Mrs. Larkin's Favorites:
Vacation Spots: Mexico, Florida, California, Jamaica
Colleges: Michigan State University, WMU
Sports: baseball and golf
Foods: Bilbo's pizza, Nachos, salad
Drink: Diet Coke, Sparkling Ice drinks
Holiday: Halloween- I LOVE this holiday!
T.V. Shows: Modern Family, The Goldbergs
Children's Author: Mercer Mayer
Snacks: fruit, cheese & crackers
Movies: Steel Magnolias, Rudy, Indiana Jones, and scary movies like the Conjuring and Halloween
Hello, I'm Linda Larkin. I'm so glad to be your child's First Grade teacher! Here's a little background about me.....
I was born and raised in the Kalamazoo area, attending Portage schools throughout my childhood. I graduated from Portage Northern High School where I played both varsity basketball and softball. I was also active in the ski club and many summer jobs working with children. After high school, I made the journey to East Lansing to earn my Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education at Michigan State. I attended every home football game and had the opportunity to travel to Pasadena to cheer on the Spartans as they beat USC in the 1988 Rose Bowl. Needless to say, I'm still a huge State fan!
Western Michigan University is also my alma matter(my parents, brother, and husband were WMU Broncos and now my son is attending). There I earned my Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education. My husband and I built a home in Lawton where we lived for several years, and now we reside on the west side of Kalamazoo with our children. My son, Jacob, is currently in the Business program at WMU and plays intramural hockey. My daughter, Olivia, is a Senior this year and dances on the Dance Zone's competitive team. Her favorite type of dances are contemporary and hip hop. We love to travel as a family, and some of our favorite trips have been cruises to the Caribbean and Mexico (I enjoy teaching some Spanish) and excursions to Breckenridge, Colorado and Hollywood, California. The fifth member of our household is Snowball, our Bichon-Pomeranian dog. Your children will hear lots of stories about Snowball this year, he's my little white, fluffy ball of energy!
My teaching background and philosophies.......
I have been an early childhood educator for 24 years. I began my career in the Bangor School system where I taught both Young Fives and Kindergarten. This year marks my fourteenth year teaching First Grade in Mattawan. I love being a Mattawan Wildcat! When my son started Kindergarten here, I knew it was the place I wanted to be. What a great community Mattawan is. I really enjoy attending Homecoming activities in the fall, watching sporting events, and seeing my students perform in musicals, sports, and dance!
In my First Grade classroom at the EES, I provide a safe, comfortable, challenging, and exciting environment for kids to learn and grow. Since I have a Master's Degree in Early Childhood, my teaching philosophies center around developmentally appropriate practices and child-centered teaching and learning. Creativity, choices, and play are very important for young learners. I took a Master's Degree class at WMU with it's entire focus on the importance of Play for elementary aged children! Students will definitely be challenged academically but will also have lots of fun so that they are motivated to come to school each day. In the early grades, a love of school and learning is one of my priorities. We practice the Lifeskills of teamwork, perseverance, and friendship daily. Reading is such an important part of First Grade; your child will read independently and be read to by me every day and have many opportunities to read Take-Home books and participate in literacy activities each day. Our school uses the Lucy Calkin's Writer's Workshop Program and we are piloting the Lucy Calkin's Reader's Workshop this school year. I serve on our school's Math Curriculum Team so I am always trying out the newest, cutting-edge teaching strategies for problem solving, number sense, and mathematical fluency. Students have many opportunities to incorporate technology into their learning. We have 10 iPads in our classroom that students use daily for math, spelling, writing, reading, and special projects.Last year, I was awarded a grant from the Mattawan Public Education Foundation for my Full STEAM Ahead- Innovation Stations in First Grade project. I purchased many materials for the classroom such as Lego We-Do kits, Tinker Toys, Robot kits, K'Nex, and Snap Circuits. Using these materials and many others, your children will have the opportunity to combine Science, Technology, the Arts, Engineering, and Mathematics while participating in STEAM Stations. The innovation, motivation, and creativity is amazing to see in children given these opportunities to work together to plan and build just like an engineer. For more information on STEAM, check out these books: STEAM makers by Jacie Maslyk and From STEM to STEAM by David Sousa and Tom Pilecki.
I hope that you will be able to visit our classroom often this year. Parents are Partners in education so communication is very important to me. You'll be able to check my web page for information throughout the year to keep you informed and connected. I also like to send out class e-mails often so that I can get information to you in a timely manner. Please contact me at 668-3361 ext. 1620 with any questions or concerns. I look forward to a great year of learning!
Mrs. Linda Larkin