Usually people move up a grade each year in school, but Melissa Caldarola is taking a step down, from teaching second grade last year, she's now trying her hand at kindergarten. And in her first week of 2013, she's our Teacher of the Week.
"I would say it's a little bit more rewarding because you can see the light bulb going on and you can see them picking up on it, it's just. It's wonderful," says Melissa Caldarola, Dorothy Simon Elementary's kindergarten teacher.
In her fifth year of teaching, her goal is to reach each student, no matter the skill level.
"She really does plan to what she needs to do for each individual kid in the class, whether it's ten, fifteen, twenty, to twenty-five kids, she'll take the time to make sure each kid is meeting their needs," says Principal Frank Mandera.
When I visited, the kids were reading, learning to pick out words in sentences. Then they split into groups.
"They like their math bins a lot, and when they get the chance to work on different activities," Caldarola says. "Then I'll pull them back and work in a small group with maybe one to two kids while the other kids are doing math bins. And everyday somebody will say, "Is it my turn to come back there?" So they're kind of waiting for that table time."
This year, the groups are high tech as well. Calarola teaches with iPads, iTouches, and computer games. It's for sure a 21st century classroom.
"Being able to incorporate some technology, and keeping them up and moving has really helped keep them involved and interested," Caldarola says.