Columbia College (English Literature)
Lesley University (MEd)
I am an upper elementary homeroom teacher of many years who has recently moved to Lunenburg from Cambridge. I have a lot of experience teaching all subjects in Upper Elementary including reading, writing, social studies, and math. I can help students prepare for standardized tests, such as the MCAS, write a research report, and come to grips with math concepts and problem solving. I pride myself on being a motivator. I think it was Yogi Berra who said it best. Ninety-nine percent of success in school is fifty percent attitude and approach.
I love teaching in the classroom, and I am convinced I can help kids come to grips with their challenges. I have done it for years. I take kids from where they are and then we progress from there. If there is a particularly challenging assignment or book report, then we can work within the structure of that assignment to get it done, and learn something along the way. If there is a targeted need, then we can address that. If a child is feeling overwhelmed, I can help to break the assignment down into smaller pieces and work it out one piece at a time.
If there's room for more, and the desire is there, then we can work on new material. My experience is primarily with students in fourth, fifth and sixth grades, but as a parent of two grown children, I have had experience working with children of all ages. Looking forward to working with you. I am an upper elementary homeroom teacher of many years who has recently moved to Lunenburg from Cambridge. I have a lot of experience teaching all subjects in Upper Elementary including reading, writing, social studies, and math. I can help students prepare for standardized tests, such as the MCAS, write a research report, and come to grips with
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As a homeroom teacher teaching fifth grade, I was responsible for a curriculum on the exploration and settlement of North America. But my reading and interests have led me through most of the history from the Neolithic to the present. I have taught fifth graders to take notes, do research reports, create PowerPoints and slide shows, and write skits based upon their research. Most recently we worked with iPads to create videos and story books with images imported from the web. Research has become more exciting and knowledge far more accessible as a result of the web. If your child is struggling with a research report, or overwhelmed with any expectations in the study of American History, I can help. I would love to work with students at any level.
In college I majored in English Literature, so I am familiar with most of the literature which is considered "classic" today. In my fifth grade classroom I required every student to choose a "Classic Start" for their first book report at the start of the year. The "Classic Start" series consists of short versions of the original. Though some would frown on reading these, I have grown to feel that they are an excellent introduction to the original. Many of my students chose to read a number of them. In future years they will better understand references to these works and hopefully they will read the originals.
I am licensed by the state of Massachusetts to teach grades 1-6 Elementary. I earned an MEd from Lesley University in 1977. I have taught grades 3 through six since 1977 in private schools, beginning in Rhode Island at Gordon School, proceeding to Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, MA, and finally 27 years as a fifth grade homeroom teacher in Cambridge, MA at Buckingham Browne and Nichols School.
Success in math on the elementary level depends upon a firm foundation in number sense: the ability to break numbers down into their component parts. Basic operations, such as adding, subtracting, dividing and multiplying depend upon number sense. There are ways to build and reinforce number sense through games and practice. I can help a student build confidence in their own abilities in math. I can help students with problem solving first with whole numbers, and then fractions and decimals, two step and three step problems, pre-algebra, and geometry. Confidence is key. I pride myself on my ability to relate to those who struggle. In my teaching career I always taught the bottom half of the class, because I chose to teach them. It can be challenging at times, but it is rewarding when the breakthrough comes.
I was an English Literature major at Columbia University. I am a reader by nature and enjoy reading. As a homeroom teacher for many years, I required each student to write six book reports during the course of the year, following a strict format. Expository writing, as in the book reports, requires the writer to stick to the format. Within that format there is room for color and voice. I have taught students to write using countless formats of one kind or another. The important thing is to be aware of what is expected, and who your reader is. "Voice" is the crucial element in creative writing. Most elementary students would choose to do creative writing, if given the choice. I enjoy writing of any kind and, if someone asked me to choose one, I couldn't. There's plenty of room for creativity in both. Writing can, and should, be fun.
I have always enjoyed reading about history and European History has been a natural interest. Having taught Social Studies for many years in grades three through eight, I have taught about Greece and Rome, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the Age of Discovery. But my reading and interests have led me through most of the history from the Neolithic to the present. I have taught fifth graders to take notes, do research reports, create Power Points and slide shows, and write skits based upon their research. Most recently we worked with iPads to create videos and story books with images imported from the web. Research has become more exciting and knowledge far more accessible as a result of the web. If your child is struggling with a research report, or overwhelmed with any expectations in the study of European History, I can help. I would love to work with students at any level.
My interest in Geography probably stems from countless hours in my misspent youth playing Risk, trying to conquer the world. As an adult, there has always been a geographic component in my Social Studies curriculums surrounding my teaching of Greece and Rome, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Age of Exploration, and the exploration and settlement of North America. Today there are countless computer games which teach and reinforce geographic facts and place names. Though these things are best incorporated into the study of history, where they can assume some form of context, I can help your child to master the basic facts which they are expected to know for their grade level.
I have taught fifth and sixth grade geometry for over twenty years as part of my math curriculum. Geometry is a wonderful tool to practice logic. Geometry can be exciting and interesting when taught through induction of concepts. If students discover a concept themselves, they feel a sense of ownership and understanding which simply does not come when the concept is taught directly. I believe in presenting students with the opportunity to experience this moment themselves. Vocabulary plays an enormous role in geometry as well. I believe in teaching and using the vocabulary as we proceed.
Grammar consists of the rules and conventions of writing in English. Sometimes people include punctuation in their expectations when they speak of “grammar”. There are rigorous grammar and punctuation expectations on standardized tests. I have had to teach these things for years. If there is a need, I can do it. There are many useful drill and practice websites which can be helpful as well.
