Asbury University presents Educator of the Month – Angela Gonzales

More than two decades as an educator and more than eight hours teaching that particular day — in heels no less — and nothing can blunt Angela Gonzales’ enthusiasm and energy.
The fourth grade teacher at Liberty Elementary is so excited as she explains the importance of student engagement that she keeps popping out of her chair to demonstrate.
No more than 10 minutes into the conversation and she already has the interviewer caring passionately about fourth grade math.
Gonzales is a delightful blend of hyper organizational skills and bubbly gusto that makes her a memorable and highly effective teacher.
What she organizes are all the manipulatives — index cards, dice, foldables, mini-spiral notebooks, etc., — she uses to engage her students.
“It’s all about engaging the students in the learning process,” she said. “Once they are on board with you, the content flows easily.”
Gonzales, who has taught for 22 years, the past 10 in fourth grade at Liberty, has led an engagement seminar for her fellow teachers at Liberty. She also leads a seminar every semester for college student teachers.
Her message is simple: “It’s your responsibility as a teacher to engage with your kids. If not, the classroom will not be a fun or effective place.”
Her Post-It Paradise lesson typifies her approach. At the end of a unit she hands her students a review sheet of problems with different colored Post-It notes. The colors match groups of problems on the review sheet.
Students get to choose which problems they work first. When they’re done with that group, they paste their Post-It notes on one of the paper palm trees that Gonzales has arrayed around the room.
“Students get to choose and move, which is good,” she said. “Plus I get all this data. We correct the Post-Its immediately and give a star to those that are correct. If someone struggles, I can work one on one with them on the spot to help them master that skill.”
Her Achievement Chains are also popular. As a student masters skills, he or she earns beads for their individual Achievement Chain. By the end of the school year, the chain is laced with beads — a symbol of all that particular student has accomplished.
Said Gonzales: “I see my former students in public and they tell me, ‘I still have my chain.’ That makes me so proud.”