I taught social studies for a decade in the Santa Fe Public Schools before moving into a curriculum advisory role. I have also been a consultant on curriculum development for the United States Census Bureau's Statistics in Schools program, in addition to filling the role of Executive Director at a non-profit organization called Elevate Santa Fe.
Project based learning, hands on learning, using real world scenarios.
National Board Certification for Adolescents and Young Adults in Social Studies
I received my Bachelors of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I later went on to gain my teaching credential in secondary social studies from the University of New Mexico, and my Masters in Geography Education from the University of Oregon.
Global Kids: Helping Students Gain Perspective on Their World provides a unique opportunity to approach teaching geography in an exciting and engaging way. The lessons are targeted at early elementary students, and cover a selection of countries and issues from around the world. The children’s literature selections that are suggested in this curriculum focus on kids from different parts of the world, and explore ideas in both physical and cultural geography. It is my intention to assist children in developing an awareness of the world and gain perspective on the people, events and issues that shape it; In essence, to help children become global citizens. Hopefully they will not only have an awareness of the wider world, but also develop a sense of their own role as a member of the world community. Each lesson begins by engaging learners with a question. This inquiry focus peaks learner interest, as it prompts the “need to know” and speaks to young children’s curious nature. After the initial question is posed, and there has been a chance for a brief discussion or pre-activity, the teacher would read a story aloud to students. The story allows children to explore the idea in a context they can understand. Research has shown that students’ listening comprehension outpaces their reading comprehension in early elementary school. Children are able to absorb details about the people, the settings, as well as the challenges and successes of the characters in the story, as they listen. In addition, linking geography content to literacy skills is an approach to helping children improve both their comprehension skills, as well as their content knowledge. The Global Kids curriculum will do both-by captivating students' attention with interesting stories of children just like them from around the globe. I knew that if I were to pair highly engaging literature selections with simple, yet meaningful activities, the lessons would be impactful and memorable for the children who took part. Each lesson also focuses on a few basic geography concepts, and asks students to complete simple activities to help them grasp these concepts (before, during, or after) reading and discussing these stories. Students are engaged in learning about the location in the story, what the main character’s life is like, how the features of that place (both physical and cultural) impact the people who live there, and how the choices of the people in those locations might, in turn, impact their environment. I believe that these "text to world" connections are very powerful in helping children to understand concepts that may be beyond their own realms of personal experiences, and can help develop a grasp of what the world is like beyond their own surroundings. Through this approach, students will gain an understanding of the richness of many cultures around the world, develop an appreciate for other people’s traditions, learn about and understand the landscapes and bio-diversity of other places, and how the lives of children their own age are similar or different to their own. They will develop an appreciation that the way they might do something is not the only way to approach that type of situation. The approach promoted in Global Kids helps students to both "see" and "do" geography in a meaningful and engaging context, and to more deeply appreciate the complex mosaic of landscapes and cultures in the world. The exposure to other cultures and situations is also key for helping children develop empathy for others, and a recognition that not all children around the world have the same privileges or lifestyles that they themselves might be accustomed to.