Mrs. Laura Laurent
has her B.S. in Elementary Education from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) in San Marcos. She has six years of prior experience, and has been with the Academy since 2001. In her spare time she enjoys hunting for fashion bargains, rooting for her favorite sports teams (Cowboys, Longhorns, Stars and Bearcats!), and an annual trip to Port Aransas with her family.
For Mrs. Laura Laurent, first grade is a magical time. “I love the way they gasp when you surprise them,” she says, “and the way they think you’ve got eyes in the back of your head—that you are magic.” She jokes that first grade was a “natural choice” for her “because my students are all shorter than I am!” However, she came to the Academy “by accident.” Mrs. Laurent had planned to return to the classroom after her twins went to kindergarten, but found herself planning to return several years sooner. She smiles, “This was back before jobs were on the internet.” She saw the Academy advertisement in the newspaper around Thanksgiving, and found out that the previous first grade teacher’s family was being transferred mid-year. Mrs. Laurent felt that “it was a sign.”
She particularly enjoys directing her students’ study around a theme. With The Magic Treehouse, she says “even though it’s first grade, we can go way above grade level in our research and understanding of the topics that we read about.” She beams, “It’s one of the great things about the Academy; I don’t have to go by a teachers’ manual or someone else’s plan. I can take my students anywhere we decide to go.” She continues, “Whatever the topic is that week, we can fully explore it, for example, Australia or Native Americans.” Each Friday, the topic is discussed on a personal level through show and tell. “It’s a real eye opener, what they discover and share with us about themselves and their families.”
Technology, she emphasizes, makes most of what her class does possible. “Students can send me videos or pictures they’ve found and I can pull them up for everyone to see.” “The Projector,” she adds, “is so big to them that it’s almost like a movie. You put a math problem up there and they get so excited.” Mrs. Laurent also loves to “bring in real life experiences” any time that she can. “During our study of Native Americans, they asked me what a rain dance was, so we looked it up and were able to watch a video of an actual rain dance right then. That’s just not possible everywhere.” Mrs. Laurent adds that the iPads are yet another way to allow her students to explore either with her guidance, with classmates, or even independently. We look forward to many more years of Mrs. Laurent surprising and delighting her students.