Panama City - This week's Golden Apple award winner teaches second grade at Oakland Terrace Elementary School. Cindy Been is a dynamo in the classroom, in fact she's known at school as the "Green "Been" Teaching Machine."
"What do I mean by non-fiction, what does that mean?" Ms. Been asks her students. Ms. Been calls her room a "working classroom" a place where she wants her students voices heard above her own. Today they are learning about narrative and expository writing in a way she knows fosters critical thinking. A skill her hero Einstein had mastered. "I love teaching, its not just about reading and writing, its about teaching children to think, to question," says Ms. Been.
Everyday there is an inspiring message in clear view. "Courage is a virtue: everything in life requires courage no one is born with courage it's something that you don't only discover, you practice, like your muscles and courage has to be exercised. I challenge the children, how are you going to exercise your courage this week?"
It's not just encouragement Ms. Been offers, she also takes care of her students' needs, working with a group she calls her "angels in disguise" to help provide glasses for 3 of her students. "They can't learn or do their best if they don't have what they need. None of us can. I don't think I did anything extraordinary." But her students know she's something special. "How would you describe her?" asked Meredith. "Fun, fantastic, really nice," said Joshua Fine. "She is creative. She is fun," said Brooklynn Williams. "When she reads books sometimes she tries to bring us into the book," said Avery Costa.
Congratulations to Ms. Been, this week's Golden Apple award winning teacher.