Get to know a CBE

Voice and Choice with CBE of the Month Tina Hackey

Posted by cemignano on

Please welcome January’s CBE of the Month, Christina (Tina) Hackey, to the blog! Tina works at two schools in Levy County, Florida – Yankeetown School and Cedar Key School. Tina is passionate about STEAM and technology integration to increase student engagement. Read on to learn about Tina’s experience as a CBE and how she’s connected with our community.

What grade(s) do you teach? Subject area?
I teach at two rural-remote schools (one is pre-k through 8 and the other is pre-k through 12—both have a combined population of less than 500 students!). I teach K-5 art and K-12 gifted at one school, and K-6 STEAM at the other school.

How long have you been teaching?
I am currently in my 13th year of teaching.

What inspired you to go into education?
My background is actually in Computer Science. When my third child started kindergarten, I decided to put my computer endeavors to the side and begin teaching so that I could have the same schedule as my children. I took a position as a half-time 4th grade teacher and half-time Technology Specialist. I did that for 2 years but, because of cutbacks, the tech position was cut and I was then a full-time classroom teacher for a while. The school later realized that technology support was essential and I was again offered a tech position. After completing my M.Ed. I became a “Super Specialist,” a.k.a. a technology and media specialist combined, for 5 years. This year, I decided to change counties and positions because I love new challenges! I now split my time between two schools as a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) teacher to K-6, an art teacher to K-5, and a gifted teacher to K-12 at the other. Never a dull moment!

Which CBE class were you a part of? What do you like about being a CBE?
I am a part of the FETC 2016 CBE class. I love being a CBE because this is a group of like-minded, dedicated educators that strive to improve methods of teaching and engaging all learners, no matter the subject, age, or ability. BrainPOP is a very familiar platform to teachers and students around the globe. For many years, it was the “movie and quiz site with the orange robot.” Within the past 4-5 years, it has become so much more than filler for a sub or for the last few minutes of class. BrainPOP is like one of those new instant cooking pots. It is a versatile supplement across multiple curricula that replaces the need to search multiple sources for the best tools. ALL IN ONE PLACE! Who doesn’t like one stop shopping? Teachers feel so overwhelmed to meet all of the ever-increasing demands of our profession. How nice to have such a FUN, flexible, relevant tool at our disposal?! Being a CBE helps me “spread the word” so that other educators use BrainPOP to its fullest capacity.

What is one of the most memorable projects you’ve done with your class using BrainPOP resources?
My favorite project involved teaching internet research. The students were allowed to research any topic that could be found on BrainPOP (they were not limited to BrainPOP as a resource, but they had to start there), then they had to use Make-a-Movie to show what they learned. As a special area teacher, I get to teach the same children for years. One child with whom I had some difficulty connecting over the years completely blew me away with her project. While most kids researched Halloween, baseball, or animals, this child completed an incredibly informative and moving Make-a-Movie about autism and ADHD. Her older sister is severely autistic. I learned about her sister’s disease, and I gained insight into her unique situation. Can you imagine having an older sibling who takes up so much time and energy that your parents have little left for you? Her assignment allowed me to understand and appreciate her behavior. The relationship that we developed was 100% because of BrainPOP Make-a-Movie.

How has BrainPOP impacted a specific student (or group of students)?
BrainPOP impacts all of my students. It is the most useful tool that I have encountered for providing a SAFE choice in showing mastery of content. It allows students of all ability levels and all interests to share their knowledge in a creative way. Everyone takes a quiz, not necessarily the one that comes with the movie. Students in need of support or in need of extension can take a quiz with the same key vocabulary with questions based on various readability levels. Then, they can choose to Make-a-Map, Make-a-Movie, GameUP, Coding, etc. I have a formative assessment that is easily recorded in the grade book, then a qualitative project that can be added to a portfolio or graded with a rubric. ALL students, almost any topic, with CHOICES. I don’t care how they get there, as long as they get there. In 13 years, it is the only tool that I use regularly that never incites groans. That is real impact.

How has becoming a CBE impacted you?
Becoming a CBE has allowed me to expand connections with teachers that I would want teaching my own children. CBEs are driven to present content in a way that truly reaches kids and connects with their interests, while preparing them for careers in the future. No sit-and-get in our classrooms!

What are you most passionate about when it comes to education, technology, and your approaches to teaching?
I am passionate about teaching kids, of course, but what I really love is helping other educators learn how to integrate technology that ENHANCES what they are already doing. Too often, tools are thrown our way with little support or understanding of how/why it is useful. Technology for the sake of technology makes no sense. Students need to learn to think for themselves and to be in a failure-friendly environment. Many teachers fear using technology because of possible failures. Technology fails all of the time, even for geeks like me! I actually enjoy the “teachable moments” when I am teaching and technology fails. The kids get to see me problem solve and figure out other solutions. I even enjoy it when I am providing PD to fellow teachers. They feel more comfortable trying tech in their classrooms when they see me fail and work through it. We are all in education together. Students AND teachers need to know there are no failures, just opportunities for improvement!

What’s on your BrainPOP wish list?
As a teacher who was spoiled with a county-wide BrainPOP subscription for 10 years that was cancelled a year ago, and have since had to battle for funding, I would love to see options for individual teachers to have the ability to set up classes, create assignments, etc. with a classroom subscription. I’d also love to have a dropdown of the standards addressed by each topic when logged in as a teacher,