Active Classroom, Engaged Minds

Mar 02 2015 | 04:38 AM

    goldberg's lessons draw on everything from gardening to pop music

    by shannon geis

    it was sarah goldberg's 9th-grade history class that confirmed what she already knew: teaching was the career for her.

    "she just brought history to life," goldberg said of her high school teacher. "she was very hands-on and you could tell that she loved what she was teaching."

    goldberg, 28, grew up in halifax, nova scotia, and earned her bachelor's degree in education at mcgill university in montreal. she taught at a private school in toronto for three years before moving to new york when her husband got a job in the city. now in her second year teaching 5th-grade math and science at claremont preparatory school, goldberg says she loves using the city in her lessons. she recently took students to the aquarium to learn about sea animals and dissect squid.

    like her 9th-grade teacher, goldberg brings activities into the classroom when she can, having students garden, for example, when learning about plants. she says it helps make an intimidating subject like math or science more accessible.

    "a lot of kids come into my classroom really scared of math," she said. "i try to make it fun by incorporating songs and dances into my lessons."

    some of the students from her previous school still remember a few of the songs she used to sing to help with lessons.

    "i'm not afraid to laugh at myself and have fun. i like to incorporate songs that everyone knows," said goldberg, who admits to not having a great singing voice.

    the popular beyoncé song, "irreplaceable," is one she uses to help with math.

    "i use the song because the chorus goes, 'to the left, to the left,' which is exactly what they need to remember when doing division," she said.

    theatrics aside, it's the personal attention goldberg gives students that seems to make the biggest impact.

    "my son has felt that she believes in him, and accordingly has come to believe in himself and perform at a level never seen before," said beverly brown, the mother of a former student.

    goldberg says she can't imagine doing anything else professionally.

    "i was born to be a teacher," she said.

    coworkers have certainly noticed that dedication.

    "i feel like she has a sense beyond the classroom," said jane eisenstadt, head of the middle school at claremont prep. "she's an excellent listener and problem solver. she also understands multiple sides of every issue."

    always in touch with parents, goldberg confesses that some say she emails too much.

    "but i really believe that parents need to know what is going on with their children's education," she said, "and the best way for that to happen is for me to let them know."

    -- sarah goldberg 5th-grade math and science, claremont preparatory schoo