Elementary Science Teacher Award Spotlight: Yolanda Guzman

School: Smith ES

Years Teaching: 2 years

Some creative ways Ms. Guzman has found to spark her students interest in science is by using interactive hands-on activities where every student and herself are part of the lesson and sometimes include edible experiments to make it even more fun! One example she shares is when they completed their unit on seasons and moon phases. To represent the four seasons, she had a student pretend to be the earth and she pretended to be the sun to help demonstrate when the earth revolves around the sun, the tilt of earth on its axis causes uneven warming, which how we get the different seasons. They also used Oreo cookies to help them identify the moon phases and the students were so excited to eat their yummy experiments afterwards!

 Fun Fact: Ms. Guzman teaches math and science to fourth graders that are English Learners, so she often has to simultaneously teach the class in English and Spanish!

Some words of advice Ms. Guzman has for her educator colleagues is to always let the passion you feel for teaching shine in your classroom, be welcoming and even on your hardest days, lead with a smile! Being an educator is not always easy, but if you are passionate and are always putting in the extra time and effort to create well-rounded lessons, you will keep your students engaged and interested in science for a long time.

Ms. Guzman says that she feels honored to be nominated for this award and she never imaged she would be recognized for something this special so early in her teaching career. Her favorite memory was her students’ reactions when her school announced that she was a finalist for the Elementary Science Award over the PA! Hearing them clap and cheer for her filled her with excitement and joy! She mentions that receiving this nomination has made all those late nights worthwhile.

Ms. Guzman is one of the six Houston Independent School District (HISD) teacher finalists of the 2020 alliantgroup HISD Elementary Science Teacher Award! This award was created to reward local teachers who, through innovative lesson plans that emphasize both the importance and fun aspects of science, are increasing student achievement and engagement.

Five of the finalists will receive a cash prize of $1,300 and $500 for their classroom and the grand prize winner will receive a cash prize of $3,500 and $500 to put toward improving their classroom! Good luck!