By Catie Gross
Marketing & Communications Assistant
As a University of Cincinnati Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning Fashion Design graduate, Erin Bittman is not your average elementary school teacher. Bittman has combined her creative skill set with her love of children to create a unique blog full of hands-on teaching methods for teachers through the web.
After making a choice between a career in design or teaching, Bittman decided to return to UC and major in Early Childhood Education through the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services. Bittman’s inspiration to teach came from being an assistant in her mother’s Pre-Kindergarten classroom. She was able to structure lessons based on design tactics that stemmed from her fashion design degree. Bittman then began her blog, “E is for Explore” as a creative outlet where she could post specialized teaching lessons to inspire other teachers.
Bittman’s blog provides teachers with hands-on lesson plans that teach to curriculum standards but add a creative twist to engage students. She believes students need lessons that are meaningful and memorable that will inspire them.
“Every student has a unique skill, and they should be provided the opportunity to shine at what they do best,” said Bittman. One lesson that Bittman encourages through her blog is “Genius Hour,” which is one hour set aside where students can indulge in a project of their choosing in order to discover their interests and be creative.
After beginning “E is for Explore” in 2011, Bittman has taken her blog to the next level. She was approached by We Are Teachers, an online resource for teachers, and her blog was highlighted on their website. She has since been hired with We Are Teachers and serves as their Activities Blogger. Bittman strongly encourages teachers to take to the web when it comes to curriculum planning because there are so many creative and powerful lessons out there.
“There are lots of teachers with great ideas. By sharing ideas, teachers are creating awesome units and lessons that children find engaging,” said Bittman. “I have blogger friends from all over the world who write me and say they tried out my lesson plans in their classroom.”
With such a successful blog, Bittman joined the site Teachers Pay Teachers in order to profit from her learning materials. Instead of filing away old materials, Bittman offers them to other teachers for a fee.
“The materials I create can easily be differentiated to fit the needs of students in any classroom,” said Bittman. “Everything is made for teachers. They just have to implement it!”