January Graider of the Month: Morgan Havel

 "You have to make sure you really figure out what the student is saying, and how that relates to the rubric and the norm. It’s really about breaking down what they are thinking."

"You have to make sure you really figure out what the student is saying, and how that relates to the rubric and the norm. It’s really about breaking down what they are thinking."

We are pleased to introduce our latest Graider of the Month, Morgan Havel. Morgan is a senior at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, majoring in special education with a concentration in mathematics. She has been a standout performer at The Graide Network across several science and computer science courses.

Through her work on the Exploring Computer Science (ECS) course, Morgan is helping introduce computer science to thousands of students in Chicago Public Schools (read more here). Morgan is consistently one of the most accurate scorers of the ECS benchmark assessments and serves as a reliable source of norming and calibration for other Graiders. In grading, Morgan has learned just how differently different students think about the same problems. 

Morgan’s goal is to teach in middle or high school. While she has really enjoyed every student teaching placement she has had, her ideal job would be either a math placement for special education, either in a co-teaching or self-contained structure, or teach in functionalized skills classroom. Morgan realized she wanted to teach special education students when she was still a high school student herself.

At my high school, we had great program for special education that was very inclusive. It involved general education students, sports, and clubs. I found a passion in working with those students and helping them develop different skills. 

When she becomes a teacher, Morgan aims to leverage interactive lessons to keep learning fresh and avoid falling into too much routine. 

“Interactive lessons make a huge difference in making content meaningful for students instead of just lecturing. You can fall into patterns, but even switching up the way of presenting information to students can keep them motivated to learn.”

Morgan is already starting to do just that in her student teaching placement. In a recent unit on the Olympics, students first learned about sports, the process of competing, the different countries, and what their flags mean. To incorporate the concepts of measuring, creating, and processing steps, Morgan’s class then make cookies in the shape and color of the Olympic rings. They discussed the meaning of each color and how they related to the participating countries. 

In addition to her coursework, student teaching, and working as a Graider, Morgan also stays busy performing with the Illini N Motion dance team at basketball and volleyball games.

Congratulations, Morgan. We can’t wait to see your impact on students continue to grow as you begin your teaching career!