Heather Blake

Heather Blake

Role

As the Resource Teacher for the Gifted (RTG), it is my role to advocate for the needs of the gifted learner. I work with all students in kindergarten through fifth grade, teaching lessons that utilize Critical and Creative Thinking strategies.  My focus is on coaching teachers on how to provide daily differentiation; helping them to design and utilize curriculum resources written specifically for gifted learners.  My role is multi-dimensional and I collaborate with teams throughout our school and county to provide Gifted Services for our Discovery Explorers.

Professional Background

I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Saginaw Valley State University with minors in English and mathematics. I am certified to teach K-8 with additional English and mathematics middle school endorsements. I have my Gifted Education endorsement from the University of Virginia, and I am currently working on my Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction – Gifted Education. I moved from Michigan to the Washington DC-area as soon as I graduated and began my professional teaching career at Jamestown Elementary, where I taught for eight years before becoming the Gifted Coach at Discovery its inaugural year.

Personal Interests

I am an Explorer– both at Discovery and in my personal journey. I have a thirst for adventure and enjoy travel, photography, and urban exploration. You can often find me on my bicycle, “Indiana Jones,” in Old Town, updating my Instagram account, or on a budget-travel epic adventure. I have been on two solo-backpacking adventures throughout many countries around the globe and am planning my next trek. I love the arts, music, and technology, and play the alto saxophone in my church’s orchestra each week. I am a lifelong learner and find joy in the simple things.

Literary Connection

One of my favorite books is The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. I was introduced to this story while teaching Summer Laureate, the summer enrichment for Gifted Learners in Arlington Public Schools. This story is about a boy named Hugo who faces many challenges and meets some interesting friends and characters along the way. He meets a new friend and their stories intertwine to help solve the mystery of the automaton that Hugo’s father left behind. This story weaves in and out of time, throughout the movies and a train station in 1930’s Paris. There is action, adventure, mystery, art, and beauty in the symbolism woven throughout the book. I love this story because it can be accessed independently by our advanced readers, be read aloud to others, and also has an equally-fantastic movie, which is a great story in its own right, titled, Hugo. This is a story for everyone and there are many connections to gifted learners in this incredible story.