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Sandra S.

Specializing in Reading, Math, Learning Disabilities

Specializing in Reading, Math, Learning Disabilities

$40/hour

  • 28 hours tutoring

  • Seneca Rocks, WV 26884

About Sandra


Bio

My teaching philosophy is simple: No student wants to fail. It is MY job to find the best way to present information that will help a student learn. If that means trying 6 different ways until the concept "clicks", I'll do it. I use a multi-sensory approach to instruction, developed over many years of teaching in various school settings, that employ hands-on activities, games, and techniques to help my students learn. And since the students that I typically teach have struggled in school,...

My teaching philosophy is simple: No student wants to fail. It is MY job to find the best way to present information that will help a student learn. If that means trying 6 different ways until the concept "clicks", I'll do it. I use a multi-sensory approach to instruction, developed over many years of teaching in various school settings, that employ hands-on activities, games, and techniques to help my students learn. And since the students that I typically teach have struggled in school, it's a pleasure to see their confidence climb right along with their academic abilities! In addition to working with my students, I enjoy helping their parents recognize the strengths inherent in their children - so often, parents of students who struggle are constantly faced with their children's challenges. They need to see and celebrate the many positive characteristics of their children!

I received my degree in elementary education from Michigan State University, have completed some graduate-level coursework in special education, and have worked with students with learning disabilities since I first began teaching. I've been honored with two awards for my teaching, one in public schools and the other in parochial schools. Most recently, I worked in a private school for children with learning disabilities. I am now retired from teaching, but my love for working with children - especially those who need a little extra help - has not retired!


Education

Michigan State University College of Education
Elementary Education
The University of Mary Washington
Graduate Coursework

Policies

  • Tutor’s lessons: In-person
  • Hourly Rate: $40
  • Rate details: My rate is subject to student's needs and ability to pay. So many services for students with special needs are very expensive and I do not want tutoring to be one of them!
  • Travel policy: Within 30 miles of Seneca Rocks, WV 26884
  • Lesson cancellation: 24 hours notice required
  • Background check passed on 5/20/2011

  • Your first lesson is backed by our Good Fit Guarantee

Schedule

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Subjects

Elementary Education

Elementary (K-6th),

Elementary (K-6th)

I have worked in elementary education for 17 years; nine of those years were spent as an inclusion teacher and the last five were spent in a highly-regarded private school for students with learning disabilities. During my first year of eligibility in a public school, I was chosen as my school's Teacher of the Year. I was also chosen as a recipient of the Diocese of Arlington's Seton Center Outstanding Teacher Award for "making significant contributions to students with special needs." In February 2008, my class was featured in The Washington Post's "Kidpost". In addition to holding a current Virginia teaching certificate in preschool through eighth grade, I have a provisional certificate in special education. I am currently completing my master's degree in special education at The University of Mary Washington.
Phonics,

Phonics

During my last five years of teaching, I taught in a highly-regarded private school for students with learning disabilities. My students (most of whom had not experienced success in public schools) included those with specific learning disabilities affecting language, reading, writing, and math. To help them learn to read, spell, and write, I used Orton-Gillingham strategies, of which phonics instruction was a large part. I have experience using Wilson methods, although I am not a Wilson-certified instructor.
Reading,

Reading

I use an Orton-Gillingham approach to reading, which is a multi-sensory method of incorporating listening skills, phonics, symbol-sound association, writing, and even spelling in a sequential, systematic manner. One success is used to build on the next; review provides reinforcement and confidence. Words that lack phonetic "sense" - such as "the" (it's not pronounced "/t/-/h/-/e/") are considered sight words that require memorization and practice. But sounding out words is not the sole way of teaching reading - if a student relies on that alone, she will struggle to read a passage and enjoy reading. So teaching how to read fluently and with expression is a key component to instruction, even at the beginning levels. Students learn to recognize familiar features in new words, such as two-letter combinations they're familiar with, in order to figure out what a word says. Emphasis is on building essential skills that increase ability and confidence in a student's reading.
Spelling,

