Five years as a high school language arts teacher. Six years as a composition instructor at the community college level. Nineteen years of experience as a writer and editor of products for language arts products (K-12) for educational publishing companies across the country.
Not all learning needs to be fun, but I am a firm believer in the value of word puzzles and games in the classroom when appropriate. Games can challenge students' social and cooperative skills; puzzles can challenge their knowledge of spelling, vocabulary, and almost all other language skills--and the best thing is, students are having such fun that they are hardly aware that it's happening!
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Bachelor of Arts, Education, Iowa State University, 1988
I began creating ThemeQuotes games when I taught high school literature. I wanted something to end a book unit that was fun for students and reinforced the themes of the book. Having always been a lover of thought-provoking quotations (I had hundreds of them posted on the walls of my classroom), I came up with the idea of having students solve theme-related, thought-provoking quotations (ThemeQuotes) hangman-style. This worked fine, but I felt it needed something more. That's when I decided to create Trivial Pursuit-style questions that students would answer in teams and then, if they got the answer right, suggest letters for the ThemeQuote puzzle. The first team to solve the puzzle won the round. My students loved it, and I went on to create 23 editions for my own line of products. Fun with Great Works puzzles seemed like a natural extension of that product. Again, FWGW puzzles are used to "top off" a book unit. The puzzles are fun but also challenging in many ways. Some work with figurative language from the book, others explore characters, still others focus on theme. I also started creating Bookmarks Plus while teaching because I wanted students to have a quick reference to the basic elements of the book as they read and the vocabulary words I would later test them on. I am also the author of two published books aimed at encouraging "normal" kids to accept kids with disabilities.
English Language Arts, Creative Writing, Writing-Expository, Reading, Grammar, Spelling, Vocabulary, Specialty, Social Studies - History, Government, U.S. History, European History, World History, Arts & Music, Drama, EFL - ESL - ELD, Geography, Gifted and Talented, For All Subject Areas, Literature, Writing, Short Stories, Writing, Writing-Essays, Poetry, Informational Text