Primary Science Teacher Holly Hilberg

Years at the Academy: 12

Degrees: B.S., Miami University; M.A.T., University of Pittsburgh

Why did you choose to teach at Sewickley Academy?

Before I had my elementary education degree, I worked as an assistant Pre-K teacher here. I fell in love with our school back then – the warm environment, supportive families and professional colleagues were what inspired me to go back to school to earn my degree. Once my degree and master’s program were complete, I was thrilled to come back to teach.

What are your favorite moments with students?

They are the unplanned, informal moments, such as helping a child overcome sadness or sharing a moment with an enthusiastic student who cannot wait to tell you about his or her new puppy.

What is the most important life lesson you want your students to learn?

I’d like my students to become confident learners who are willing to take risks and learn from their mistakes. I want to teach them how perfectionism can impede learning and that taking risks and having new experiences lead to learning.

How do you apply the latest learning research in your class?

Students create meaning and retain learning best when they are actively engaged and thinking about concepts. In my class, students are given real problems to solve such as, “Can you build a boat which will float and hold 20 grams of mass?” I then ask them to formulate a hypothesis, conduct an investigation, and then compare the result with their original hypothesis. Scientific concepts are developed as students explore materials and their various properties. Each student contributes unique ideas and is encouraged to display his/her learning in a method which matches his/her learning style. For instance, after Grade 3 students learn about weather, I have them select from a variety of research topics for an oral report. For some students this might involve delivering a weather forecast in the role of a meteorologist, while other students might choose to create a cloud classification chart to share with the class.
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Sewickley Academy is a nationally recognized Pittsburgh private school enrolling students in Pre-K through Grade 12 on a single campus.