I have prepared students for the ERB exam and administered it for twenty-seven years. I have analyzed results for parents every year. I have worked at a private school for which the ISEE was a required entrance test, and so I have analyzed and administered the ISEE as well.
I love to read- always have. But not everybody has this same experience. Having taught fifth and sixth grades for so long, I have compelled the children to read books which were a little above their level of comprehension. It is my feeling that this is a good thing, when reading a book together. At times like that, we can teach each other what to do when we encounter a tough new word, or concept. When reading independently, children need to feel confident with their understanding, so it is important to choose something a little less challenging. If your child is struggling with a challenging book assigned at school, a classic, or some other piece of literature which seems remote to their experience, I know that I can bring the book to life for them. I have done this for years. Along the way there are countless important lessons to be learned about how to deal with unknown words, and events which may seem alien and irrelevant. The goal would be to teach the student to hang in there and do this on their own.
Having taught grades three through six for thirty-seven years I am very familiar with the importance of phonemic awareness in learning. I have taught reading and many upper elementary students show a need to review phonic rules for both reading and spelling.
Prealgebra refers to problem solving which involves unknowns, but which does not require a student to actually know the methodology of algebra to solve the problem. Solutions are achieved through logic. Second and third graders solve prealgebraic problems when they are asked to identify the unknown in the equation 3 + Y = 5. By working with simple prealgebraic problems, students build confidence in solving problems with unknowns. In time they are able to hang in there with more complex problems. I will work with a student wherever they are to build confidence in their own ability in problem solving. If they are ready for algebra, I could teach them that as well. But algebra is not developmentally right for most fifth and sixth graders. More appropriately, they need to learn prealgebra, which uses logic to solve for unknowns.
Proofreading is the necessary second, third, and fourth step in learning to write. It is important, but it is not the most important part of writing. I believe in allowing the child to express herself first. If a keyboard is involved, it might mean having the adult sit at the keyboard, taking down precisely what the student dictates. The proofreading comes later, after the ideas have been allowed to emerge. When asking a child to proof a piece of writing, it is important not to overwhelm him with demands and criticism. I will select one or two important rules and challenge the student to make the changes. The proofreading process is an opportunity to learn, but there is a limit to how much you can get away with. The trick is knowing what it is you want to teach, and when to stop. On the web there are countless opportunities to practice proofreading for drill and practice.
Whatever you do in life, it is important to learn to present your ideas in a comfortable and audible manner in front of an audience. As a homeroom teacher, I have required students to present the results of their research in the form of PowerPoints, slide shows, debates and sometimes skits. Students would be required to prepare for these presentations with attention to various aspects of their presentation. They would be evaluated and expected to work to improve areas of weakness in their next presentation. In addition, I have directed a play every year that I have been in a classroom, which totals thirty-four. Skits and plays present wonderful opportunities to practice overcoming stage fright, and to learn to present material to an audience. I taught improvisational theater for six years for a summer program in Sudbury MA.
Reading is one of the most important tools in life, and one of the most difficult to learn. I have taught reading for my entire career, utilizing many of the techniques and much of the methodology taught in special education classes. It turns out that those methods are effective with all learners, not just those with special needs. I have worked with non-readers, children with dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, and countless others who have struggled with the written word. My experience has been primarily with upper elementary. For non-readers in particular, the challenge is to find the right book. Children need to find something they love to read, and pursue it. For all readers in upper elementary, the goal is to learn to read “actively”. Active reading is a technique in which the reader writes quick summaries in the margin as he/she reads. It is a prelude to note taking, and an exciting way to engage the mind while reading. Depending upon where the child is in the process, active reading can lead to wonderful discussions about, and insights into, the text. The goal is to become a more aware reader; aware of the subtleties of character and plot development. If your child is struggling with an assigned book from school, we can work with that, break it down into segments, and read “actively”. In the course of getting it done, we can discover some of the subtleties in the text which are frequently missed when read independently.
First of all, let it be known that ability in spelling has absolutely nothing to do with intelligence. I have met any number of good spellers who couldn't tie their shoes. There are techniques for memorizing the spellings of words for the test. But for me, spelling is integrally tied to meanings and roots. It helps to know families of words. If you understand what the roots of a word are, and which other words use the same roots, the spelling and the meaning become part of the word.
As a homeroom teacher of many years, I am familiar with the challenges of assignment expectations in upper elementary. I have coached countless students and parents in the habits and techniques of keeping on top of long term assignments and daily homework expectations.
As a homeroom teacher, I have been responsible for an endless stream of spelling and vocabulary tests. They're better than nothing, but I am not convinced I taught those kids a whole lot of vocabulary over those years. In the last few years we began working with Greek and Latin roots. That work was truly exciting, and it is my belief that the children gained a valuable foundation from which to work in building their vocabulary. Rather than memorizing the meanings of words for the test, the roots allowed the students to gain insight into the families of words which exist in the English language. They were learning many words at once. Roots are useful in getting control of spelling as well as meaning, and they are helpful in deciphering the meanings of unknown words in reading.
As a homeroom teacher, my responsibilities included teaching both expository and creative writing. Expository writing includes all writing to prove a point or explicate a subject. Fourth graders need to learn to answer questions by repeating the question in the answer. More elaborate responses include examples and explications of the text. Learning to write an effective paragraph, and learning to write a five paragraph essay are typical fourth and fifth grade writing skills. Fifth and sixth graders might be expected to cite directly from the text to prove a point. It is a complex skill which requires modeling and practice. I can help students with whatever reports or assignment expectations they might have. Along the way I can teach them what they need to know to become effective writers, whether it be expository writing or creative writing.