Nixon is Teacher of Year
Greenwood Elementary kindergarten-first grade teacher Melissa Nixon was named the 2013 Morgan County Schools Teacher of the Year at a May 25 school award ceremony.
Nixon just completed her fifth year at Greenwood Elementary as K-1 teacher. She attended Potomac State University and Frostburg State University. Nixon received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Frostburg State University. Greenwood Elementary was her first teaching position.
In her split level multi-grade classroom, Nixon teaches 20 or more students a year with her classroom aide. The kids get the “best of both worlds” with lots of songs that younger students like and reading centers that appeal to older ones.
The emphasis in Nixon’s classroom is active learning with her biggest interests being reading and math. Kindergarten and first grade is where children get started reading.
“It’s very important to get them started right. They need a good foundation,” Nixon said.
Nixon likes using Dr. Seuss books in class. The kids really like the rhythm of his prose, she said. They also do reader’s theater where students read parts of a story in script using expressive voices and gestures.
Nixon said she varies activities every day, switching from buddy reading to other types of reading. They also do popcorn reading, where they pick the next person to read by saying the word popcorn.
For math, they count constantly and also have hands-on activities, like putting numbers of items together, sorting things into groups and building objects and animals with shapes, she said. Nixon keeps it creative so kids don’t get bored and throws things in for teachable moments whenever possible.
Reading coach Sabrina Young and math coach Derrick Fox have been a big help, Nixon said.
Her class also works on their letters and writing. Kids write in their journals, which start out in kindergarten with just letters. They progress to writing numbers and words. Students work with letter tiles and letter stamps to stamp out words.
“It’s not just paper and pencil,” she said.
Kindergarteners and first graders also learn computer skills and type their spelling words and names. It’s changed so much in five years with what technology kids have to know, Nixon said.
Always wanted to teach
Nixon said she came from a family of eight children and always wanted to be a teacher. Her brothers and sisters would bring their kids home for holidays and she’d play school with them. She credits some of her teachers as role models that helped influence her decision to become a teacher.
Nixon said she enjoys everything about teaching and especially likes being around the kids. She likes that they’re pulling energy from her and that she’s being a role model for them and having an influence on their life.
Nixon is team leader at Greenwood Elementary and is also involved in their PTO. She was also yearbook advisor until this year.
Dedicated & caring
Greenwood Elementary Principal Barbara Miller said she was thrilled that Nixon received the Teacher of the Year award. Nixon is such a dedicated and caring teacher, who is very concerned about students and very capable with what she does, Miller said.
Nixon gives so much effort and time in her classroom, Miller said. Teachers and administrators have all had so many new things to learn and there are so many new lessons that have to be done a certain way.
Nixon worked hard to get her classroom centers together to make sure she has what the kids need. She is determined to do what’s right for her students, Miller said.
Nixon also takes time to really talk to kids and make them understand why it’s important for them to do or not do things, she said.
Miller said she’s been very impressed with so many things that Nixon has done.
“She’s just a great teacher,” Miller emphasized.