This semester, students from both sections of Professor Kathryn Will-Dubyak’s Reading & Language Arts K-3 class (EDU 333) created a Social Justice Picture Book display on the third floor of Mantor Library.
As part of a class project, the students were asked to recommend children’s books for the library’s collections, and they decided to focus on books relating to social justice. In order to make their recommendations; they considered reviews from professional sources such as Horn Book and Publishers Weekly, looked at nominations for children’s book awards, and assessed the quality of the text and illustrations.
The titles the students chose have been purchased by the library and are currently being processed into the Mantor Library or Spenciner Curriculum Materials Center collections.
Some of the chosen books are listed below with brief descriptions:
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig- Brian is a quiet boy who feels invisible. None of his classmates make an effort to play with him, invite him to their birthday parties, talk to him, or be his friend. When Brian befriends the new student, Justin, they become an unstoppable pair, and Brian shines among his classmates when he and Justin work on a class project together. This story shows how a small act of kindness and compassion can make a huge difference for children, especially the quiet ones.
All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism by Shania Rudolph and Danielle Royer- Zane, a young zebra with autism, worries that he will have problems at school if the students only notice his “autism stripe.” Zane’s mother helps him to learn to appreciate all of his stripes and all of his qualities, and to learn that he is not defined by his autism stripes but by how he treats others with honesty, respect, and care. The book includes a Reading Guide with additional background information about autism spectrum disorders and a Note to Parents and Caregivers with tips for finding support.
Sparkle Boy by Leslea Newman- Casey is a young boy who likes to play with puzzles, dump trucks, and blocks. He begins to show interest in his older sister Jessie’s things- her sparkly skirt, her shiny nails, and her bracelets. The rest of Casey’s family supports his interests, but Jessie doesn’t think that those things are for boys, so she doesn’t know how she feels about it. One day, Jessie sees other boys in the library picking on Casey for his “girl clothes.” Jessie realizes that Casey has a right to wear whatever he wants to wear and be whoever he wants to be. This is a great story that addresses and respects individuality and encourages freedom of typical gender roles and stereotypes.
For a complete list of stories included in the display case, click on the brochure below! The display can be seen in person on the third floor of Mantor Library. Great job to Professor Will-Dubyak and her class for such an amazing display and selection of books that are sure to touch your heart and make you feel good!
For the past few years Early Childhood Education professor Dr. Patti Bailie has been implementing an assignment that requires students to plan, design, budget for, and create a visual of a proposed childcare center. This is a very in depth, hands on assignment that allows students to express their creativity while learning about the processes that go into planning an environment for young children.
Planning Environments for Young Children (ECH 420) is an upper-level course offered every fall semester and has evolved greatly over the years. Students engage in a three-phase process of designing a learning environment that incorporates indoor and outdoor spaces. First, students are put into groups of three and interview early childhood educators and directors to get their input on what is important to include in the space. They then write a program for their proposed center, draw out the environment to scale, and decide what materials need to be in the environment. This assignment requires a lot of work and new knowledge, as students need to draw the space with proper dimensions that align with childcare center policies, create a budget and a list of all of the materials they would need, and consider any challenges that may evolve through this process.
Another interesting aspect of this assignment is the implementation of nature based education. Professor Bailie has expertise in the field of nature based education, which is the promotion of using the natural outdoor environment to encourage children to explore and learn from their organic surroundings. “The whole idea of nature based education and nature play areas is taking hold in preschools and elementary play environments, so I am excited to implement it more,” said Professor Bailie. “I am excited to see pre-educators taking this mindset and enjoying this topic as well.”
Not only do ECH 420 students engage in planning the environment, but geography students have played a part in the past, as well. In the Fall 2015 semester, geography Professor Matt McCourt partnered with Professor Bailie to create a co-lab, incorporating the expertise of students in both fields to create a sustainable nature based environment. Geography students surveyed the land next to the Sweatt-Winter learning center located on campus to determine where the sun hits the land the most, how wind effects that area, rain drainage, and more. Early childhood students then used this information to design and implement a nature based outdoor area for children to use. They created tree stump seats, mud kitchens, and willow tree tunnels to encourage children to engage in the natural resources that surround them. This was a very hands-on experience, as students used chainsaws and other tools to create the materials for the outdoor play area. They then watched their ideas come to life, as the children enrolled in Sweatt-Winter then got to explore the space and learn about the various materials from the students.
