I grew up loving American history. In addition to studying it in college, where I took over 15 units of US history, I have been to many historical sites and enjoy sharing the stories of those places with students. History has always come alive for me through biography and information about how common people were effected by events.
Learning math can be fun but it is also a challenge. I use many hands on materials to build understanding of math concepts. I have innovative ways to teach math facts since they are often a building block to success in math. Finally, I have ways to help break down word problems that frustrate many students so that they can apply their skills and build confidence.
For several years I worked at a school affiliated with Scripps. I taught kindegarten in a setting that had the children of researchers from around the world. I taught their children English using drawing and manipulatives so that they associated vocabulary with real objects. Then we would move on to phonics so that these children could read by the end of kindergarten.
Now I work at a middle school with a huge ESL population. The skills I use are different. We work on writing skills, especially grammar, capitalization and punctuation. I still find that some of the vocabulary skills I used work with the very beginning students who have just arrived in America.
Phonics is the study of sounds that are used to decode words. It starts with basic consonant and short vowel sounds. As students advance they work on blends, consonant digraphs such as th and ch. They continue with long vowels patterns like ai, ee and igh. Finally they learn the effect of syllables on sounds so they can sound out longer words. I taught Kindergarten to 2nd grade for 20 years and have taught all of this.