Briana Tiffee, Teacher of the Year Nominee at Thompson Middle School


Briana Tiffee is in her fourth year of teaching at Thompson Middle School campus. She is certified in 4-8 Math and ESL and received her Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas. She teaches 7th-grade math and Pre-AP.

Briana Tiffee is a dedicated professional, whose drive and passion lends itself to the overall betterment of her students and colleagues alike. Briana is most notably a mentor to the new teachers on campus. At the beginning of each school year, she takes the initiative and introduces herself to the new teachers, reassuring them that she is available to assist with their transition. She oftentimes helps these teachers acclimate and familiarize themselves with not only the district tools but also the established policies and procedures. Beyond her willingness to help her colleagues, she has established a new learning tool for her students. By recording her lessons and making them available online, the students have the opportunity to learn at their own pace and review any available lessons at will. This method has led to a more engaged classroom as well as provided the parents with an instrument to help reinforce their children’s learning at home. Overall, Briana’s dedication to the growth of those around her has helped to advance the field of education.

Briana was asked to describe a content lesson or unit that defines her as a teacher. How did she engage students of all backgrounds and abilities in the learning? How did that learning influence her students? How are her beliefs about teaching demonstrated in this lesson or unit?

The lesson that most defines me as a teacher is my unit over Volume. I introduced the lesson using a general discussion on solving the area of a figure and then advancing that discussion to volume using three-dimensional figures. The next portion of the lesson calls for each of the students to log into an individual chrome book and participate in an interactive video lesson on Edpuzzle. Edpuzzle is a software program that allows the administrator to develop a video lesson with answerable questions embedded throughout. This method is conducive to learning for several reasons. First, the student is able to move through the lesson at his or her own pace and revisit topics throughout the lesson if a particular piece was not clear. Secondly, the intermingled questions help solidify points before building upon them. Lastly, the program allows me to track the progress of each of the students as they watch the video. This feature is particularly useful as it allows me to analyze the progress of each student helping to identify those students that may be struggling early on in the process. Once we have completed the group discussion and the students have completed the individual studies, we move on to an activity designed to reinforce the concept of volume. The activity consists of multiple stations each focused on different shapes and their volumes. The class is split into four groups based on the data gathered from their individual studies on Edpuzzle and assigned the first station. Each station contains roughly eight questions three of which were mandatory while the student from the remaining five chooses two. Once a station is completed, the students move to the next, until each of the stations is finished. The Volume unit is particularly engaging for the students as it calls for a variety of teaching and learning styles, including group discussion, individual study, and group activity.

Briana goes on to finish explaining this amazing lesson that is a testament to her teaching style that has impacted student learning significantly at TMS. She serves her campus on the Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) initiative and is the sponsor of the Student Council. She is an ideal example and leader not only at TMS but in QISD as a whole.

Congratulations, Briana Tiffee!