Innovator in Action

Congratulations to the August 2019 Innovator in Action! Each month, LINC recognizes one teacher who is taking risks, trying new skills, and pushing themselves to make a difference for students.

Tarah Denardo

District: New York City Department of Education

School: PS 153 Helen Keller School, Bronx, NY

Grade: 4th

Demographics: Public elementary school serving 700+ students, 65% free and reduced lunch

Ms. Tarah Denardo
Fun Fact:

I have always wanted to become a teacher. When I was in 4th grade, the first thing I would do when I got home from school was head down to my basement where I had my very own classroom set up. My students – grandparents and baby brother. Grams was a straight A student, Pops often skipped class which is why he still can’t spell, and my baby brother just wouldn’t sit still… but that didn’t stop me from living out my dream!

My Innovation in Action Helped Me:
  • increase the engagement of my students by giving them more authority and agency
  • differentiate for my students in an easier way by using playlists via Google classrooms and allowing different ways of doing things based on student interest and learning level
  • build trusting relationships with my students and work together on new models of teaching and learning
The Most Important Lesson I Learned:

A lesson I learned this past year while implementing LINC and technology for the first time is how much my teaching practices could be expanded. Prior to implementation, I felt limited as I had so many different needs to meet. Now, I am so eager because I can strategically individualize every child’s learning experience in so many ways, move more towards a student-centered classroom, and share the joy my students’ exhibits all while they are being prepared for the future!

My Coach Reflects:

After a couple of coaching sessions about using a Learning Management System (LMS) to personalize instruction, Tarah embraced a fail forward approach and went for it. When I popped by her room, students were working both independently and collaboratively on a variety of PAACC-aligned activities via Google Classroom. It took me a minute to locate Tarah because she was mixed in with the students providing feedback! I loved seeing generativity in action. As another teacher walked by she said, “I want to do that in my classroom, too!” (Kim Weber, LINC Coach)

Resource to Share:

“I loved using the resource I created below for my place value math unit. My students really enjoy working through it as it provides them with additional resources if they feel they are not getting a topic within the unit. It also gives them an opportunity to work collaboratively with another peer in their math group by doing a peer review of a specific problem and giving feedback.”

Place Value Review
Place Value Review (PPT)
Place Value Review (PDF)
Place Value Review (Google Slides)