Sue Pandiani, L.H.D, Teacher
Cape Cod, MA
Inspired by The North Star and an online collaboration with its author, Peter Reynolds, Milken Award-winning educator Sue Pandiani created the first North Star-inspired classroom in 1997. Located at Hoxie Elementary in Bourne, MA, Sue and her students, dubbed the North Star Navigators, incorporated The North Star's themes of self-discovery and appreciation of individuality into every facet of their learning experience... linking together each part of the curriculum to make it stronger and more meaningful.
As Sue states in The North Star Inspiration for the Classroom: A Teacher Resource Guide, which she co-authored with Peter Reynolds, "My students were called the North Star Navigators. The previous year's Navigators were called North Star Guides and they came back weekly to visit and serve as helpful mentors to the Navigators. The students have emerged as poets, thinkers, philosophers, artists - all fully aware of their unique learning voyages ahead of them. They are truly excited about learning missions and helping others on their own voyages as well."
Not letting any learning opportunity for her students slip by, Sue utilizes every resource available to her, from parents to the internet to community mentors to her students' own creative imagination, truly giving her students the opportunity to explore their own learning styles, their own strengths, their own interests, their own aspirations — as they discover their own paths, and chart their own courses for the future.
One resource that made the collaboration between Sue, Peter, and her students possible was technology. Sue explains in the Resource Guide, "Technology is an important tool - one that I could not live without. While it is crucial to my method of teaching, it is not center stage. It assists great teaching and great learning. It is woven in appropriately. Technology is used to help make my job easier and to provide the spark to get the Navigators excited about discovery and expression."
Whether her students are writing and illustrating their own books, publishing creative writing on their classroom website, or taking part in an exciting hands-on science lesson, Sue's classroom has always been full of rich learning experiences that will not only help her students reach their true potential, but inspire them to be true life-long learners. FableVision salutes this innovative and visionary teacher on her wonderful work!