Spelling

During the last five years, I have taught students with learning disabilities; most were students who had not experienced success in the public schools. My students included those with specific learning disabilities affecting language, reading, writing, and math. To help them learn to spell and write, I used Orton-Gillingham strategies, of which phonics instruction was a large part. I have experience using Wilson methods, although I am not a Wilson-certified instructor. Phonics instruction is the linking of specific sounds with their associated letters and letter combinations; for example, the sound /ay/ can be written as: 1. a-consonant-e (tame) 2. ai (daily) 3. ay (May) 4. ea (steak) 5. eigh (neighborhood) The benefit of teaching phonics is that it weaves across reading, spelling, written language, even math! For example, if I know that the written word "c-a-t" sounds like /kat/, I can read it (known as decoding), spell the spoken word "cat" (known as encoding), and write that part of the longer word "catacombs" because I recognize that "cat" was that word's first syllable. Phonics instruction also teaches students the six types of syllables. This helps them, again, with reading, spelling, and writing: 1. A "closed syllable" typically includes a short vowel sound and a consonant, such as "but" (an exception to this rule is "boat"). 2. An "r-controlled syllable" includes a vowel sound followed by an r, as in "author", "letter", "star", "dirt", and "hurt". Students with an understanding of these two syllables can listen to the spoken word "butter", identify that it consists of two syllables and identify each syllable (closed and r-controlled), and correctly write the word. When they see the unknown word "flitter", they have learned that twin consonants are divided, so the syllables in this word are "flit" and "ter", both syllables they are familiar with. They know to pronounce "flit" with a short "i" sound because it's a closed syllable, and they know that "ter" is an r-controlled syllable which tells them its pronunciation as well. To make sure that students have mastered the spelling patterns, I also ask them to spell nonsense words that follow the pattern(s) learned that week or previously. If we're learning that "dge" says /j/, but the students know that "ge", "gi", "gy", and "j" also say /j/, they need to remember that "dge" is used when preceded by a vowel. Consider the correct spelling of "lodge" vs. "loge". Usually "ge" says /j/ but in the second word, "loge", typically this would be pronounced as "loag" with the silent "e" making the "g" say its own name,/g/. I would assign these words: plidge, plenge,trodge, flenge, etc. I would ask students to write the correct spellings, check their work, and sit quietly. Then I'd ask them to underline the letter or letters that say /j/. Then, "Circle the vowel". And finally, "Remember the rules we've learned from this week. Check to make sure you used the correct form of /j/." Imagine the possibilities for reading and spelling when the students know the other four syllables! Isn't this neat? Spelling isn't some magical event that just "happens" for all students; there are specific rules which govern how words are divided and pronounced.
Study Skills,

Study Skills

In 1984, I was the director of the Learning Assistance Lab at the University of Texas, El Paso. In addition to assisting the students who visited our lab, I taught several courses of study skills to students at the college and to the provisionally admitted freshmen on the UTEP football team. I also conducted community workshops in Study Skills at local high schools in El Paso, teaching study skills to students and parents who attended. Feedback from those in attendance in the community workshops was especially gratifying; policemen and firemen thanked me for the information as they felt it would be very beneficial in department qualifying exams. Subjects taught in these classes included note-taking strategies, reading for comprehension, taking effective notes in textbooks, organizing class materials, time management, and test taking.
Vocabulary

English

Reading,

Reading

I use an Orton-Gillingham approach to reading, which is a multi-sensory method of incorporating listening skills, phonics, symbol-sound association, writing, and even spelling in a sequential, systematic manner. One success is used to build on the next; review provides reinforcement and confidence. Words that lack phonetic "sense" - such as "the" (it's not pronounced "/t/-/h/-/e/") are considered sight words that require memorization and practice. But sounding out words is not the sole way of teaching reading - if a student relies on that alone, she will struggle to read a passage and enjoy reading. So teaching how to read fluently and with expression is a key component to instruction, even at the beginning levels. Students learn to recognize familiar features in new words, such as two-letter combinations they're familiar with, in order to figure out what a word says. Emphasis is on building essential skills that increase ability and confidence in a student's reading.
Spelling,

