I was classroom teacher for eleven years, working first in Washington, D.C., and then in South Florida. In 2009, I started conducting literacy and math coaching for teachers for grades PreK-8, and added instructional technology coaching to the mix beginning in 2011.
I'm currently an Educational Consultant based in New York City. When I'm not conducting professional development in schools, I'm either working as an Educational Content Developer for BrainPOP or blogging and creating teacher resources. I love what I do and feel very blessed to have so many different types of opportunities to support teachers!
Classroom management is really the cornerstone of effective teaching (perhaps you're noticing a theme there with my materials?) and is a huge part of how I define my teaching style. I think classroom management gets a bad rap sometimes: people assume it's about controlling students' behavior and forcing compliance. It doesn't have to be that way! My goal is to support children in taking ownership of both the classroom and their own learning. I love empowering students to rely on self-control rather than teacher-control, and helping them follow their passions and interests.
Part of strong classroom management is creating and implementing lessons that are really engaging for kids. I try to use (and create) materials that go beyond just worksheets: my focus is on cooperative learning and group work, whole brain teaching, hands-on learning, technology integration, and getting kids actively involved in lessons. And I'm a huge advocate for 21st century skills, specifically the 4 C's: creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.
The most important thing I try to impart to students is a love of learning, and the most important thing I try to impart to teachers is a love teaching. I believe the classroom should be a joyful and loving place where both kids and adults look forward to going to each day. The school system can sometimes make that difficult, but I hope to help teachers tackle some of the issues that drain their energy so they can focus on connecting with and enjoying their students.
One of my most pivotal "shining teacher moments" came during my second year of teaching. I hadn't built up my immunity to kid germs yet and had been home sick with strep throat for two very long weeks. When I returned to school, my principal came running over to me, her eyes wide with amazement. "I poked my head in your classroom last week and I couldn't even tell you were gone! The kids just knew exactly what to do and kept doing it even when you weren't there to watch them."
That compliment made me feel so good! It solidified my passion for classroom management and inspired me to start a website to share ideas for creating a self-running classroom. I began taking photos to illustrate how I set up routines and procedures, and wrote tips for building a sense of classroom community and empowering students to take charge of their own learning.
Eventually the website grew into a book, then a webinar, then two more books. And now? I'm thrilled to continue creating resources here on TpT--I just started in September 2012. The goal is the same as it was back then: to help make teaching more effective, efficient, and enjoyable.
* National Board Certification, Early Childhood Generalist
* Florida teaching certification in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
* M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction
* B.S. in Early Childhood Education and Art
There are over 200 pages of free resources on my website, The Cornerstone For Teachers! You'll also find information on my books, webinars (videos), teacher message boards, and more.
You can also connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.