2023 Golden Apple Award Finalists

Chelsea Rawhoof

Chelsea Rawhoof of Pecatonica has been teaching for 11 years, all at Pecatonica Elementary, where she is a looping teacher (she will carry her current second graders on to third grade, then return back to second the following year).  While battling lava in May [the floor is lava!], she is “already planning on heading to the tropics, flying into space and going back to the Jurassic period with them in third grade. I have the best job in the world”! While Chelsea grew up in a large diverse city, with a graduating class of nearly 600 and celebrations of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, the students she teaches “generally believe that their beliefs are the same as everyone else in the room.” So, she taps her experiences and also teaches a unit that gives an overview of more than 15 countries and their holiday celebrations. “Exposing my students to [diversity] will widen their view of the world and those they encounter in the future.” Observers of her classroom commented about the relatable topics she introduces such as desserts! She also is very good about encouraging and including student responses, listening to and acknowledging each one, and enthusiastically praising correct answers, while gently correcting incorrect ones.  When the children seemed to be getting fussy or distracted, she called for a “wiggle break,” which seemed to be just the thing to re-direct their energy. A Golden Apple Academy member who observed one of Chelsea’s classes remarked that “Chelsea is the coach, the leader, the listener, as well as the cheerleader. The whole class was on task from start to finish and having fun as they worked through the lesson. They were having such a good time together and learning. I wanted to jump in and join the fun”!