Spelling

During the last five years, I have taught students with learning disabilities; most were students who had not experienced success in the public schools. My students included those with specific learning disabilities affecting language, reading, writing, and math. To help them learn to spell and write, I used Orton-Gillingham strategies, of which phonics instruction was a large part. I have experience using Wilson methods, although I am not a Wilson-certified instructor. Phonics instruction is the linking of specific sounds with their associated letters and letter combinations; for example, the sound /ay/ can be written as: 1. a-consonant-e (tame) 2. ai (daily) 3. ay (May) 4. ea (steak) 5. eigh (neighborhood) The benefit of teaching phonics is that it weaves across reading, spelling, written language, even math! For example, if I know that the written word "c-a-t" sounds like /kat/, I can read it (known as decoding), spell the spoken word "cat" (known as encoding), and write that part of the longer word "catacombs" because I recognize that "cat" was that word's first syllable. Phonics instruction also teaches students the six types of syllables. This helps them, again, with reading, spelling, and writing: 1. A "closed syllable" typically includes a short vowel sound and a consonant, such as "but" (an exception to this rule is "boat"). 2. An "r-controlled syllable" includes a vowel sound followed by an r, as in "author", "letter", "star", "dirt", and "hurt". Students with an understanding of these two syllables can listen to the spoken word "butter", identify that it consists of two syllables and identify each syllable (closed and r-controlled), and correctly write the word. When they see the unknown word "flitter", they have learned that twin consonants are divided, so the syllables in this word are "flit" and "ter", both syllables they are familiar with. They know to pronounce "flit" with a short "i" sound because it's a closed syllable, and they know that "ter" is an r-controlled syllable which tells them its pronunciation as well. To make sure that students have mastered the spelling patterns, I also ask them to spell nonsense words that follow the pattern(s) learned that week or previously. If we're learning that "dge" says /j/, but the students know that "ge", "gi", "gy", and "j" also say /j/, they need to remember that "dge" is used when preceded by a vowel. Consider the correct spelling of "lodge" vs. "loge". Usually "ge" says /j/ but in the second word, "loge", typically this would be pronounced as "loag" with the silent "e" making the "g" say its own name,/g/. I would assign these words: plidge, plenge,trodge, flenge, etc. I would ask students to write the correct spellings, check their work, and sit quietly. Then I'd ask them to underline the letter or letters that say /j/. Then, "Circle the vowel". And finally, "Remember the rules we've learned from this week. Check to make sure you used the correct form of /j/." Imagine the possibilities for reading and spelling when the students know the other four syllables! Isn't this neat? Spelling isn't some magical event that just "happens" for all students; there are specific rules which govern how words are divided and pronounced.
Vocabulary, Writing

Homeschool

Elementary (K-6th),

Elementary (K-6th)

I have worked in elementary education for 17 years; nine of those years were spent as an inclusion teacher and the last five were spent in a highly-regarded private school for students with learning disabilities. During my first year of eligibility in a public school, I was chosen as my school's Teacher of the Year. I was also chosen as a recipient of the Diocese of Arlington's Seton Center Outstanding Teacher Award for "making significant contributions to students with special needs." In February 2008, my class was featured in The Washington Post's "Kidpost". In addition to holding a current Virginia teaching certificate in preschool through eighth grade, I have a provisional certificate in special education. I am currently completing my master's degree in special education at The University of Mary Washington.
Reading,

Reading

I use an Orton-Gillingham approach to reading, which is a multi-sensory method of incorporating listening skills, phonics, symbol-sound association, writing, and even spelling in a sequential, systematic manner. One success is used to build on the next; review provides reinforcement and confidence. Words that lack phonetic "sense" - such as "the" (it's not pronounced "/t/-/h/-/e/") are considered sight words that require memorization and practice. But sounding out words is not the sole way of teaching reading - if a student relies on that alone, she will struggle to read a passage and enjoy reading. So teaching how to read fluently and with expression is a key component to instruction, even at the beginning levels. Students learn to recognize familiar features in new words, such as two-letter combinations they're familiar with, in order to figure out what a word says. Emphasis is on building essential skills that increase ability and confidence in a student's reading.
Spelling,

