Degrees and Certifications:
Masters in Language, Reading and Culture-University of Arizona B.A. in Elementary Education-University of Arizona SEI Endorsement Early Childhood Endorsement Reading Endorsement
Mrs. Sandra Bigelow
Welcome to an exciting second grade year! I have been teaching at Rio Vista since 1989 and love teaching second grade. This is my 30th year of teaching! It is wonderful to have you in our classroom family! I was raised in a military family and grew up all over the United States before I moved Tucson. My favorite thing to do is to spend time with my family! I am married with two children who are in high school and college! Reading books is a passion of mine!
Defining Moment in Education
Every time I see the spark of understanding in a student’s eye and a smile of success, I feel motivated as a teacher! To help a student understand his or her ability to learn has been my motivation to continue my career in teaching for the past 26 years. There is nothing more inspiring than a child who loves to learn or who overcomes a hurdle in learning. It brings me great joy to know that a student feels happy with his or her success! The moment of discovery for a student occurs when a child unlocks the answer to a math equation, reads with fluency and comprehension, or solves a social issue with pride. It is the “ I understand!” moment filled with a sense of fulfillment and joy. Over the years, I have seen the importance of these “I understand” moments and feel that it is my duty to help create an environment that encourages discovery. I want each child to discover themselves as learners and feel personally motivated in a dynamic environment.
Years ago, I was teaching Writing Workshop and my class was very into writing chapter books! One day, Christopher’s mom gave me a hardback book of Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove. When I opened the book, I found Larry McMurtry’s autograph with my name inscribed. She said she knew him and was at his home when Christopher old him about Writing Workshop in my class. He pulled out a copy of his book and said to give to me and thank me for teaching him to love writing! Those made me feel like my teaching was valued by others!
Core Educational Belief
I feel like a curator in my classroom, which helps children enjoy education and see it in a new light so that they can become life-long literate citizens. I believe in an integrative approach to teaching and assessing curriculum using a variety of methods, resources and techniques to support the learner in a cycle of inquiry. A variety of explorations provide learners with opportunities to question their current knowledge and expand it through new learning. To support this philosophy of teaching, I call upon my experience as a teacher to develop lessons that merge the “best practices” of traditional, innovative and current methods of teaching to teach the curriculum. Learners need an active and social experience to develop collaboration with other learners in a community that trusts learners and values diversity. In my classroom, we are a community of diverse learners buzzing as we read, write and discuss the curriculum as a whole class, in small groups, in partnerships. It is my belief to create a classroom with soul. A classroom with soul touches children, forms them into a community of learners, and connects them to their experiences to the world helping them to see themselves as life-long readers, writers, and thinkers.
Ultimately, my teaching goal is to send students to the next learning experience feeling affirmed and empowered to make connections to themselves, others and the world academically and socially. Ideally, they have broadened their understanding of human diversity and the world we live in to help them grow and develop new questions. As they continue their life-long quest of knowledge, with new questions to provoke their thinking, I hope they reminisce about the unique experiences they had in second grade with Mrs. Bigelow.
I began my teaching career at Rio Vista and have happily made it my home for the past 29 years!