Chastity Berrios Hernández strives every day to make her bilingual classroom peaceful and welcoming for her students, many of whom come from single-parent, low-income households. She also promotes social and emotional learning while teaching the three R’s to her students who face personal and academic challenges.
We honored Ms. Berrios as an Alma Exley Scholar in 2017 when she was a student at Fairfield University. Since then, she has been teaching in bilingual, Spanish/English classrooms at Clinton Avenue School in New Haven.
Wish List on Amazon
Looking ahead to the new school year, she has established a wish list on Amazon to collect books and materials to help create a positive learning environment in her fourth-grade classroom. Click here to view the wish list.
“These books and materials will have a direct impact on my students in meaningful ways,” she said. “They will help to make the classroom feel welcoming–like a second home to them.
These resources are intended to help the students with social and emotional learning. Click here to read an article about social and emotional learning.
Life-Long Coping Skills
The materials are intended to help students to develop life-long coping skills and learn how to resolve conflict peacefully. They also will help them to overcome the barriers they face in learning a second language. Some of the items are for small-group instruction for both English and Spanish.
“The books listed are to add to our growing bilingual library,” Ms. Berrios said. “I am creating a book corner, a calming corner to enhance those times when we all need a small break.
“My practice in the classroom is always to get the students engaged in a hands-on manner. They are starting to see where they could be change-makers in all aspects of their lives. This past school year we talked a lot about the environment, animals, and the economy using the program called Panorama. This encouraged the students to start an initiative to pick up all the trash around the school twice a week.
“I often talk to my students about my personal life story and how I decided to become a teacher,” Ms. Berrios said. “I had only one teacher of color in my public-school career. She made such a difference in my life, and that’s when I realized that students need a teacher like me.
“I’m sending heartfelt thanks to all who consider getting involved to make a difference for our students,” she said. “No amount is too small, and all will be appreciated.”
- Woody Exley