About Valerie

Bio

Teaching Philosophy
My philosophy of education is to provide an inquiry-based atmosphere. In my English I class I use project based learning and technology to make learning enjoyable for all. Because my students have a variety of strengths, weakness and learning styles, I design each lesson so that it is diversified enough so that all students are able to succeed.
I believe that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring, and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. It is my desire as a educator to help students meet their fullest potential in these areas by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking, and invites a sharing of ideas. There are three elements that I believe are conducive to establishing such an environment, (1) the teacher acting as a guide, (2) allowing the child's natural curiosity to direct his/her learning, and (3) promoting respect for all things and all people.

Teaching Experience
Teacher at West Jefferson High School, Louisiana, United States (Aug2007 - Present)
o Subjects: English I
o Department Head
o Winner for May, 2009 Exemplary 21st teaching and learning contest! A contest sponsored by Jefferson Parish's Technology Department
Teacher at Edna Karr Secondary School, Louisiana, United States (Aug2006 - May2007)
o Subjects: English II and English IV
Teacher at Marion Abramson Senior High School, Louisiana, United States (Jan1997 - Aug2005)
o Subjects: English II and Reading
o Served as Testing Coordinator for 3 years
Academics and Certifications
M. Ed.
o Secondary English (Aug1994 - Dec1996)
o University of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
B.B.A.
o Marketing/Communications. (Aug1983 - May1987)
o Loyola University New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Louisiana Teaching Certificate, 1997, English 6-12
Awards and Recognition
Winner of Exemplary 21st Teaching and Learning contest, May, 2009 for a Wiki that displayed student's I-Search Reports.
Recipient of Technology Classroom Grant, 2009
Named one of twenty of Intel's Inspiring Teachers April, 2010
Training and workshops
Trained in "Using Digital Cameras in the Classroom", 2009
Trained in the use of "MovieMaker in the Classroom 2", 2009
Trained in the use of "MovieMaker in the Classroom 1", 2009
Trained in the use of "Vocabulary Word Walls", 2009
Trained in the use "Literature Circles", 2008
Trained in "Best Practices ELA Block Schedules", 2008
Trained in the use of "Kagan Structures/Strategies", 2007
Trained in the use of "Thinking Maps", 2007

Languages

English

Areas of Expertise

Technologies of personal and social transformation, Education & Training, English and American Literature, English - writing, Teacher Consultant on leadership and personal growth, School Design for 21st Centry Learning, 21st Century Learning, project based learning, Instructional Technology

An idea worth spreading

It is imperative for us to engage in the educational process: be creative in our work, reflect on the good and the bad on a daily basis, experiment and delve into unfamiliar waters and live, produce, perform and shine.

I'm passionate about

Sharing with and learning from my colleagues by discussing lessons, projects, activities, ideas, and materials that worked in class and that didn't work in class.

Talk to me about

Ways to engage the students so that I can promote creative thinking and independent learning.

People don't know I'm good at

Being a recluse with wireless internet, my laptop and my cellphone (for texting and tweeting)

