I have taught all the primary grades. Head Start through third grade in contained classrooms. I have had teaching experiences with grades four thru high school which involved teaching GED, tutoring during recess, school year books, school newspapers and computer classes. I’ve taught Language Arts in grades four thru six because my principal liked my approach to teaching writing. I’ve taught computer classes to adults which included making business cards, wall calendars with two sided printing, and greeting cards.
My approach to teaching is computer based hands on learning. I like learning centers and cooperative groups. I believe that all classrooms should have a classroom library of books created by the students. I like to make one-page folded paper books, Power Point books, and shape books on the computer with students. I’m a former Girl Scout Leader which affects my approach to teaching. The more parents and interested community members helping the better. The more children realize that they can write a book like any book they find in the library the more empowered they become.
Who’s Who Among American Teachers My Kindergarten Award / When computers were introduced to Chicago Public Schools they were loaned to the teachers for practice. I made a book of my Kindergarten’s favorite things to listen to and act out . I passed out the books and said make sure that you put your finger under the words as I read the story, The Three Bears. When I finished reading the story they all clapped. My classes group play The Happy Giant was performed by Child's Play Touring Theatre. A 6.3 reading score was the top score in my last 3rd grade class. The scores were so high the school leadership decided that next year 7.0 would be too high.
I attended five elementary schools and three high schools in Chicago IL. Chicago State University: BS in Early Childhood Education; MS in Curriculum and Instruction/Technology; Communication, Media Arts and Theater +30 Hours; Bureau of Education and Research Seminars in Computers, Language Arts, and Writing; The Chicago Area Writing Project; My Chicago Public Schools Principals Provided Classes: IBM’s Writing to Read; Lee Cantor’s Assertive Discipline; Microsoft Power Point and Word; Child’s Play Touring Theater ; ELIC's/ Rigby Publisher Writing Books With Students; Chicago Public Library Literacy Association: Discover Intensive Phonics for Yourself; Girl Scout Leader’s Training
I was raised in foster homes in Chicago IL. I was pregnant and married at seventeen. My first job was as a clerk typist for Youth Action, an organization that worked with The Black Stone Rangers a Chicago Street Gang. Youth Action was funded by Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities sent the Street Workers back to school. They sent the gang members back to school. And they sent me the clerk typist back to school. I graduated from Central YMCA High School. I received a Teachers’ scholarship from Chicago State University, a book and bus fare scholarship from Chicago Youth Centers. I had Jessie Jackson in my ear saying, you are somebody. I believed him, I had only read about going to college. As a student at Chicago State University I noticed that students from Catholic High Schools were well prepared for college as compared to my friends and I who had to find empty classrooms to practice the skills we needed to get up to speed in our studies. I decided that whatever the Catholic Schools taught, that’s what I would teach. My first teaching job was as a GED instructor for another program funded by Catholic Charities. They gave us a lot of discarded Catholic Schools workbooks. Our program was at the high school level so I got to keep the primary grade books. I got the opportunity to see what Catholic Schools taught at the primary level. Ginn’s Publishers didn’t call it phonics. They called it Ginn Word Enrichment Program. This set of workbooks was enough for my slow second grade class to make more growth than any class in the school. My school’s Adjustment Teacher told me that she thought I should know. I was thrilled. I gave the extra Catholic School books I didn’t need to my sister-in-law for her kids. She in turn told me about Discover Intensive Phonics for Yourself. This program raised the reading scores of my third-grade class so high, that when I explained to my Assistant Principle, next year the scores would be even higher they gave me a first-grade class. As the highest score was 6.3, a score of 7.3 the following year was entirely possible. Now I want to tell you about a reading program that goes a step beyond the reading programs I just described, my reading program, Four Phonics Building Blocks. This came about because I wanted to do my part to help with the problems of gangs and guns in Chicago. My favorite radio station V103 ran a special feature called Put the Guns Down! People were discussing what part could we play as individuals to help our children put the guns down. I thought, I know how to teach reading. They can share their stories with the world. I put together a portable reading program so simple that gang members could share and teach it to each other. You know, each one teaches one. We can all make reading skills common knowledge, let’s put reading skills on bulletin boards at Jewels. I'm not kidding. ;-)