In The Classroom: Meet Dillon Valley’s singing, dancing YouTube teacher 

Today we are IN THE CLASSROOM at Dillon Valley Elementary, where dual-language third graders are learning more than just two languages. 

The language of song and dance is part of the curriculum in Nelly Quijano’s class. 

“I love dancing, singing, and I create songs for them,” she tells Krystal 93. “Math, science, whatever. That is a great strategy (for dual language). You can use cognates, you can use images, to make the connections between word and pictures. It is one of the best strategies that I have seen.” 

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Maestra Nelly – or, Ms. Nelly Mouse, as her students call her – has been teaching in Summit School District for almost five years. She’s here on a J-1 visa from Colombia. 

“When I was starting reading and writing, my grandpa taught me everything, and he was always using music,” she says. “I grew up with that love, super strong, of music, and that’s what I’ve been doing during all my years as a teacher.” 

During the pandemic, her students asked her: 

“Maestra, now what is going to happen with your songs, with your creations in class?” she remembers. “And I said, ‘Oh yes, you’re right. I don’t know.’” 

But the kids? They already knew the answer.  

“They said, ‘Why don’t you open a YouTube channel?’” she laughs. “And yes, I made it.” 

Her YouTube channel, Ms. Nelly Mouse, has 250 followers and dozens of videos teaching students in Spanish and English – and always with music. 

Thanks to Catherine Schaff at Early Childhood Options for nominating Maestra Nelly at Dillon Valley, and thanks for going IN THE CLASSROOM from Heavenly Times Hot Tubs and Billiards and The Summit Foundation Bright Futures Fund.