Maker Spotlight: Elementary School Teacher Rachel Horstman
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Minnesota and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico about 3 years ago. I’m an Elementary School Teacher, focusing on the primary grades. I’ve always had a love for the outdoors and traveling, but being in New Mexico has amplified that passion. When not teaching you can find me hiking, camping, hanging out with my dogs, or planning my next trip.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I am not a morning person, but don’t have much of a choice with my job. I drink as much coffee as humanly possible before the day starts (no time for coffee while the kids are there). School starts at 7:50, and the day is a whirlwind until 2:00 when they all leave. Our day is structured to have movement or a change in activity, every 20 minutes. I always have to be on my toes and ready to make changes throughout the day. Many days, I have meetings to run to during my prep. Any planning I do, happens after the school day. When it’s all said and done, I crash.
Walk us through your workspace, AKA classroom.
My classroom is set up for students to collaborate. They always work as a team and I provide various spaces for them to do that. We have a class meeting space, a reading nook, a small group teaching table, and student work tables. We are moving constantly — so I love organization. Everything has to have a place. I keep my computer at my desk, and my iPad moves with me throughout the day.
How do you use Luna in the classroom?
Luna Display has been a game-changer in my classroom. I primarily use it while I’m teaching small groups to access my computer. It allows for more flexibility while I’m teaching because I can access tools without interrupting my lesson. I also do most of my planning on the computer because a lot of the curriculum we use is available online. When I’m planning, I set up my plan book on one screen and the curriculum standards on the other.
What do you do to stay productive?
Luna helps me stay productive during the day because I can easily access files from my computer as I walk around the room, meaning I can make the most out of the spare minute or two I get during the day. I no longer have to lug home a bunch of heavy curriculum books because it can all be done online. Oh, and having my mouse work with my iPad = amazing. Outside of Luna, I’m a Bullet Journal person. Every time a task pops into my head, I add it to my ongoing list. At the end of the day, I use my Bullet Journal to make a plan and prioritize my list.
What other apps and tools do you use to manage your workflow?
What podcasts are you listening to?
Anything by Gimlet — I love Reply All. Lately, I’ve been into Hidden Brain by NPR, Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell and Armchair Expert by Dax Shepard. Oh, and Song Exploder is always great for a quick episode.
What’s the best part about being a teacher?
I get to be creative in a lot of ways. I can tell stories, make hands-on activities, create posters, and make anything into a game. Making learning exciting helps my students find what they are passionate about. I get to teach them how to be learners and explore any avenue they decide to take.
Rachel’s dogs Luna and Izzy.
What’s the hardest part about being a teacher?
There’s a lot to manage in the job. The kids become my family and I look out for each of them socially and emotionally in addition to teaching them all content areas. Add in meetings, committees and professional development and your head starts to spin.
And finally, what Instagram accounts are you obsessed with?
There’s a huge teacher presence on Instagram. Here are a few that I love: @asmilingteacher, @wildthingslearn, @sparkinginsecondgrade, and @upperelementaryadventures. I also follow the hashtag #bulletjournal for new inspirations for journaling.