Teacher Feature: Brigitta Kral, H.D. Woodson Senior STEM High School

Brigitta Kral began her teaching career as a middle school language arts teacher before moving to Prague, Czech Republic to teach adult English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and mentor less experienced teachers. Upon her return to the United States, she transitioned to the high school level and has taught students in grades 10 through 12 ever since. Brigitta is in her 10th year of teaching and her fifth year of teaching English at H.D. Woodson Senior STEM High School in Northeast DC, where she is also the co-sponsor of the student Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA). Brigitta is a recent addition to our Teacher Leader Team (TLT), where she will be working with the Senior Challenge Academy to help guide seniors from across the district transform their essays into compelling presentations, which will be evaluated by a panel of judges in competition for scholarships. We recently connected with her to learn more about her teaching and how she uses the One World Program.


How long have you been using the One World Education Program?

I first used the One World Program three years ago, but did not use it again until this school year. The program evolved over that time to incorporate more resources for both students and teachers (including the Research Portal), more robust student exemplars, and an introduction to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) vocabulary for to argumentative writing. Having the One World Program curriculum contained in one journal helps students keep their work organized, tracks their progress - from learning key vocabulary to writing their essays, and presents the big picture of what they are being asked to do.

What is  your favorite part of the OWEd Program?

Similar to the cohesive organization of the student journals, I love that teachers also have a curriculum guide that provides full lesson plans covering everything from the CCSS addressed in the One World Program to the objectives for specific activities, which teachers can follow directly or modify to meet the needs of individual students. I also find the scaffolded version of the outline provided in the appendix of the student journal to be particularly useful for my students, as it walks them through the specific requirements for each paragraph of the essay.

How are your students reacting to the One World Program? Have you had any surprises? Have you had any challenges?  

This year, my students enjoyed choosing the topic for their argumentative research essay and have done well understanding the different parts of an essay, including the claim, data, warrant, counterclaim, and rebuttal. Many struggled with the research aspect of the project, largely due to not wanting to read source material to select the most relevant information and instead trying to skim through information. Interestingly, students who have been most successful with their research are those  who had previously been underachieving. In turn, some of my highest achievers were the most reticent about completing their research. I think the difference may in part be credited  to the topics students chose and how engaging they viewed these topics to be. In terms of the scaffolded outline, students with the deepest research naturally had an easier time working through the outline than those who fell behind on their research.

Join us on Wednesday, April 12 at the historic Howard Theatre for our 2017 College & Career Senior Challenge and 10th Anniversary One World Celebration, where some of Brigitta’s students will be presenting their essays! Register here!

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