Marcie McBride marveled at what she called the “drastic changes” in teaching Social Studies since she began in the classroom 17 years ago. She said it is now like exploration, not just facts, or as she explained, “it’s definitely evolved.” Mrs. McBride’s students are fourth-graders between the ages of nine and ten. Social Studies at this level is the survey of American History up to World War II. It’s a period of history under a magnifying glass now.

Mrs. McBride encourages students to explore their thoughts and feelings conserving historical events. “I don’t give my opinion. I ask, “What kind of emotions do you feel?” she explained. She said she also tries to make the class fun to engage her students. “I create an environment where they feel loved and accepted. A safe place to explore multiple facets of historical events and share their perspectives,” she stated.

She also relies on optional stories at the end of her live sessions to drive home the points of the lesson. Mrs. McBride will use a picture book to help tie in what students learned. And then there’s her Kermit the Frog Puppet. It’s for when the lesson is really complicated. “Kermit will pop up and ask; Kermit doesn’t understand it. How about you?” she explained. “We need to have humor. We need to have fun. Just sitting through it is boring”, she laughed. Click here to see Kermit in action.

Mrs. McBride was influenced by history at a young age. She attended the 200-year-old Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau in St. Landry Parish. The main building houses the Shrine of St. John Berchmans, where Mary Wilson was miraculously cured by then Blessed John Berchmans. It is the only miracle recognized by the Catholic church in the United States. Nearby, the Battle of Bayou Bourbeaux was fought during the Civil War in 1863. Most importantly, Mrs. McBride said she liked her history teachers and wanted to be one.

She said the highlight of her teaching career is “When my students understand something.” Personally, she said it was getting a job at UVA. She described it as a special place and unique. Mrs. McBride noted the transition to UVA from a brick-and-mortar classroom was exciting. “I get to use my technology talent and integrate it into teaching,” she exclaimed. She praised fellow teachers who comprise her content and grade-level teams. “Everyone has their strength. We just compliment each other. We each have our niche and our space”, she added. “We have more time to work together, more time to devote to students as opposed to being at a brick-and-mortar school,” she offered.

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