As teacher, I´ve been working as a professional in education since 2007 in different grades (PK3-12) and contexts (regular, bilingual, dual-language instruction, ESL), and even in different countries (Spain, France, UK, USA). I always had a love for teaching and had the dream of becoming a teacher. Professionally speaking, I became a teacher quite late in my career, at the age of 27. Previously, I worked in tourism for ten years; however my real passion was set on teaching. So when the Visiting Teaching Program between Spain and U.S. was a reality I knew I had to be part of it. This is now my second year as a bilingual Prekindergarten Teacher and I really like Houston and would like to spend more time, professionally speaking, in this amazing city. I am definitely happy doing what I love to do because I know that education is a social service. We not only teach concepts and follow guidelines or objectives; we promote great values such as respect, care, and friendship. We lead lives and spark children’s likes and interests.
Everything I do for my students is based on their demonstrated needs. I like to promote a calm atmosphere in my classroom where students feel confident when they speak and interact with one another. I always try to give them various opportunities to communicate in the way they feel most comfortable within their peers. One example of this, is by starting with a story and then inventing a song to repeat what they have learned and, later, make home connections so that the students can relate to what has just been presented. This is a prime example as to why I enjoy using the outdoor learning area for this activity. To promote literacy and lead my students to participate and communicate with others in a respectful and proper manner, I use my learned skills and strategies as a storyteller. Storytelling is an important multilingual and multicultural resource for the development of communicative skills in Early Childhood Education because it develops active learning especially in a bilingual classroom. Storytelling has become a daily activity in my classroom since it promotes multisensory skills which, in turn, lead students to enjoy reading and literacy in general. In a similar way, it allows students to express themselves freely, without judgment, and develops positive reading habits, as well as, communicates a message to different learners giving wide opportunities for everyone to learn. To promote biliteracy and oral language development, I provide opportunities for my students to become classroom leaders. For example, during the morning circle time, they are able to lead the class calendar activities and create the news. During workstations, students work in pairs and small groups. Students are encouraged to take leadership roles and help each other stay on task to complete the center activities. how you promote in your lessons and/or workstations, listening, speaking, reading, and writing? Children need all senses to learn and acquire a language. They have to be given opportunities that fit their possibilities of growth and progress. One important aspect that I make sure to implement is to adapt everything to their level so that all students are given an opportunity to learn at their pace, and for what is developmentally appropriate for their age level. Connections are a huge aspect when I plan my lessons. I make sure to refer to myself at that age and place myself in the student’s shoes to create a meaningful lesson that they can relate to. In the community in which I work, many children are faced with daily hardships that not all can relate to, therefore I use the classroom environment as a safe haven for my students. I like to promote an environment in which the children feel safe and are given many opportunities to learn. I am by no means the perfect teacher, but I try my best to promote lesson that they will like and are geared towards their interests. Therefore, my workstations revolve around the concept of scaffolding and significant learning. How can you reach every student at their individual level and help push them to the next level? All of my classroom centers provide opportunities for students to read and write. Students tell stories and dramatize them, based on the Rice Storytelling program. This method allows them to develop their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Happiness is the base of everything we do, it is our aim. In our community, I know that the conditions of many children are really far from this happy ideal, which is why I want to provide it to them, at least, make them see that learning is fun and they are safe here at school. And sometimes, these children need something extra… something that speaks to them and encourages them to want to learn. What are some researched-based strategies that you use in teaching and making lessons engaging for students to master PK Guidelines? I have studied a lot about learning and acquiring foreign languages, especially in early education. Many teachers, principals and administrators participate and contribute by sharing