collaboration among professionals, to strengthen practice through professional learning communities, and to utilize all things digital to engage and differentiate instruction in meaningful ways for students, I’m a sponge. I can’t get enough of learning about best practice and implementing it in my classroom if I feel it will effectively meet the needs of my students. I love hearing what other educators are doing and sharing ideas from across the globe.
Welcome to our class, be sure to take notes, and most of all have fun learning!