There has been talk about relocating Sweatt-Winter and building a new space for the center. In the Fall 2016 semester, Professor Bailie’s students proposed ideas which were presented to various faculty and community members in January, including President Foster. While there are no set plans for the new center yet, those involved in the process did write down common themes or ideas that ECH students had that could be implemented in the new center.
Professor Bailie is always impressed with the ideas that students have. One group designed an outdoor trampoline area that incorporated the use of technology, one group created a circle-shaped lobby that had pods extending around it for kindergarten, first, and second grade classes, and one group included various rooms and resources for parents as well. While some groups had similar ideas, no two design proposals were the same. Through this class, students are able to get a taste of what goes into planning a learning environment, budgeting, following policies, and collaborating with other professionals in order to create the best space possible. This is a great assignment that allows students to use their individual creativity while planning.
When asked what her favorite part about this assignment is, Professor Bailie said she loves watching it all come together. “Students start off feeling very challenged, but by the end of the semester they are drawing and designing and are excited about their ideas! I like to see the change in students’ attitudes over the semester as these projects come together.”
Are you interested in nature-based education? Professor Bailie has taught an honors nature-based education class in the past, which may be offered again. UMF is also working on developing a nature based education minor program available to all students, not just education majors. Keep an eye out for more information about various nature based programs offered at UMF, including the Nature Based Education Summer Institute taking place on campus this summer!
For more information about the co-lab that took place in 2015, read the article about it here.
The Maine Department of Education has launched a state-wide initiative challenging parents, educators, and anyone who interacts with children to spend at least fifteen minutes a day reading to children in order to increase their literacy. Various UMF students and faculty participated this year at three different locations, making an impact on many young children in the area.
Kathryn Will-Dubyak is an assistant professor of literacy education in the elementary education and early childhood division and has been working here since August of 2016. She collaborated with Julie Farmer, the director at Sweatt-Winter, and Tracey Williams, the principal at WG Mallett School to organize read-in sessions at each school on February 16th and 17th. Sweatt-Winter had eight participants that spent a total of one hour reading to the children, and Mallett had sixty participants that read to all of the students for about 45 minutes. Participants included UMF students, professors, and staff. The UMF Women’s Softball Team also took on the #ReadtoME challenge and visited Phillips Elementary School to read to children there. When one of the softball players explained that she might struggle with pronouncing some of the words, a first grader said, “Well, if you don’t know a word, remember to slow down and sound it out!” How inspiring!
“This is a great program organized to encourage the power to reach to children early and often and to spread the word on social media,” said Professor Will-Dubyak. “The children loved it. Chompers came and some children read to him, which they really enjoyed!”
#ReadtoME is an annual event, so if you are interested in taking on the challenge keep an eye out for next year’s events! “Stay tuned,” said Professor Will-Dubyak, “we are going to make it bigger and better!”
For more information about the #ReadtoME challenge, visit the Maine DOE website here, or search for the #ReadtoME or #UMFReadtoME hashtags on Twitter.
College is expensive for everyone. The fees, tuition, room and board, and everything else that is factored in can add up to a hefty dollar amount. Did you know that there are loan forgiveness programs and UMF scholarships designed for education majors? Read below to learn about some of these options.
Loan Forgiveness: The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue in the teaching profession. Under this program, if you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in certain elementary and secondary schools and educational service agencies that serve low-income families, and meet other qualifications, you may be eligible for forgiveness of up to a combined total of $17,500 on your Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and your Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans. If you have PLUS loans only, you are not eligible for this type of forgiveness. Participants in this program must have a bachelor’s degree in education to be considered a qualified teacher, and ust have completed their five years of full-time teaching before applying for Loan Forgiveness. You may visit the Teacher Loan Forgiveness website to learn more information about eligibility requirements, loan qualifications, or to fill out an application.
UMF Scholarships: UMF offers over one hundred academic scholarships for students, and many of them are dedicated to students in the education field. Many scholarships have very few requirements to be eligible, and they are designed to help all students that are deserving. Below is list of just some of the scholarships offered to education majors at UMF. For a complete list of UMF scholarships and recipient requirements, visit the UMF Scholarships website.