Spelling

During the last five years, I have taught students with learning disabilities; most were students who had not experienced success in the public schools. My students included those with specific learning disabilities affecting language, reading, writing, and math. To help them learn to spell and write, I used Orton-Gillingham strategies, of which phonics instruction was a large part. I have experience using Wilson methods, although I am not a Wilson-certified instructor. Phonics instruction is the linking of specific sounds with their associated letters and letter combinations; for example, the sound /ay/ can be written as: 1. a-consonant-e (tame) 2. ai (daily) 3. ay (May) 4. ea (steak) 5. eigh (neighborhood) The benefit of teaching phonics is that it weaves across reading, spelling, written language, even math! For example, if I know that the written word "c-a-t" sounds like /kat/, I can read it (known as decoding), spell the spoken word "cat" (known as encoding), and write that part of the longer word "catacombs" because I recognize that "cat" was that word's first syllable. Phonics instruction also teaches students the six types of syllables. This helps them, again, with reading, spelling, and writing: 1. A "closed syllable" typically includes a short vowel sound and a consonant, such as "but" (an exception to this rule is "boat"). 2. An "r-controlled syllable" includes a vowel sound followed by an r, as in "author", "letter", "star", "dirt", and "hurt". Students with an understanding of these two syllables can listen to the spoken word "butter", identify that it consists of two syllables and identify each syllable (closed and r-controlled), and correctly write the word. When they see the unknown word "flitter", they have learned that twin consonants are divided, so the syllables in this word are "flit" and "ter", both syllables they are familiar with. They know to pronounce "flit" with a short "i" sound because it's a closed syllable, and they know that "ter" is an r-controlled syllable which tells them its pronunciation as well. To make sure that students have mastered the spelling patterns, I also ask them to spell nonsense words that follow the pattern(s) learned that week or previously. If we're learning that "dge" says /j/, but the students know that "ge", "gi", "gy", and "j" also say /j/, they need to remember that "dge" is used when preceded by a vowel. Consider the correct spelling of "lodge" vs. "loge". Usually "ge" says /j/ but in the second word, "loge", typically this would be pronounced as "loag" with the silent "e" making the "g" say its own name,/g/. I would assign these words: plidge, plenge,trodge, flenge, etc. I would ask students to write the correct spellings, check their work, and sit quietly. Then I'd ask them to underline the letter or letters that say /j/. Then, "Circle the vowel". And finally, "Remember the rules we've learned from this week. Check to make sure you used the correct form of /j/." Imagine the possibilities for reading and spelling when the students know the other four syllables! Isn't this neat? Spelling isn't some magical event that just "happens" for all students; there are specific rules which govern how words are divided and pronounced.
Study Skills,

Study Skills

In 1984, I was the director of the Learning Assistance Lab at the University of Texas, El Paso. In addition to assisting the students who visited our lab, I taught several courses of study skills to students at the college and to the provisionally admitted freshmen on the UTEP football team. I also conducted community workshops in Study Skills at local high schools in El Paso, teaching study skills to students and parents who attended. Feedback from those in attendance in the community workshops was especially gratifying; policemen and firemen thanked me for the information as they felt it would be very beneficial in department qualifying exams. Subjects taught in these classes included note-taking strategies, reading for comprehension, taking effective notes in textbooks, organizing class materials, time management, and test taking.
Prealgebra, Writing

Math

Prealgebra

Most Popular

Elementary (K-6th),

Elementary (K-6th)

I have worked in elementary education for 17 years; nine of those years were spent as an inclusion teacher and the last five were spent in a highly-regarded private school for students with learning disabilities. During my first year of eligibility in a public school, I was chosen as my school's Teacher of the Year. I was also chosen as a recipient of the Diocese of Arlington's Seton Center Outstanding Teacher Award for "making significant contributions to students with special needs." In February 2008, my class was featured in The Washington Post's "Kidpost". In addition to holding a current Virginia teaching certificate in preschool through eighth grade, I have a provisional certificate in special education. I am currently completing my master's degree in special education at The University of Mary Washington.
Reading,

Reading

I use an Orton-Gillingham approach to reading, which is a multi-sensory method of incorporating listening skills, phonics, symbol-sound association, writing, and even spelling in a sequential, systematic manner. One success is used to build on the next; review provides reinforcement and confidence. Words that lack phonetic "sense" - such as "the" (it's not pronounced "/t/-/h/-/e/") are considered sight words that require memorization and practice. But sounding out words is not the sole way of teaching reading - if a student relies on that alone, she will struggle to read a passage and enjoy reading. So teaching how to read fluently and with expression is a key component to instruction, even at the beginning levels. Students learn to recognize familiar features in new words, such as two-letter combinations they're familiar with, in order to figure out what a word says. Emphasis is on building essential skills that increase ability and confidence in a student's reading.
Study Skills,

