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Meet Our MCE of the Month: Jezer Ureña

Post Series: MCE of the Month
jezerurena

Jezer Ureña
4th Grade Math & Science Bilingual Teacher
Aldine ISD
Texas

Today was one of those days when the classroom environment exceeded all expectations. It’s the culmination of preparation, relational cultivation, sufficient resources and tremendous trust and discipline on the part of students. I always say teachers are like parents, the kids don’t choose. That’s why I remind myself, my students deserve peak instruction, respect, and opportunity.

What inspired you to go into education?

Jezer: I was greatly inspired by teachers and have always felt a calling to serve my community. I got tired of seeing the brain drain and decided to teach in the district where I was educated.

What kind of educator do you strive to be?

I want to be the type of educator that ignites a passion and a curiosity for learning. I want my students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers. My hope is that my students learn to see their world critically and understand that all knowledge is interconnected. An education is so much more than just learning content, but learning how to become a person and learn who we are because we’re exposed to things. This helps us encounter what we’re passionate about.

At the price of becoming a testing culture, certain activities have been deemed extraneous even though modern brain science and psychology show the opposite, which is why Flocab is important. I want to bring excitement back into the classroom, where it’s not monotonous and where the kids aren’t focusing the whole year just on one exam — I don’t want to be one of those teachers where students don’t want to come back to the class. My kids never miss, they come to school sick. They don’t want to go home. Somehow I’m making things that are boring entertaining. I respect them and give them a voice and allow them to express themselves.

How do you typically integrate Flocabulary into your curriculum?

I sit down and look and my learning objectives and look through the Flocab library to see if I can find a video that hits my learning target. Then I like to use the video as a warm-up or engagement piece. I will play the video all week. By mid-week I assign read and respond, quizzes and the lyric lab.

For students that are struggling and not grasping information in a traditional way, they love Flocabulary. Hip-hop is so predominant in pop culture and it’s what they listen to.

What is one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had in the classroom while using Flocabulary?

My most memorable moment has to be my implementation at the beginning of the year. I assigned a lyric lab assignment and my students said it was too hard. After I showed them my first rap, it stoked their inner fire and now I have a whole class of junior emcees. Flocabulary has been vital to building a powerful rapport with my students.

How has Flocabulary impacted your classroom?

It has sparked excitement in the classroom and helped me teach vocabulary in a memorable and effective fashion. Students are excited to come class. For students not grasping the information in a traditional context, Flocabulary is an amazing vehicle. It taps into the pop culture and the students love of hip hop. It also helps stoke their creativity.

How has becoming an MCE impacted you?

It has given me a powerful professional learning network. There are so many brilliant teachers that are MCEs and the opportunity to share ideas and teaching strategies have been invaluable. Also, the educators that use Flocabulary are typically innovators in the classroom, and I love to dialogue with intrepid educators.

 

Alright, time to rhyme -- let’s write a rap (using Lyric Lab, of course). We’ll start... “ MCE of the Month, and this month, it’s me. So let me tell you something about Flocabulary... “ - your turn -

Cayley Ross

Cayley Ross is Flocabulary's Marketing Co-op. She is a senior at Northeastern University majoring in communication studies and minoring in English and graphic design.

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