Monday, February 07, 2005

Beth Beaulieu autobiography from Whitefish High School

If you end up in Libby it is not because you are on the way to somewhere else. Libby is not on the way to anywhere. I grew up in this small logging community in the far Northwest corner of Montana where “Logger Days� in July was our big event of the year. I married young and although I left Libby at the time, I never moved from the mountain regions of Northwest Montana. I worked out of my home as a sales manager when my children were young, and it was my investment in family that drew me into the education field. My son’s entry into the school system as a gifted artist began with difficult struggles for success. While teachers and I worked together to find ways to help him succeed, education did not get easier for him. The search for answers led to my decision to become a teacher. With my three oldest children now in school and my youngest not quite a year old, I enrolled at the local college to begin my professional raining. My need to turn my visions into reality has highly influenced my intellectual development, both personally and professionally. My love for family and teaching come together in my desire to research heritage. Students need to connect to the world around them and gain an understanding of the world that has brought us to where we are today.

Project learning in my classroom began with the design of a five-week research/writing project during my student teaching. The seventh and eight grade students read a novel and interviewed peers and individuals who grew up during the early 1900s. Collaborative groups of students wrote chapters for the class book entitled, Now vs. Then. My Chapter 1 class at Hamilton High School wrote a book comparing World War 11, The Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf Crisis and titled their book, Teenage Writings of War Experiences. Other book projects include titles such as Exploration of Our Montana Past and America the Beautiful. Projects like these and my work with at-risk students enhance my awareness of the potential and capabilities of all students.

I completed my masters degree in May of 2003 at Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, Arizona. I chose this particular program because of its cyclical process of inquiry, reflection, application, evaluation and additional reflection. I learned strategies for becoming a high-performing teacher through Effective Classroom Management, Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences, Collaborative Action Research, Technology in the Classroom and The Self-Directed learner. Energy was easy to maintain throughout the work on my degree because everything I did expanded my repertoire of teaching strategies and refined my decision-making skills for planning classroom instruction.

The Montana Heritage Project became part of my dreams in the spring of 2003 when the grant I wrote was approved. While students conduct research and connect to their community, they become local historians.  The project has become the most exciting aspect of my teaching career. I am able to apply everything I know about good quality education to my classroom through this project.

Posted by JulieRadtke on 02/07 at 04:52 PM
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