LEGO® Education Master Educator Spotlight - Mindy Bisset
Name: Mindy Bissett
Title/School: Gifted and Talented Facilitator, Seventh Street Elementary, North Little Rock, AR
Years of Experience: 10
Primary LE Solution used: WeDo 2.0
1. What would you say is your philosophy as an educator?
My philosophy is to educate the whole child. I want them to know that I am here for them and if they need to talk to me about anything, they can. I believe you must build relationships with kids. You must love and nurture them to help them grow and thrive as learners. I also believe that you must set high expectations for kids. In my room we work hard and make things happen.
2. What is the greatest benefit of a hands on approach to learning?
The greatest benefit of a hands-on approach is the application of learning. When kids get to use their hands, they are learning by doing. They are engaged in what they are learning. They are learning how to solve problems and asking questions as they go to help guide them through the learning process. With younger students they are building their fine motor skills and strengthening the muscles in their hands in addition to learning how to solve problems.
3. What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?
My favorite thing about being a teacher is seeing kids get excited when they learn something new. In my position I get to teach what I want to, so my students love me and love coming to see what exciting learning awaits them our classroom. My other favorite thing is teaching enrichment to Kindergarten and 1st graders. When I walk in the room, they all start cheering because they know that we are going to do something hands on and fun.
4. What is one of your proudest moments in the classroom?
One of my proudest moments was this year when my 5th grade students won 1st place in the business plan category in the Young Entrepreneurship Showcase (Y.E.S. for Arkansas Business Plan Challenge). They worked very hard to earn that title. They stayed after school every day to work on this contest. They were the Bottle Cap Beauties with their CAPtivating Creations. Their idea was to turn bottle caps and lids of all kinds into magnets, keychains, and jewelry. They submitted a 10-page business plan. What makes this extra special is I have taught this group of girls since they were in the 1st grade. It just amazes me at what kids can do with the right guidance and support.
5. What advice would you give teachers new to teaching STEAM with LEGO® Education?
Make sure you are clear on your expectations and procedures. This is crucial. Do not assume students will just know what to do. You will be a better teacher with LEGO Education products if you practice and go over procedures and routines with them first.
6. Failure is key aspect of the learning process. What's the most important lesson you've learned through failing?
The most important lesson I have learned through failing is to never give up. Keep trying and through failing you will find success. I remember transferring to another state while in college and losing a semester’s worth of college credits. It was a giant blow, but I never gave up because I wanted to graduate from college. There was not anything that was going to stop me. I was first one in my family to graduate from college. Failing is messy and can be frustrating at times, but you have to go through that process to learn and grow.
7. What are some of your favorite activities/hobbies to do at home?
Our newest adventure is our garden plot. It’s a 50 ft X 50 ft space. We are growing all kinds of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. We are learning so much about growing plants. We love to play games, one of our favorites is Monopoly. We have a projector and movie screen and setup it up on our back deck and watch movies on it. It takes movie watching to a whole new level.
8. Favorite movie or book?
One of my favorite books is Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. I love books that tell the other side of the story. When I was in junior high my friends and I wrote our own versions of Twisted Tales. My current favorite book is called Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart. There are some dangerous plants out there that I did not know about until reading this book. It is fascinating to learn about these plants and how they were used throughout history.
9. First musical album you ever owned?
I remember getting a record/tape player for Christmas one year and my first album on tape was Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven on Earth. I also got a record with my record/tape player. It was Queen’s hit song “Another One Bites the Dust.” I was fascinated by how the record player worked. I would play “Another One Bites the Dust” repeatedly and watch the record player work, and of course jam out to that amazing song!
10. Were you a LEGO Fan as a kid? What’s your LEGO Story?
I was a LEGO kid. I did not have any LEGO at my house, but my grandma did. My mom didn’t like them because she didn’t want to step on them. I remember going to my grandma’s house and letting my imagination go wild. I never had the fancy sets to build with. I had base plates and a big box of LEGO to create what ever I could think of. My cousins and I would sit, create and play.