Fifth-grade teacher wins award

By Linda Long: PNT Correspondent

Becky Duran, a fifth-grade teacher at Valencia Elementary School, has received the Newspapers in Education Teacher of the Year Award.

She received the award last week.

Valencia Principal Michael Terry recommended Duran for the award.

“I recommended her in about February or March,” Terry said. ““Ms. Duran works with students learning English as a second language. It stresses the importance of students learning to both read and speak in English.

The award is given to a teacher who creatively uses newspapers in lesson plans.

“We have a bilingual classroom,” explained Duran. “Some speak English and some speak Spanish.

“We use the newspaper for different types of writing. As an example, we use the Kid’s Interview. Each week we search for vocabulary words, and then we teach those words in Spanish. We use the news all year long. The students take the newspapers hom and translate them into Spanish.”

She also uses newspapers to teach reading skills, including reading comprehension and word definitions.

Terry said Duran is caring, and has a patient approach to teaching.

“She teaches (in a way that is) fun,” student Wilfredo Exiga said. “I am learning a lot … both in English and Spanish.”

Duran explained that after a languard proficiency test she gives students, she discusses results with them. It is their choice whether to continue dual language education in sixth grade or be in a regular classroom.