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Kelli Smith

Kelli Smith

I have the joy of hanging out with kids every day. I've been teaching since 1997, and have taught 2nd, 3rd, and 4th and a few years in 8th. I started out my career in Missouri where I earned my Education Bachelor's and my Master's, but returned to my hometown and have taught the majority of my career there. I did take a couple of years off while my kids were babies - and I can't believe they are both in middle school now (and I count them as one of the most effective members of my Personal Learning Network!). My path to education was a winding road - I actually graduated with a degree in Geoenvironmental Studies before moving to Missouri and becoming a teacher.

In addition to teaching my 8 year olds - I love being a mentor teaching to both pre-service student teachers in my classroom and as a grade level Master Teacher for district new hires. I'm an avid STEM advocate and am invigorated by some of the ways education is moving - with integrated PBL and more authentic learning. It's how I love to teach! I am also working on crossing the line from just being ed tech aware, to being a full fledged ed tech geek. I began blogging after going to an EdCamp as a way to hold myself accountable for my next stage in evolving as a teacher.

At home, my family enjoys camping. My daughter is avid equestrian and my son a dedicated Boy Scouter. This summer we traveled to Colorado and South Dakota in a Jeep pulling a pop-up. It was an adventure, and we can't wait for the next one!

Posted by on in Miscellaneous


A couple of years ago my husband and I took a 20th Anniversary trip.  The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone have always been on our bucket list so we decided to go to out west.

I remember reading about the Tetons and the elevation of Grand Teton .... an elevation of 13,776 feet.  Almost 2 miles.  What makes the Tetons particularly awe-inspiring is the landscape next to it.  They are at at the edge of a flat valley which allows for the stunning views.  You can step back and appreciate them in full.  And there is no gentle slope up or foothills - it's a fault-block mountain so - BAM there they are!  Imagine how you drew a mountain as a kid - those triangles popping up out of the grass.  That's what the Grand Tetons looked like.  It is truly the most beautiful place I've ever been, and I'm a bit obsessed now.

We've camped in West Virginia where we climbed Spruce Knob, which is (for this area) a healthy 4,863 feet.  We've been to the Smoky Mountains several times and hiked to the top Clingman's Dome at 6,643 feet - tallest peak of the Smokies.   I could not wait to see what 13,776 looked like!

But when we got there, I was surprised.  Please don't take this for disappointment - but 13,776 didn't look nearly as "tall" as I had imagined.  And that's when it struck me - I hadn't considered the prominence of a mountain.

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Posted by on in Teaching with Rigor


Last night I started catching up on some time with some friends of mine - namely the doctors on Grey's Anatomy.  I don't watch it to be intellectually challenged or to be inspired or to do anything but to escape for a bit - but one episode really made me reflect on my teaching.  Imagine that?

In the episode a doctor (Dr. Amelia Shepherd) is planning a groundbreaking surgery on another character (Dr. Herman) to remove a massive brain tumor that no one but her believes is possible to remove.  And throughout the episode she is delivering a is delivering a lecture series about the upcoming procedure.

And the passion, the eloquence, the connection she had to her topic - for that hour - made me want to learn about neurosurgery.  Made me believe I could!  Made me interested in something I never had thought about being interested in or thought I could be interested in.  Made the impossible sound possible - simply because she believed it so.  

And I know it's TV, but I thought "Wow!" "If for even 10 minutes a day I could teach like that, what couldn't I do with my kids."

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