Scholarships for Education Majors (this is not an exhaustive list):
- Allen, Grace Stone Award
- Ambrose, Dr. Edward S. and Barbara Dickey Scholarship
- Arsenault, Katie J. Memorial Scholarship
- Brooks, Leonard Knowles ‘58 Scholarship
- Clawson, Gene and Sue Scholarship
- Cobban, Margaret R. Scholarship Fund
- Cramer, Rowena Titcomb Scholarship Fund
- Currie, Edmund D. Scholarship Fund
- D’aiutolo, Sadie Redding
- D.A.R. Scholarship
- Genthner, Grace Berry Scholarship
- Irwin, Charlotte M. Brett
- Johnson, Alice Miller (Class of 1939) Scholarship
- Kaulback, Vera Macbean (Class of 1940) Scholarship
- Lake, Doris Francis Scholarship
- Lockwood, Helen E. Scholarship
- Macinnes, Beatrice Hudon Memorial Scholarship
- McGary, Ruth Webber (Class of 1950) Scholarship
- Mosher, Nettie Taylor Scholarships
- Nickerson, Clement (1956) and Patricia Craig (1959) Scholarship
- Parlin, Millard S. Sr. and Alverna, W. Scholarship
- Richards, Leona Coy Scholarship
- Verrill, Joan R. Scholarship
On September 27th students and community members gathered in Lincoln Auditorium to meet visiting author/illustrator Chris Van Dusen. Chris is a children’s book author and illustrator known for his works Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee, A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee, If I Built a Car, and many more! The event was hosted by UMF’S Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC).
During the visit, Chris covered a lot of his work, starting with the books he illustrated for in the past, including Kate DiCamillo’s Mercy Watson stories. He then transitioned into discussing If I Built a Car, written and illustrated by Chris himself. He went through the planning process of the book, changes his editor wanted to make, and how he moved forward with those changes.
This event was open to UMF students and faculty, as well as members in the community. The audience included professors, faculty, UMF students, parents, and children of many ages. Chris took the time to answer questions and sign autographs for his fans.
When asked if there will be any other visits of this nature in the future, UMF’S AEYC President Ranae Carlson seemed hopeful. “We definitely hope to
have future author events, but for right now, nothing is set in stone,” she said. “We try to make our events applicable to people other than education students but I think anyone can benefit from hearing what authors, specifically those in Maine, have to say! It’s like having a celebrity on campus!”
The UMF Teacher Education program would like to thank Chris Van Dusen, the AEYC, and those who attended for making this such an enjoyable event for all!
Meet our newest Education Faculty & Staff!
Dr. Leigh Ann Fish is coming to UMF from Troy, Ohio where she worked in public education as an elementary teacher and coordinator of gifted and talented education.
After earning her Ph.D. from Miami University in 2015, Leigh Ann decided to pursue her passion for working with the next generation of teachers… and was thrilled to find the talented and welcoming UMF community!
When not on campus, Leigh Ann enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and two young daughters hiking/kayaking, exploring historical sites, and trying her hand at modern-day “homesteading” on their 18th century farm.
She will be teaching ECH 150 (Intro to Early Childhood Ed) and ECH 232 (Social Science for Young Children) this fall.
Dr. Kathryn Will-Dubyak
In her own words: “Although I am a Florida native, I arrived at UMF from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana where I was a part of the community for 23 years. I am thrilled to be here.
Teaching literacy courses to pre-service teachers is the job I have been dreaming of for quite sometime. Being able to do it in a community like Farmington is beyond my wildest dreams. My husband, Travis, and I are looking forward to getting involved in the community.
Throughout my life I have had many opportunities to work with children of varying ages. I taught in a four room school house in Big Sky, Montana where we often had to alter our recess schedules due to elk herds on the playground, and went skiing every Friday for our physical education program.
During the time in my life when I was a farmer, I established and developed science camps for preschool-aged children as well as family-to-farm summer camps where entire families learned about the origins of their food and food preparation. I also have two children who are now 18 and 20 years old. When they were younger we spent hours (and hours) every day reading.
When I am not thinking about literacy and preparing teachers for their future classrooms, I really enjoy growing and preparing food, hiking, knitting or crafting in some form, and learning new things (a.k.a. reading, reading, reading).”
Julia Jeremias is the new Early Childhood Education Off-Campus Bachelor’s Degree Program Advisor and Coordinator. Julia comes to UMF from southern Maine where she is adjunct faculty in the early childhood department at Southern Maine Community College.
After graduating from Mount Holyoke College and Lesley University, Julia started her life in education as a toddler teacher and continued in various rolls from teacher to public school administrator, until her family was transferred to Maine.
When not working, Julia enjoys hiking with her partner and son, traveling, quilting, and baking.
The “Last Lecture” is a yearly event sponsored by UMF’s Alpha Lambda Delta, now in its fifth year. Alpha Lambda Delta is a nationally recognized honor society for students who achieved a grade point average of 3.5 or higher in their first year at UMF. The UMF chapter focuses on community service and academic excellence through a variety of events. Continue reading