Over the past decade, fifth-grade teacher Chris Louis Sardella has provided a wealth of innovative, hands-on learning experiences that challenge and motivate students at Marion E. Zeh Elementary School in Northborough, Massachusetts. Always teaching with students' end goals in mind, Sardella balances teacher-directed, whole-class lessons with highly differentiated opportunities for individual practice and cooperative learning. He established what has come to be a fifth-grade tradition at the school: an end-of-year play based on a historical novel that his students have been reading and researching throughout the year. Sardella also implemented a math fluency program to help fourth and fifth graders build a solid foundation in basic math facts and operations. He established a learning garden at the school, for which he not only acquired grants but spent hours weeding, pruning and planting. His students consistently show growth in reading, writing and math achievement. Sardella is a member of the school's Technology Committee and the district's English/Language Arts (ELA) Committee, through which he played a key role in creating Zeh's ELA benchmarks and writing rubrics. He has also worked with colleagues to pilot a math database designed to document student growth on math assessments, and facilitated a professional learning community on sheltered English instruction as part of a schoolwide model. Sardella also teaches courses in literacy instruction at Framingham State College's Division of Graduate and Continuing Education.
1993 Connecticut College, B.A.