Study Skills

In 1984, I was the director of the Learning Assistance Lab at the University of Texas, El Paso. In addition to assisting the students who visited our lab, I taught several courses of study skills to students at the college and to the provisionally admitted freshmen on the UTEP football team. I also conducted community workshops in Study Skills at local high schools in El Paso, teaching study skills to students and parents who attended. Feedback from those in attendance in the community workshops was especially gratifying; policemen and firemen thanked me for the information as they felt it would be very beneficial in department qualifying exams. Subjects taught in these classes included note-taking strategies, reading for comprehension, taking effective notes in textbooks, organizing class materials, time management, and test taking.
Prealgebra, Writing

Other

Study Skills

Study Skills

In 1984, I was the director of the Learning Assistance Lab at the University of Texas, El Paso. In addition to assisting the students who visited our lab, I taught several courses of study skills to students at the college and to the provisionally admitted freshmen on the UTEP football team. I also conducted community workshops in Study Skills at local high schools in El Paso, teaching study skills to students and parents who attended. Feedback from those in attendance in the community workshops was especially gratifying; policemen and firemen thanked me for the information as they felt it would be very beneficial in department qualifying exams. Subjects taught in these classes included note-taking strategies, reading for comprehension, taking effective notes in textbooks, organizing class materials, time management, and test taking.

Special Needs

ADHD,

ADHD

I have five years of experience in a private school setting for students with learning disabilities and related disorders, including ADD/ADHD. I provided written feedback to parents, physicians, and other professionals to help determine the success of, or need to modify, medication and/or behavior modification protocols. In order to help students with ADD/ADHD achieve academic success, I use strategies such as: - hands-on, engaging instruction - shorter periods of instruction alternating with more active practice - periodic breaks as needed - shorter work assignments; once students have shown proficiency in a concept, practice problems are limited, for example, to five rather than ten problems for homework - limited information presented in any written format; this allows for fewer distractions and helps focus the students' attention on a single concept at a time - daily review to sustain mastery It is often the simple understanding of the needs of the student with ADD/ADHD and prompt responses to those needs that creates an atmosphere which enables students to flourish. When students realize that their teacher truly understands ADD/ADHD and is working hard to help them succeed, any anxiety they feel in an academic setting tends to disappear. In addition to holding a current Virginia teaching certificate in preschool through eighth grade, I have a provisional certificate in special education. In 2006, I was chosen as a recipient of the Diocese of Arlington's Seton Center Outstanding Teacher Award for "making significant contributions to students with special needs." I am currently completing my master's degree in special education.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD),

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

I have five years of experience in a private school setting for students with learning disabilities and related disorders, including those on the higher end of the autism spectrum. I provided written feedback to parents, physicians, and other professionals to help determine the success of, or need to modify, medication and/or behavior modification protocols. In order to help these students achieve academic success, I use strategies which include: - hands-on, engaging instruction - systematic, sequential instruction - concrete introductory lessons using manipulatives whenever possible, gradually leading to more traditional methods of practice and maintenance - limiting the number of practice problems; once these students have shown they understand a concept, daily review will help cement that knowledge further. - very concrete language that cannot be misinterpreted or cause confusion In my experience, the student who is on the autism spectrum is quite intelligent, very knowledgeable about a favorite topic, and looks at the world somewhat differently than I do. Rather than insist on my students doing things "my way", I strive to learn what patterns they are seeing, how they are arriving at their understanding of a new concept. I'll rephrase what they've explained in different words to make sure I've accurately interpreted their perceptions. If I'm wrong, they're quick to let me know! And I'll engage in information-gathering so that I see a problem and/or its solution through their eyes. Being able to communicate effectively with my students on the spectrum is essential to helping them grow as learners. I NEVER engage in "power struggles" with my students; I seek mutually-acceptable solutions to any problem and understand that I am not always correct! My students have responded well to this attitude and have learned to use precise terms to convey meaning to their peers as well as to their teacher. By a sincere effort at understanding the needs and personalities of my students on the autism spectrum, I help to create an atmosphere which enables these students to flourish. When they realize that their teacher truly understands them and is working hard to help them succeed, any anxiety they feel in an academic setting tends to disappear. I am also very patient and accepting, which helps these students relax in social settings where they tend to experience limited success. A quick smile and a sense of humor works wonders with these unique students. In addition to holding a current Virginia teaching certificate in preschool through eighth grade, I have a provisional certificate in special education. In 2006, I was chosen as a recipient of the Diocese of Arlington's Seton Center Outstanding Teacher Award for "making significant contributions to students with special needs." I am currently completing my master's degree in special education.
Dyslexia,

