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How @FancyNancyin5th Uses Pinna in the Classroom - and Other Advice

Pinna is an excellent tool that is handy both at home and school — parents and teachers agree!

Podcasts, audiobooks, and music offer a screen-free alternative for keeping kids entertained and engaged….and Pinna’s perfectly curated collection of audio content is top notch.

For that reason, we’ve decided to put together a Q&A series where we sit down (virtually!) with teachers from all over the country and have them share their favorite ways to use Pinna in the classroom.

Today, we’re so excited to be talking with Nancy Chung (aka @FancyNancyin5th)!

Check out our interview below.

How Nancy Uses Pinna in the Classroom — Q&A With a Teacher

Nancy Chung aka @FancyNancyin5th

1. Hi there! Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background as a teacher?

I’m going into my twenty-fifth year of teaching, and yes, that makes me really old! :) Even as a veteran teacher, I am always looking for innovative ways to teach and try to be the teacher that I would have loved to have when I was in school. We’re always dancing, singing, and doing something totally silly in my classroom because I truly believe we need to be having fun in school! I also coach our competitive robotics team and math team because I’m what I call a “cool nerd”.

2. What led you down this career path? Any advice for kids out there who want to grow up to be a teacher like you?

I started out wanting to be an art teacher because I love art and I love kids! But when I found out that being an art teacher isn’t as stable, because of budget cuts and job security, I decided to go into teaching elementary. I incorporate art into all of the subjects I teach, so it ended up being a perfect fit.

My advice for kids who want to become a teacher like me…Always look for ways to connect with your students and show them that you truly care about them.

Personalized digital print by @PrintsbyMeag (Nancy's daughter)

3. What grade level/subject do you teach?

I teach fifth grade. I taught sixth grade my very first year, a fourth/fifth combo for four years, and the rest have been in fifth grade. I started out as a substitute teacher and got to experience the best of the best and the worst of the worst classrooms. :)

4. Inquiring minds would love to know...do you have a class pet? If so, feel free to share a pic here!

I wish I could!! Because of so many allergies students have, we are not allowed to have class pets. If I could take my labradoodle named Odee into school with me as a class pet, I would probably live at school.

❤️ Teacher’s Pet!! ❤️🐶 Odee

5. Let’s talk about Pinna! What made you want to incorporate it as a learning tool?

I personally love listening to podcasts and audiobooks because I love multitasking! When using Pinna in my classroom, we talk about the power of detailed writing accompanied by expressive reading. My students love listening to Pinna and creating “mind movies” in our heads.

6. What ways do you use Pinna in the classroom?

As I analyzed our previous state testing scores, one area I noticed that students consistently scored lower on is the “listening” portion. So I came up with the idea of using Pinna, listening to portions at a time, and doing activities to really strengthen their skills. Not only did their test scores improve, they LOVED it so much, and they would beg for more.

7. Do you have any advice for educators who may be thinking of using Pinna - or to parents to encourage bonus learning at home?

Just do it! :) Always preview and know what your students will be listening to. You should know your audience and find topics and content that will not just be interesting to them, but appropriate as well.

8. Okay, moms and dads want to know — what are your favorite teacher gifts? It’s so hard to know what teachers love and what ends up as clutter at the end of the year.

Can I be very honest? :) No teacher will complain about a gift card, even if it’s a small increment. I know parents worry that it might seem impersonal, but because teachers are always buying things for the classroom (and students) all year long, a gift card to Amazon is always appreciated.

9. What is your most rewarding (or funniest!) classroom memory?

I have so many funny moments; I could write a Netflix series! But the most rewarding part is always when a former student comes to visit or contacts me and lets me know how I touched their life in some way. I have former students who are now teachers and will share some of their silly memories in my classroom, and I am reminded exactly why I teach.

10. Do you have any parting words of wisdom for our readers? Anything you’d like to share that we didn’t cover above?

When I first started teaching, we didn’t have smartphones, airpods, or half of the technological tools that we have now. Dream big, and never be afraid to pursue your passion! Whether it might be writing your own story for Pinna, becoming a teacher, or creating the next big thing — whatever it may be, follow your dreams, find your “element” and work hard at achieving it!

Earbuds were included in student's end-of-the-year gift bag! Personalized by Nancy

The Wrap-Up

We are so grateful for teachers who give their all each and every day to make sure our kids get the education they deserve.

The Pinna platform was created with kids in mind; it’s an awesome resource for teachers and parents.

For more, be sure to check out Pinna’s growing library of lesson plans and extension activities to pair with many of the podcasts and audiobooks featured on the app.

We’re all ears!

How do you use (or plan to use!) Pinna in the classroom? We’d love to hear from you! Find us on all our social platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest – or email us at contact@pinna.fm.

Amy Thetford

Amy Thetford

Amy is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom to her tribe of tiny humans. She's fueled by coffee and the desire to do ALL. THE. THINGS. She blogs about all things motherhood at realtalkwithamy.com