Rodel Teacher Council Member Spotlight: Shani Benson

October 21st, 2015

Category: News, Student-Centered Learning


If you haven’t heard of Flocabulary yet, you should check them out immediately.

Rodel Teacher Council member Shani Benson first introduced me to Flocabulary–sort of a “Schoolhouse Rock!” for the modern era–when we rocked out to “Three Branches of Government” during a visit to Shani’s class at South Dover Elementary School last week. When the video came on during the class’s afternoon snack time, third graders jumped to their feet to start singing the lyrics and dancing to the music.

That vibe and high energy remained consistent during math time, when “Super Small Math Groups!” rotated through a variety of activities, based on their needs.


As you can see, some the activities ranged from computer practice, to group activities with teachers, to independent games, all tailored to students’ specific needs and interests. Students were engaged in their work and Shani and her co-teacher helped their groups to stay focused while facilitating activities specialized for each group. Teacher-led groups focused on creating tables and pictograms to organize data sets. The room hummed with lively activity, as students moved from station to station intent on finishing their work for the day.

But how did Shani and her co-teacher know which students to group together, and which activities each group needed to complete?

“I administered the STAR Math assessment and analyzed students’ results,” she said. “I then included other factors, such as classroom behavior and students who may or may not have provided a valid result on the test on the day it was administered. With the report, I am able to determine where the areas of weakness are. I can locate activities for those standards and target the areas to provide a well-rounded experience for the student to meet individual needs.”

Based on the focus and energy in the room, it’s clear that Shani and her co-teacher did a great job pinpointing exactly what each student needed that day, and how to deliver instruction to each individual.

Thanks to Shani and her students for welcoming me to South Dover Elementary School!

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Rachel Wiggans Chan