Dyslexia

I have five years of experience teaching students with learning disabilities and related disorders; most of these students were not having academic success in the public school setting. My students included those with specific learning disabilities affecting language, reading, writing, and math. I provided written feedback to parents, physicians, and other professionals to help determine the success of, or need to modify, medication and/or behavior modification protocols. In order to help students with learning disabilities achieve success in school, I use strategies which include: - hands-on, engaging instruction - systematic, sequential instruction - clearly defined lessons so that students know exactly what each lesson will entail - concrete introductory lessons using manipulatives whenever possible, gradually leading to more traditional methods of practice and maintenance - language and written material that cannot be misinterpreted or cause confusion - a greater emphasis on the terminology of each subject leading to fluency in the language of each one (Look in the glossary of your child's math book to see the importance of understanding and using the terminology of math: is the answer to "Write the product of 4 and 6" 10 or 24?) - shorter work assignments; once students have shown proficiency in a concept, practice problems are limited, for example, to five rather than ten problems for homework - limited information presented in any written format; this allows for fewer distractions and helps focus the students' attention on a single concept at a time - more time on task; students with learning disorders need about seven times more practice with a concept than their peers before mastering it - daily review to sustain mastery - use of timer to help students begin an assignment within twenty seconds and to stay on task for short stretches of sustained attention - frequent breaks as needed - structuring class time into smaller segments of instruction per lesson period, such as three minutes quick review, three minutes timed drills, five minutes direct instruction, five minutes of practice with partners, three minutes independent practice, etc. - alternating the type of lesson - large group, small group, partner discussion, table discussion, independent practice - immediate feedback and occasional "reward" for on-task behavior - using games to review and reinforce lessons - using color to help with organization (math is green, science is orange, etc.) - use of "interactive notebook" as the student's primary text in a course of study - periodic cleaning of desks to locate key information needed to study - use of memory aids such as mnemonics, songs, movement to illustrate a concept It is often the simple understanding of the needs of the student with dyslexia and prompt responses to those needs that creates an atmosphere which enables them to flourish. When students realize that their teacher truly understands dyslexia and is working hard to help them succeed, the anxiety they feel in an academic setting tends to disappear. I am also very patient and work with each student's strengths to find the perfect way to introduce and teach a concept. Sometimes this leads to creating a completely new method of teaching a concept. In addition to holding a current Virginia teaching certificate in preschool through eighth grade, I have a provisional certificate in special education. My area of specialty is in learning disabilities; I thoroughly enjoy teaching these students who learn differently. I also enjoy working with their parents so they understand that dyslexia need not impose limits on the goals their children set for themselves. In 2006, I was chosen as a recipient of the Diocese of Arlington's Seton Center Outstanding Teacher Award for "making significant contributions to students with special needs." I am currently completing my master's degree in special education.
Phonics,

Phonics

During my last five years of teaching, I taught in a highly-regarded private school for students with learning disabilities. My students (most of whom had not experienced success in public schools) included those with specific learning disabilities affecting language, reading, writing, and math. To help them learn to read, spell, and write, I used Orton-Gillingham strategies, of which phonics instruction was a large part. I have experience using Wilson methods, although I am not a Wilson-certified instructor.
Special Needs,

Special Needs

I have five years of experience in a highly-regarded private school for students with learning disabilities and related disorders. My students included a wide variety of students with special needs affecting their acquisition of language, reading, writing, and math. The students came to us with anxiety, Asperger's, autism spectrum disorders, some hearing impairments, auditory processing delays, etc. You get the idea! In addition to holding a current Virginia teaching certificate in preschool through eighth grade, I have a provisional certificate in special education. My area of specialty is in learning disabilities; I thoroughly enjoy teaching these students who learn differently. I also enjoy working with their parents so they understand that dyslexia need not impose limits on the goals their children set for themselves. In 2006, I was chosen as a recipient of the Diocese of Arlington's Seton Center Outstanding Teacher Award for "making significant contributions to students with special needs." I am currently completing my master's degree in special education.
Study Skills

Study Skills

In 1984, I was the director of the Learning Assistance Lab at the University of Texas, El Paso. In addition to assisting the students who visited our lab, I taught several courses of study skills to students at the college and to the provisionally admitted freshmen on the UTEP football team. I also conducted community workshops in Study Skills at local high schools in El Paso, teaching study skills to students and parents who attended. Feedback from those in attendance in the community workshops was especially gratifying; policemen and firemen thanked me for the information as they felt it would be very beneficial in department qualifying exams. Subjects taught in these classes included note-taking strategies, reading for comprehension, taking effective notes in textbooks, organizing class materials, time management, and test taking.

