I've taught at a wonderful and well-known progressive Manhattan school, City & Country School, for 16 years, 5 as a 3rd/4th grade classroom teacher and 11 more as School Librarian/ Reading Teacher. The curriculum is driven by a strong emphasis on social studies and hands-on, student-directed learning. Throughout this time I've also done some administrative work managing the team of specials teachers and overseeing the team sports program (I love to coach almost as much as I love to teach!). Teachers at City&Country are constantly creating curriculum because the program is so responsive to the student. I taught all subjects and generated and revised material of incredible variety: social studies trips; process math and writing; the implementation of a student-run post office; building a native american longhouse; book groups; basketball practices... even juggling! I have my masters in elementary education from Bank Street College, another progressive institution. In the summers I tutor in reading and math, and run my own basketball clinic for young children.
My main goal, whether in the classroom, the library, the basketball court or the hallway, is to help kids to think and to feel, and to lose themselves in these endeavors. I think teaching is mostly about asking good questions, and Iï¿½m always on the lookout for the right question for a particular child in a particular situation. I believe our values are conveyed most powerfully through our actions and our questions, and less so through telling children directly what we value. If I want a child to love reading, I want her to see me love reading, to hear me talking about books in an excited way, and to see me actually reading. I want to ask her questions that connect reading to things she cares about or that help her explore the layers of meaning within a text, so she gets the idea that there are intrinsic rewards for delving deeper into a story. Posters of race cars that say "Reading is for Winners!" are NOT part of my approach! Itï¿½s always been extremely important to me that kids feel the School, the classroom and the work belong to them. Spontaneity is key to ownership; kids have to feel that what they are doing is original and grew out of the moment. They are natural pioneers and it is the teachersï¿½ job to build, with the kids, fertile classroom environments that allow for this kind of growth. As students pursue interests and express their discoveries, itï¿½s essential that they feel they are contributing to a larger collective understanding within the Group. Each child brings a different perspective and different piece of the puzzle, so there should be plenty of classroom time in which children are doing different things and using different materials from one another. A visit to the library is often more meaningful when it grows out of something that just happened, and when others in the Group are doing something else.
Building a near-life-sized Lenape longhouse with my first class of 3rd graders was one of the most exciting things I've ever done, period. The classroom became transformed into a Native American village, the center of which contained this structure of saplings and twine large enough to fit all 21 of us. I didn't get an "award" for it but the oohs and ahhs of gawkers on the sidewalk outside were more than enough strokes! A slide show of the project became incorporated into a Bank Street grad school curriculum class, which was also very satisfying. Of course, the most rewarding part was the sense of industry, engagement and pride the children themselves brought to their work each day.
Went to public elementary school then a small independent high school in Connecticut. BA in English from Dickinson College in Carlisle PA. MS Elementary Education from Bank Street College, NYC.
Finally, a site that allows me to share and sell all the curriculum I've generated over the years! I've spent countless hours--Sunday mornings, late evenings and lunch hours--putting together materials that engage and challenge children. I'm so pleased to be able to share this with a larger community.