I am heading into my 14th year teaching 7th grade English (Language Arts) at a large suburban middle school near Minneapolis, Minnesota. I've spent time with the student newspaper, student council, building leadership committee, as the co-chair of our department, and on the building literacy committee, but now I'm just on the literacy committee because I have a one year old and a four year old who keep my on my toes outside of school (and an awesome husband and 16 yo step-daughter!)
As an undergraduate student in the mid to late 90s, I had classes on Charles Dickens, American Literature, Literary Criticism....not on Reading Strategies, Comprehension, or Writing Craft. Thankfully I had the foresight to get my Middle School Endorsement which gave me a tiny idea that there was more to teaching than *just* reading and writing with kids.
When I went back for my Master's, I was floored. I had an epiphany. And I had a bit of a crisis, wondering what on earth I had been doing in my classroom. I felt a bit better after a colleague gently reminded me that I most likely hadn't held anyone back from Harvard...
If I didn't have any wits about me, I would thoroughly enjoy just sitting and reading to and with and writing among my students every day. I think it's a product of being schooled in the 80s. I'm great at helping them connect to literature and love and admire well crafted writing. I do realize, however, that there are other pieces of the puzzle. I've gotten pretty good at pre, during, and after reading activities, and can run a pretty strong writing workshop. I am, however, still working hard to tweak and make each day, each lesson, meaningful. I'm happy being a learner, though, and I know I've come a long way.
I don't have and honors and awards that I can think of, so I thought I'd use this space to include my favorite writers! *Ralph Fletcher *Chris Crutcher *Cynthia Rylant *Sandra Cisneros *Annie Dillard *Roald Dahl *Khaled Hosseini And I want to thank Arik Durfee, Jen Runde, and Tracee Orman for being a huge inspiration on this site & Amanda of Teaching in a Small Town for the awesome frames!
I graduated from Minot High School and Minot State University in North Dakota. In 2007, I graduated from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN, with my MAEd. Next summer when my boys turn 5 and 2, I would love to go back to Hamline and take some more literacy courses.
I'm originally from Minot, North Dakota, and lived there until I graduated from college and got my first teaching job in Minnesota (which is my current teaching job in Minnesota!) As well as teaching right in the middle, I was born in the middle. I have an older sister who teaches CIS Spanish and is a World Language Curriculum Coordinator in the Minneapolis metro as well and a younger brother who is a photographer. I should mention that we are all kids of two great retired public school teachers. My mom taught 1st grade teacher, and my dad taught 7th grade English teacher. Mom was a building rep and Dad was a union president and negotiator for years. I am very grateful to my parents for raising us how they did, for instilling the importance of public education and becoming involved.
I need to also mention the steady sunshine in my daily life...my husband--a photographer by day, handiman by night (building our addition), curler by winter. My sweet four-year-old...ready for a year of pre-school and currently trying on his sassy pants, which Mom says need to be changed. My one-year-old...NICU graduate who I spent 12 unexpected weeks of bed rest with (and wrote 10 weeks of lesson plans with!) And my 16-year-old step-daughter, a junior who loves pop culture and public speaking.
I'm not in the blogosphere as a teacher, just as a former bed rester and preemie mom--two of my areas of interest outside of being a teacher. If either of these areas interest you, feel free to check out:
We are big fans of Children's Hospital of MN, the Ronald McDonald House, and the March of Dimes and march and donate in our kids' names each year.