Year Honored: 2007Central Junior High School
At the time of the Award, Shelly Unsicker-Durham was:Teacher
Central Junior High School
Subject(s) taught: English/Language
English teacher Shelly Unsicker has helped her students become writers, artists and poets at Central Junior High School in Moore. A National Board Certified teacher and member of the Oklahoma Writing Project, Unsicker creates a safe classroom environment for all students to express themselves through writing. Her instructional methods include Writer's Workshop strategies to help individual students through the drafting and revision process and a project at the beginning of each year in which students and their parents write letters to her about themselves. Unsicker sponsors a Writing and Art Club in which students develop literacy skills while sharing personal stories. She also helps club members publish an annual anthology of student work called Vivid, for which students volunteer time after school and on weekends. Unsicker co-teaches a class with a special education teacher, through which special needs students have made significant gains in reading ability and produced written work comparable to that of their peers. Nearly all of her students achieve a satisfactory or advanced grade on the eighth- grade writing test.