This month, The Slice profiles LPIE instructor Kathy Biro, who has been teaching LPIE science for the past several years and recently began teaching Kindergarten Social Studies.
What do you do for LPIE and how long have you been doing it?
I have had the pleasure of teaching Science for LPIE for the past 12 years and was lucky enough to be asked to also teach Kindergarten Social Studies unit on Native Americans for the past three years.
Tell us a little bit about your background in this area.
I was born and raised in Lafayette and am a product of the Lafayette School District. I went on to Saint Mary’s college to get my BA in Diversified Liberal Arts and followed by earning my Multiple Subject teaching credential.
I was a first grade teacher in the Mount Diablo School District until I had kids of my own and then I was lucky enough to be able to stay home and be there for my three children, all of whom attended Springhill, Stanley and Acalanes High School. I thoroughly enjoyed volunteering in the schools but when my oldest son was at Stanley, I was approached by Colleen McCormick, who was the LASF (now LPIE) science chair, about returning to the classroom in a different capacity. I jumped at the opportunity to return to the classroom teaching the students LPIE science.
What is your favorite thing about teaching the age group that you work with?
Since I am lucky enough to have the chance to teach children from Transitional Kindergarten (TK) all the way up to fifth grade I can say my days are never boring! One day I might be teaching a class on Balance to 3rd graders in one school and the next I may be teaching a class on the Chinese New Year to 5 year olds in a different school! I absolutely love seeing them get excited about science! I can still recall what a dismal science program we had back when I was in elementary school. Most of our learning was out of a textbook and the only hands on lesson I can recall was in 6th grade when we planted a classroom terrarium and observed the changes to the environment after we added crickets. It has also been a joy to watch the kindergarteners’ faces light up when they realize that they have touched an authentic animal skin or arrowhead during one of their Native American classes.
What is the most surprising thing about your students?
One of the most surprising things about teaching both science and social studies to the children of the Lafayette School District is that they are both extremely excited and appreciative of the lessons that I bring to them. They also continually surprise me by some of the things they say; they just say it like it is!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
During my free time you can often find me hiking and photographing with my husband and two Australian Shepherds in the beautiful hills of Briones.