You might mistake her kindergarten class for first or second graders. Ms. Cari Huerta, from Overton Elementary, gets her kids reading like elementary students. She's this week's Teacher You Can Count On.
"Ready. We're doing the bean bag dance!" Cari Huerta cheers on her kindergarten class, waking them up with a little moving and shaking. Her kindergartners love dancing, but they may like reading even better.
"They're excited about reading," says Cari, a kindergarten teacher at Overton Elementary School. "We make reading like a privilege."
"If you always say 'E' the 'E' is always going to say 'I'. But if you say 'IE' it's going to say 'I'," explains Devon Fitzgerald, one of Cari's kids. It sounds like advanced stuff for a kindergartner like Devon. But with a teacher like Ms. Huerta, he has no problem handling it. "She helps people read, if they don't know what the word is called. If you forget, she helps you," says Devon.
"Some of them aren't developmentally ready but some are ready to do more and so that's why I do have advanced activities for others," says Cari. "A lot of times, if you don't challenge a child, they get bored or they become a discipline problem."
Brandi Blakeley is Cari's student teacher. "She makes it fun," says Brandi. "They do stuff that they're going to remember. Its' not just, 'Oh gosh, we have to go to school.' I mean, they're excited and she's excited. It's contagious."
Brandi has been impressed with Cari's teaching style. "We can read where a lot of older grades maybe are reading, we read really well," says Brandi.
"I want them to be the top of the class in first grade," says Cari. "I want them to be the role model for the other students."
"I love teaching. This is where I belong and I love it. I can't think of anything else that I'd want to do."
"Well, these kids are definitely going to remember their kindergarten teacher," says Brandi. "I don't remember mine, and that's sad, but these kids are definitely going to go away remembering her, remembering the things that they've learned and all the fun that they had."