Friday, January 4, 2008

Cool teachers you should know: Brandy Clark, Brooklyn's MS 313

Brandy Clark, a 4th year teacher, grew up in both Oklahoma and southern California. For two years, she taught speech, drama, and debate in Oklahoma City at Belle Isle Enterprise Middle School. She then moved to New York, which her nominator, John Thompson, says “fits her personality” (this is the ultimate compliment in my book). This is her second year teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade math and science special education at M.S. 313 in Brooklyn.

Check out her favorite lesson from a unit on simple machines. Ms. Clark explained, “As a class we use our knowledge of potential and kinetic energy to build miniature catapults. We recycle used milk cartons, sporks, and rubber bands to hurl mini-marshmallows at targets and into each others mouths. The students enjoy competing to see who can pitch a marshmallow the farthest.”

A believer in the idea that the best way for her class to learn about the world is to see it for themselves, Ms. Clark takes her students on a variety of trips. She wrote, “This year we have done everything from visiting the Magic Johnson Theater in Harlem, to watching the St. Luke’s chamber orchestra perform, to touring the neighborhood gathering rocks for our unit on the earth and the rock cycle.”

Her advice to new teachers? “Every lesson is an opportunity to allow your students to work with their hands to get messy. New teachers should understand that it’s okay not to be perfect. Making mistakes and acknowledging them allows students to see a human side to their teachers and allows the students to feel free to make their own mistakes as they learn.”

Ms. Clark is also active in supporting student activities outside of the classroom – in Oklahoma, she was the technical director of a musical theater production and also directed one theater production. In the picture above (she’s on the left), she agreed to go on stage with her students as a mock KISS band - Ms. Clark explained, "There was a fog machine and strobe lights as we lip synced with cardboard instruments." That’s commitment.

Keep up the good work, Ms. Clark!

You can nominate a cool teacher you should know by emailing me at eduwonkette (at) gmail (dot) com.

7 comments:

Robyn Hilger said...

First, I need to say to Ms. Clark...YOU GO GIRL! Ms. Clark was my mentee teacher when she worked in OKC. She has a brilliant personality and really knows how to connect to kids. I'm so glad to see that she is shining bring in NYC. I had no doubt that she would whether it was on "the stage" or in the classroom.

Yes, she really did dress up as a KISS member but someone really should ask her about the big pink flower she wore in her hair to her job interview or about those plaid pants!

She is surely missed here in OKC but what a gain for NYC.

Love ya girl!

Rocco said...

Ah yes, the wonderful Ms. Clark! Why can't they all be like her? Life would be so much better. Now if I can just find my checkbook....

Ms.Branch said...

Ms. Clark I'm so proud of you. Working with you for the last two years in the classsroom and seeing how hard you work with the students is an inspiration to me. You are my motivation to be a better person and educator. Keep on doing your very best.....Your my HERO!!!!........

Amba said...

Brandylyn!!!! you are the most awesomest teacher and person ever! even tho you busted all the water balloons pn the concrete. we will always be in the supa hero club 4 eva! love you more!!!!

amba

kirlkand said...

ms joseph wat are u doin to da school. come on ? is Ms wade the mole

Ms Jacobs said...

i felt i should leave a message myself when i saw the message left by my colleague. ms joseph gave another teacher a bad report for chewing gum. i dont know y she did this then she hires everybody she knows from her church to work in the school. wat is that. i know for a fact ms wade is the mole she "reported" Ms White for no reason.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness how wonderful to see brandy doing so well! me and Brandy attended Edgehill University Ormskirk when she was over in the UK for a year and what fun we had! Brandy was made a honourary 'scouser' as she new liverpudlian mannerisms! Glad to see you're still her bright bubbly self Brandy! from (little) Jenny Conlin xx p.s. Brandy email me at; littleJellyUK@yahoo.co.uk