An Interview with Kindergarten Teacher Ben Cogswell

We took a field trip to visit Ben Cogswell, a Kindergarten teacher in California. He shared what’s on his mind this year as he gets ready for back to school!

Pick one word that is your focus or intention this school year.

Kindergarten Student Using Seesaw

Ben: “Independence”

What is your favorite activity to build classroom community during the first week of school?

Ben: “Morning greeting! We do this all year long. We put the students’ names on a random name selector. One name at a time comes up. The person stands up and everyone waves and says good morning to each person.”

What is your favorite “teacher hack” or “tip”?

Ben: “I love to use a wireless keyboard and mouse because I can teach from anywhere in the classroom. I don’t have to be stuck to the front of the room.”

What is a classroom challenge you’ve conquered that you are most proud of?

Ben: “Blended learning. I love using hands on (analog) and digital tools to engage students in their learning. Students can excel when they have multiple ways and opportunities to demonstrate their learning.”

Kindergarten Teacher working with Students

If you were able to have an unlimited amount of something for your classroom, what would it be and why?

Ben: “Cardstock. It comes in handy for so many different teacher created activities, student crafts, signs, posters, and more.”

What are your tips to build relationships with families at the start of the school year?

Ben: “Get them connected with Seesaw right away. Start sending home pictures, videos, and notes. Let parents know that you are accessible and communicate regularly.” 

What is your favorite quote of all time?

Ben: “I love this quote from Kung Fu Panda, ‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift… that is why it is called the present’”

Share one Seesaw goosebumps moment. Was there a time learning was captured on Seesaw that gave you goosebumps?Interactive lesson on Seesaw

Ben: “It’s the random videos, pictures, or recordings that students post on Seesaw. Like when they send a special message to you, or share a little bit about their lives at home. You really get to connect with students on a deeper level.”

What is the best compliment you could get from a student or a parent?

Ben: “I didn’t know technology could be used to help increase students learning so much.”

Share a notable teaching moment that you still think about today.

Ben: “Anytime a student discovers that they can read. You can see the light bulb go off in their head. It is amazing!”

What is the best advice someone ever gave you?

Ben: “K.I.S.S. Keep it Simple, Stupid. The last word is not my favorite, but oftentimes we over complicate things. This principle is good for so many aspects of life and teaching.”

What would your students be surprised to find out about you?Blended Learning Kindergarten Example

Ben: “That I love to eat spicy food.”

What song do you know all the lyrics to?

If participants take away one thing from your #Connect2023 session, what would you want it to be?

Ben: “Understanding how simple, but powerful Seesaw can be to enhance student learning.”

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