Summer

Elementary (K-6th),

Elementary (K-6th)

I have worked in elementary education for 17 years; nine of those years were spent as an inclusion teacher and the last five were spent in a highly-regarded private school for students with learning disabilities. During my first year of eligibility in a public school, I was chosen as my school's Teacher of the Year. I was also chosen as a recipient of the Diocese of Arlington's Seton Center Outstanding Teacher Award for "making significant contributions to students with special needs." In February 2008, my class was featured in The Washington Post's "Kidpost". In addition to holding a current Virginia teaching certificate in preschool through eighth grade, I have a provisional certificate in special education. I am currently completing my master's degree in special education at The University of Mary Washington.
Reading,

Reading

I use an Orton-Gillingham approach to reading, which is a multi-sensory method of incorporating listening skills, phonics, symbol-sound association, writing, and even spelling in a sequential, systematic manner. One success is used to build on the next; review provides reinforcement and confidence. Words that lack phonetic "sense" - such as "the" (it's not pronounced "/t/-/h/-/e/") are considered sight words that require memorization and practice. But sounding out words is not the sole way of teaching reading - if a student relies on that alone, she will struggle to read a passage and enjoy reading. So teaching how to read fluently and with expression is a key component to instruction, even at the beginning levels. Students learn to recognize familiar features in new words, such as two-letter combinations they're familiar with, in order to figure out what a word says. Emphasis is on building essential skills that increase ability and confidence in a student's reading.
Study Skills,

Study Skills

In 1984, I was the director of the Learning Assistance Lab at the University of Texas, El Paso. In addition to assisting the students who visited our lab, I taught several courses of study skills to students at the college and to the provisionally admitted freshmen on the UTEP football team. I also conducted community workshops in Study Skills at local high schools in El Paso, teaching study skills to students and parents who attended. Feedback from those in attendance in the community workshops was especially gratifying; policemen and firemen thanked me for the information as they felt it would be very beneficial in department qualifying exams. Subjects taught in these classes included note-taking strategies, reading for comprehension, taking effective notes in textbooks, organizing class materials, time management, and test taking.
Writing

Test Preparation

SOL

SOL

While teaching in the public schools, I was a third-grade teacher. Third grade students in Virginia take their first Standard of Learning (SOL) assessment. I taught this grade level the very first year the SOL test was administered and it's been interesting to see how it changed over the years! I used to teach Study Skills at the University of Texas at El Paso, so I taught my third graders the same strategies I'd taught my provisionally-admitted freshman. This started from the very first day of school. As teachers became more aware of the format of the tests, I was able to give my students homework, classwork, and assessments that resembled the SOL format, right down to the numbered phrases, the vertical line in the center of the page, the letter choices on multiple choice tests (ABCD FGHJ), and the stop sign at the end of each assignment. I wanted to make sure that my students would not be tested on the format, or their test-taking abilities, but on the content of the tests. The only difference between the format of my assignments and the SOL was the use of cartoon and speech bubbles on my papers. I used those to remind students of the test-taking techniques I'd taught them - for many students, being aware of when to use those strategies AS THEY WERE NEEDED helped to make those strategies automatic. When confronted with a multiple choice question, I'd include a cartoon with the reminders for correctly answering that sort of question, such as "Did you look at ALL of the answer choices before you picked your answer?" or "If you're not sure of the answer for this question, and two of the answers sound exactly the same, don't choose either one - pick another answer." At the end of a test, I'd have a ferocious-looking T. Rex asking, "You DID remember to double check your answers, didn't you?" To help my students master - and remember - the information they'd learned throughout the year, I used frequent review of prior material (including K-2, since they were also being tested on that material in third grade) and I taught memory strategies, such as mnemonics. I did NOT waste my students' instructional time with "practice" SOL materials. There was no need to - they'd been exposed to it all year long! I also worked with the Social Studies coordinator for our district and taught professional development classes specifically for SOL practice and instruction.

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