their great ideas that I can adapt to my classroom and kids. I adapt because I am aware of the community where my students and their families live and their characteristics are so different and diverse. With that being said: Total Physical Response: a method that I like to use with my students. I like the way I am able to check comprehension by movement and action. At early stages, action and movement are key concepts for their development and learning, it is scientifically proved, since neurons increase their connections with movement. Talking-time and Silent Period: it is very important for them to have opportunities to talk but, at the same time, they need to be not pressed. We, as teachers, must understand that every student has their own process of learning. Montessori Approach: a good method to learn how to be autonomous and independent. Bloom’s Taxonomy: is one of my favorites to use. Being creative needs a process and time, practice the thinking levels and work on them. In this way I explain to clearly what to do, checking understanding, and letting them collaborate with other students. Doman: another important strategy for me since his method is really good for implementing early stimulation in learning and skills, reading, and other cognitive issues.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS • Teacher of the Year 2018. Roosevelt ES, Houston ISD. • HAABE Finalist Bilingual Teacher of the Year 2018. - North Area of Houston ISD Bilingual Teacher of the Year 2018. • Bilingual Teacher of the Year 2018. Roosevelt ES, Houston ISD. • Teacher of the Year 2017. Ninfa Laurenzo ECC, Houston ISD. • Worldwide project “1000 paper-crane challenge” as part of the Finnish program of international project contest LUMA 2017. Finland. • Top Story of the Week: From Seville to Houston, Fulfilling a Dream by HISD Multilingual Department. February 24, 2017. • Rookie Teacher of the Year 2016. Ninfa Laurenzo ECC, Houston ISD. • Outstanding recognition for Master Thesis: Benefits of the use of Augmented Reality developing biliteracy in Early Childhood Education. Aug. 2017 • Outstanding recognition for our Summer School Program: Dinámicas de Diversión (Playful Dynamics) article published in “El Correo de Andalucía” July 23, 2014. • Outstanding recognition for Early Childhood Ed. Thesis: Benefits of the use of storytelling and TPR during ESL instruction in Early Childhood Education. May 2014 • Great-E-learning by Maestrousero (blog) highlighted by HISD Multilingual Department. Nov. 13, 2017.
EDUCATION: - 2018 - Nowadays: PhD Student and Associate Research. Curriculum and Instruction Program. University of Houston. - 2017 – M.Ed. in Bilingual Education. University of Alcala de Henares (Spain) – Partnership between USA-Spain 2016-2017. - 2006 – M.Ed. in English. University of Sevilla. - 2008 – Teaching Certification for Secondary Education (CAP) University of Sevilla. - 2012 – B.A. in Elementary Education with minor degree in Music. University of Sevilla. - 2015 – B.A. in Early Childhood Education. International University of La Rioja.
PUBLICATIONS • Usero Gonzalez, F. (April, 2018) Benefits and Use of Augmented Reality to develop early biliteracy in Proceedings of the Building Bridges Conference II, Belize City, Belize. ISBN: 978-1-5323-7173-8. • Purpura, D. J., Gonzalez, J. E., Anaya, L., & Usero Gonzalez, F. (accepted). The importance of mathematical language in early numeracy development: Implications for dual language learners. PRESENTATIONS • Early-Childhood Coaching – Workshop about developing early childhood skills and emotional intelligence. “Cuatro Santos” PTO, Tocina – Sevilla (Spain) December 21- 23, 2012. • BBB – Benefits of being bilingual 2012 – 2015. Imaydu. Tocina, Sevilla (Spain) • Baby-library (Bebeteca) of Super Readers 2013 – 2015. Promoting reading and bilingualism in families. Ramon Carande public library. Tocina – Sevilla (Spain). • Yoga & ABC 2013 – 2015. Promoting reading with yoga. Ramon Carande public library, Tocina – Sevilla (Spain). • Promoting reading in Early-Childhood and Elementary education with families. April 2015. Virgen del Monte public school, Cazalla de la Sierra – Sevilla (Spain). • Book Fair Week. April 2013 – 2015. Ramon Carande Public Library, Tocina – Sevilla (Spain). • Flamenco and Multiple Intelligences. March 25, 2016. Spanish Resource Center. Rice University. Houston, TX. • Multi-sensorial learning through Storytelling in Spanish Foreign Language. February 23, 2017. Spanish Resource Center. Rice University. Houston, TX • Community engagement though the use of technology. January 2018. Presentation at the Harris County Early Childhood Education Winter Conference. Houston, TX. • Developing Biliteracy with Augmented Reality. April 21st, 2018. AAABE Adelante! Austin, TX. • Benefits and Use of Augmented Reality to develop early biliteracy. June 2018. Building Bridges II conference. Belize City, Belize. Accepted Presentation in TABE 2018 - Dallas (Oct. 12-19, 2018) Accelerating Vocabulary Development in Dual Language Learners: An Innovative Digital Approach to Shared-Book Reading.