Comments & conversations

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Valerie Burton
Posted almost 3 years ago
What place does creativity have in education?
Karina, We are working on poetry now and I don't just want them to write poetry, I want them to produce poetry slam videos. I want them to record themselves performing poetry that they have written. Some of them will use templates to write their poems if they do not feel comfortable creating their own. I won't require them to talk on camera if they are uncomfortable. They can make voice recordings and then create screencasts with visuals to go along with ther recordings. Many of them are not used to recording themselves and I am trying to get them to feel comfortable by not requiring them to use the video camera, etc. I know that this is pseudo creativity because I am giving them the format/venue to express themselves but I am doing it in a way that allows them freedom to incorporate other aspects of their creativity. I think of it as creativity on training wheels. I figure that if I introduce them to enough things that are new to them that they will eventually feel empowered enough to do their own thing. We have started using Weebly for ePortfolios and Animoto for PhotoMovies and I have students who have created their own websites and photomovies to help friends and family keep in contact. I was floored. I will let everyone know how our work goes. Thanks for all of your comments.
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Valerie Burton
Posted almost 3 years ago
What place does creativity have in education?
Dan LOVE the bubble and will probably use that in class. I do ask for them to do other things and sometimes I get good responses so some of them are getting it. We make photomovies, blog, wikipages, wordles,etc. Many of them see and appreciate the connections between what they normally do in class and the techie things that I ask them to do. Thanks everyone for your great words and advice. I will keep up the big fight and try to get them to think OUTSIDE of the bubble.
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Valerie Burton
Posted almost 3 years ago
What place does creativity have in education?
Thanks Alonso, I try to convince myself that that is the case and I am asking them to move out of their comfort zone. That's the only thing that keeps my trying. It is frustrating when they keep asking me "What is the answer?" and I keep replying "I don't know. What do you think?" I know that they have to be trained to think independently.
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Valerie Burton
Posted almost 3 years ago
Instead of old age homes and orphanages in separate facilities, the combination of both should be built.
What a great idea. My house has 4 generations in it and it is wonderful. My 8 year old daughter knows that she is going to see her 94 year old great-grandmother die but she also knows that her great-grandmother dotes on her every word and will do anything for her. That kind of relationship is invaluable. I know that my grandmother will die with the knowledge that she has raised 3 great children, 4 great grandchildren and 3 great great-grandchildren. There is no better medicine for the elderly than that. If I outlive my kids, I would gladly move into an orphanage to be surrounded by kids and the joy they bring.
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Valerie Burton
Posted almost 3 years ago
Why did you go to University/College?
I went to college because that is what I thought you were supposed to do after graduation. I was so naive that I thought that everyone went to college after high school. I am the daughter and granddaughter of teachers so of course I was going to college after high school. Not going was not an option. I went to college to increase my job prospects and to pursue a subject that I enjoyed. I majored in Marketing and minored in Communications. I now work as a teacher. LOL. I had to go back to school to get certified for the family business. ;p
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Valerie Burton
Posted almost 3 years ago
I believe the right to an education is a basic human right..what can we do to make that a reality?
Good question and I do not have an answer to it. I am the product of a private university and I am the granddaughter of a product of a private university. I know that it is essential for all high school graduates to follow through and attend college whether it is a 2 or 4 year public or private institution. Whether the student is legal or illegal is irrelevant to me, having the desire to continue with their education is the most important thing to me. The Dream Act makes illegal immigrants who are accepted into state universities eligible for financial assistance and I am OK with that. I am surrounded by American born and bred students who I have to fight with daily just to get them to complete their high school education. I believe that getting educated is too important for us not to help students who see the value and seek financial assistance.
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Valerie Burton
Posted almost 3 years ago
What place does creativity have in education?
Karina, You have given me much to think about because as a high school teacher who feels that technology has allowed me to be artist that I was born to be, I would like to think that by integrating technology into my classes I am giving my kids their Creativity Back. But am I...??? I expect creative thinking, free exploration, uncharted discovery to happen regularly in my classroom. I expect it but often do not get it. My curriculum demands that I teach my kids to read and respond but I try to leave the ways they respond up to them. I want them to create blog posts, digital stories or even PowerPoints that allow them to express their thoughts and opinions on the subject matter. Yes, we all know that the prevalent public education systems are merely a means to program the masses rather than a way to facilitate discovery, growth and self realization but I want to take them above and beyond the required responses. I want them to relate what they've read or seen to things that they are familiar with so that they can create links that take them out of the box. NO, I don't believe that we are CHURNING out useful citizens. We are making trained lab rats who give us the answers that we are looking for. I sing and dance when I get out of the box responses whether they are right or wrong. I celebrate their individuality and I try to encourage unusual responses. Many of them are not used to doing this and/or are too scared to respond so I have to fuss and complain to them in hopes of getting more out of them. I am not afraid of their individual thinking and often laugh when some of them complain that they want worksheets because what I am asking them to do is too hard. Creativity can be killed if the students do not see the value of it. They turn off their thoughts so that they can supply us with our thoughts. I know what I think. I want the messiness and uncertainty that their original thoughts can bring. It helps to keep me honest and on my toes.
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Valerie Burton
Posted almost 3 years ago
We can learn by exchanging and discussing our own lists of "10 Things I Know to be True."
What I Know I know that love, hope and drive CAN and WILL change the world. I know that you must love yourself before anyone else can love you. I know that teaching is one of the hardest jobs in the world. I know that teaching is one of the most fulfilling jobs in the world. I know that my students are future doctors, lawyers, thieves, hairstylists, governors, mayors, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, killers and healers. I know that to inspire my students, I must first find the secret tool that engages them. I know that if family doesn't come first, all is lost. I know that today family is made up of mother, father, cousin, friend, pastor, teacher, coach, aunt, grandmother, and so on and so on. I know that all children have a glorious future. I know that not all children realize this and squander their futures. I know that most of what I do know revolves around kids. Hmmmm.... Something I didn't know before.
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Valerie Burton
Posted over 3 years ago
Tony Porter: A call to men
I am a single parent of a 18 year old man child and a 7 year old girl and I want my son to grow up outside of the manbox and I want my daughter to partner with a man who is living outside of the manbox. The Manbox is a driving force in the lives of American males. It is important that we teach them to be strong enough to find themselves so that they can live free productive lives.