Dec 21, 2020
“I noticed students that struggled in the classroom and thought to myself, ‘there must be a better way to educate these students,’” said Upper School teacher, Molly Schmeidler. Schmeidler spent 4 years teaching at the Kauffman School before coming to Horizon Academy as an attendee of the Orton-Gillingham and Multisensory Math training. “I love working at Horizon Academy because I can teach students with learning disabilities while still leading the whole classroom,” she said.
The educational practices implemented at Horizon Academy teach students in the way they learn best. “At Horizon Academy, we go beyond teaching certain subject matter or curriculum,” she said, “we teach strategies so they know how to learn.”
One of the focuses in Ms. Schmeidler’s classroom is learning how to set and achieve long-term goals. She uses a ball pit as an example. The ball pit in its entirety symbolizes an academic goal. Each ball thrown into the pit represents smaller academic achievements. Eventually, the ball pit will fill up, creating a visual of how much the class has accomplished over the course of the school year. This visual also helps students realize how much work goes into completing long term goals.
Schmeidler is excited to help her students understand new concepts. “This year I am working on how to build and understand the structure of a paragraph with my students. It is exciting to see them read and write passages that would have been a source of anxiety for them in the past,” she stated.
School anxiety is something many students struggle with at Horizon Academy. This can be brought on by past experiences and is common for children with language-based learning disabilities. Schmeidler is dedicated to working through anxiety with her class of 7th and 8th graders. “I want them to know that what they’re feeling isn't bad,” she said. Schmeidler has been practicing mindfulness with her class to help students identify their anxiety. Students even use hand signals to convey that they are feeling uncomfortable. “If students feel they can be sincere with me and their classmates, that's when they are in the right spot for learning,” she said.
Ms. Schmeidler’s classroom is a supportive and encouraging atmosphere where quality learning can take place. “It is important to me that my kids feel safe so that they can build a community, feel confident enough to take chances, and grow into successful learners,” she said. Molly Schmeidler has fulfilled her goal of finding a better way to educate students.