Mrs. Seagraves' Page


Well kids, this is your opportunity to learn a little bit about me.  This is my 27th year teaching school, and my 16th year at Dannelly School QUEST Enrichment Center as a QUEST (G/T Program) teacher.  I love teaching and learning to do new things.   This is my very first web page, and it has been exciting to learn how to make a web page and to show it to all of you.  I enjoy gardening, listening to piano music (Jim Brickman and my son are my two favorites), reading, making scrapbooks, and of course, working on my computer.

I graduated from Huntingdon College in 1975 with a degree in Elementary Education.  I even did my student teaching at Dannelly.  In 1979, the Montgomery school system started a program for gifted students called QUEST, and I was asked to teach in that program.  So, during the summers and weekends I attended The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and graduated with a Masters Degree in Gifted Education in 1981.  I am the only one of the original group of teachers of the gifted who is still teaching in Montgomery!  

I have been teaching at Dannelly since 1987, and they have certainly been busy years!  I wrote grants and coordinated the creation of the Environmental Center. That project won the "Best Environmental Education School Project" for the state of Alabama in 1997.  I received my certification as a National Board Certified Teacher as a Middle Childhood Generalist in 2002.


I have two wonderful children. My son is 19.He enjoys music and working on his car.  



My daughter is 1 and is a eleventh grader at Trinity Presbyterian School.  She loves to make scrapbooks, get on the computer, listen to music, go shopping, and talk on the telephone.  


My Teaching Philosophy

Children have great curiosity about their world.  As a teacher of gifted and talented children in grades K-6, I embrace the opportunity to nurture that curiosity in each of my students.  When a child enters my classroom, I want them to experience a sense of wonder, to be filled with questions and curiosity, and I want to instill in them a desire to discover the answers to those questions.

            I believe my students can reach outstanding heights in fulfilling their potential when the parents, student, classroom teacher and I work together as a team.   Communication is the key to the success of that team.  I send home welcome letters detailing the important information regarding unit of study such as subject matter and activities at the beginning of each semester.  I have created a web site that contains my weekly lesson plans, student links pertaining to our unit of study, photographs of classroom activities, and examples of student work. This site is a valuable tool in keeping parents and other teachers informed about our classroom.  I host a parent open house at the beginning of the year and at the conclusion of a unit in addition to a yearly Gifted Education Plan conference.  At the GEP conference, parents and I share information about the students’ interests, clubs, activities, strengths, and areas of weakness.  This information helps me to gear instructional activities toward the individual needs and interests of my students. 

Communication with the regular classroom teacher is essential.  I have conducted workshops for the faculty on strategies for teaching the gifted child in the regular classroom, and often work with the classroom teacher on developing accelerated and enrichment activities for my students in their classrooms.

Since the physical environment of the classroom is the students’ first encounter with my class, I try to make my classroom as physically stimulating as possible.  For my “Under the Sea” class on marine biology, I  painted the walls blue, and lined a wall of windows with ocean themed shower curtains to give the students the feeling of actually being transported “Under the Sea” upon entering the room.  Everything in the classroom is accessible to the students. I  included beach discovery boxes and shelves of preserved specimens to encourage students to touch and examine.  Books about sea life abound to encourage reading and research, sea life puppets fill a trunk for imaginative explorations, and numerous computers are available for Internet research and the creation of multimedia presentations.  I allow students to gently handle and examine the marine invertebrates in the classroom aquarium.  The message is immediately conveyed to the children that this is a student-centered classroom.

The curriculum that I have created for my classes consists of thematic units integrating all subject areas and emphasizing problem solving, higher-level thinking, and student-generated products. Each unit of study begins the KWL model in which students record what they already know about the unit, and what they want to know. This information allows me to develop purposeful activities geared toward the individual interests of my students and is used as an assessment instrument at the conclusion of the unit when my students record what they have learned.

My role is as a facilitator and resource person, guiding students to grasp knowledge and concepts through hands-on learning and research.  I believe instruction should be activity-based, engaging students in the doing aspect of learning. For example, I use the simulation Beans and Baleen, by Anne Germain Lucas, Houghtaling Elem., Ketchikan, AK to help students discover some of the problems that scientists face when counting whale populations. Different beans are used to represent different types of whales. Students pretend they are scientists whose job is to record whale populations in a certain area. Using science inquiry, students collect and organize data, make a prediction based on the collection of the data, and present their findings to the class.

I emphasize communication skills by having students create presentations and performances for both my class and audiences outside of the classroom.  Keeping in mind different learning styles and multiple intelligences, I allow students to select their products and performances such as PowerPoint and HyperStudio presentations, Kid Pix slide shows, models and exhibits, student created books, puppet shows and skits, and demonstrations.  As a grand finale for a study in marine biology, students are the teachers and invite other classrooms to visit our room where they present sea life touch labs, tours of the student created kelp forests and coral reefs, and puppet shows about the impact of marine debris on sea life. 

It is important for students to have the opportunity to meet with specialists whenever possible and to be engaged in activities that replicate those of the real world.  During my marine biology unit, I take all of my students to Dauphin Island Sea Lab on the Gulf of Mexico where they seine and identify sea life they catch, do population sampling, and work with a marine biologist to learn about the salt marsh habitat.

Assessments in my classroom include observations of student performance during instructional activities, interviews, performance tasks, portfolios, investigative projects, written reports and journals, models, and demonstrations.  These assessments tap higher-level thinking and problem-solving skills, as they require the student to perform, create, or produce something.  Assessment of performance tasks gives me instant feedback regarding the students’ understanding of a concept and helps me to assess my level of success in presenting a new concept to the student. I strongly believe in student self-evaluation, therefore, rubrics used to evaluate student products and performances are completed by the students and then discussed with me in a student/teacher conference.

At the end of every class, I have each student tell me one thing they learned that day.  No two students can say the same thing.  When the responses flow quickly, I know that it has been a successful learning day, but if after the first two responses students are struggling, I know that I need to look back over the day’s instruction and look for ways to improve.  At the end of the unit, students complete a course evaluation. As part of the evaluation, students offer suggestions for improving the unit for future classes.  Some of the best suggestions I have received have come from my own students.          

To quote Ernest Boyer, “Good teaching means that faculty, as scholars, are also learners.”  To create my own learning, I regularly attend teaching seminars and workshops, and meet with other teachers of the gifted. Much of my learning is self-directed through Internet research and subscriptions to teacher newsgroups.  I am particularly interested in technology and have taught myself web page creation and several multimedia programs such as PowerPoint, Paint Shop Pro and HyperStudio.

In my classroom there are no textbooks, therefore, developing appropriate, challenging, and interesting curriculum is my greatest challenge.  My curriculum changes yearly and covers a wide span of ages, learning styles, and ability levels.  I must plan my units months in advance, allowing for plenty of opportunities to research background information, gather instructional materials and resources, and develop lesson plans.  I am currently developing materials and a web site for my unit on Ancient Egypt next year. 

Teaching is not easy for me, nor would I ever want it to be.  The challenge of it and the demands make it all the more exciting.  In the end, I hope that the thrill and excitement of learning infects all my students.  Regardless of what details of a unit they may remember, I consider my greatest successes those students who tell me they have learned to think rather than memorize, to question rather than just answer, and to express curiosity rather than conformity.


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 My Clipart     My Favorite Story  Article about our Trip to Sea Lab


Beehive animation by A Touch of Country


Background provided by Original Country Clip Art By Lisa