"So I was asking them all what their favorite traps were, and now ‘a trap’ has become a code phrase for any set of tools they think is cool or useful to them in my classroom."
User: Tamara Jaffe
Location: Astoria, New York
Official Title: Teacher, New York City Public Schools
Animal that best describes you: “A Rabbit who thinks she’s a Lion”
Favorite Trap: the “Brain” trap, and I made it myself!
Q. How did you get where you are today, and what do you do for a living?
My desire to be a teacher started when I saw a friend get underestimated by a teacher. At the time — I was young — I decided that if I ever became a teacher, I would let my students always know that I had faith in them. It’s very important to help students realize that you see the positive potential in them, and to show them how they can capitalize on that.
Q. I know you’re excited about having used Trapit in your classroom. Do you have a favorite story you’d like to share?
There was kind of a funny experience that happened. My juniors started using Trapit, and some of them didn’t catch on right away; they hadn’t been there when I introduced it to them. So I was asking them all what their favorite traps were, and now ‘a trap’ has become a code phrase for any set of tools they think is cool or useful to them in my classroom. I love the way their faces light up when they realize that this isn’t a typical search engine, and that research doesn’t need to be tedious.
Q. Are you actually teaching them that learning is fun and enjoyable?
Ha ha, that’s my quest in life, yes! It’s also fun watching them become meaningfully engaged in something that’s digital. When they’re on the computer, they’re switching back and forth between many different websites, and it’s hard to get them to stay focused. But Trapit “traps” them; it caught their attention, and held it. When a site is sticky, then I know it has great potential.
Q. How have you used Trapit, yourself, to help with your job?
Right now, my main focus is on creating ones to preview what my students are encountering for their policy papers such as Autism, Prison Rehabilitation, Asthma, and Health Care Reform. I have also created traps in Health areas, Lesson Planning, Neuroscience and Psychology.
Q. What are your favorite traps that you’ve made yourself?
I made a “brain” trap, which I love. I discovered an article on a study to create tiny, computer-generated implants that can create feeling/sensation in injured limbs. It isn’t complete yet, but they’re experimenting with it, and I think that’s really neat.
Q. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen since you started using Trapit?
I’m always looking for weird things to share with students. I’ve been searching for weird animal things, so I just did a discovery for “weird animals.” I found a neat little set of images about transparent animals, including a glass frog, where you could actually see in through their skin, and you could see its liver.
Q. You could see its *liver*?
At least, that’s what the caption said, and that’s what it looked like.
Also, I learned that scientists are now using leeches to analyze other animals’ DNA, because they suck their blood. This way, they can track elusive animals or detect a new species. They don’t have to get the mammals, they just get the leeches. I even learned about the “island” rule, that large animals on islands get smaller over time, and that small animals get larger. They were saying that there was a lot of controversy as to whether this was true or not, but they were using rodents as a case study to see whether this could be true.
Q. So does that mean that King Kong was full of it?
Q. How about featured traps? Do you have any that are your particular favorites?
I’ve used featured traps mainly for my students, like the Supreme Court trap, or other public policy traps, but I end up making my own for myself. I like to personalize them too much.
Q. Thanks for being such a great user profile; anything you’d like to add?
Nothing I can think of, but I’m definitely excited about exploring more of Trapit!