Laurel Hill's Teacher of the Year lets kids' curiosity drive discussion

welsh TOTY teacher of the year Welsh Laurel Hill School LHS

Laurel Hill School fifth-grade teacher Deborah Welsh receives assignments from Charley Beck and Haylay Messer.

BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin
Published: Friday, May 17, 2013 at 03:36 PM.

Editor's Note: This is the ninth article in a series on north Okaloosa County Teachers of the Year.

LAUREL HILL — It was reading time in Deborah Welsh's fifth-grade classroom at Laurel Hill School. Her students had grabbed an assortment of chairs and arranged them in cozy literature circles.

The kids drive book discussions in their respective groups, Welsh said. On sunny days, they sometimes sit outside to read and dissect their books.

"They read a chapter and discuss it, and develop questions and answers," Welsh said. "Their questions guide the discussions."

Her job is to keep discussions on topic and answer questions that can't be settled in the group as kids plunge further into Helen Keller's "The Story of My Life," Marguerite Henry's "Misty of Chincoteague" and Lois Lowry's "Number of the Stars."

Resourceful students

Finding interesting material for her class' language arts, social studies, grammar and reading studies is sometimes challenging, Welsh said.

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