Welcome Ospreys to 5th grade English Language Arts. I am excited about the new school year and using what I have learned from the Lucy Calkin's conference about Reading in New York over the summer in the classroom. Last year was a first for me at Kittredge, and teaching 5th grade. I feel like I have landed in "Teacher Heaven"! The motivation, creativity, curiosity and youthful joy has been amazing, and also the support from the parents both in and outside of the classroom. I love the Kittredge community, and I wake up every day excited to come to work.
My teaching career has been exciting and varied. I graduated from the University of Cape Town in South Africa in 1986, where I grew up and went to school. I majored in English and Geography. I started teaching at Camps Bay High School teaching Geography. Then I decided to travel and see the world, so I went to England where I taught at the Hertfordshire and Essex Girls' High School and taught O and A level Geography, and got to see a lot of England and Europe while I was there for two years. I returned to South Africa and taught at several schools, before coming to America as a Visiting International Faculty teacher in 2000 as part of a cultural exchange program for a period of 6 years. I spent 17 years at Sequoyah Middle School in Dekalb County, teaching 6th and 7th grade on the gifted and high achievers' team and loved the cultural diversity of the students there.
During that time, I met my husband Jim, a cinematographer, at book club, got married and we have a son Dexter who is now 12 and in the 7th grade. I also have a stepdaughter Skye, 19 who will study Fine Arts in Amsterdam this year, and a stepson Zane, 17 in high school. As a family we love to travel and spend time in the outdoors camping and hiking. We have a cat, Jessie, a springer spaniel Charley and 5 free-range chickens. Over the summer we are off to Maine for three weeks, and my wish is to see a moose and a bear, and to go sailing on a tall ship.
This year I look forward to teaching you all. I love the enthusiasm and insight of your young minds. There is so much positive and creative energy at Kittredge and I am looking forward to channeling this into lots of reading, writing, listening and speaking in the classroom. I love to explore cross-curricular connections with the other subjects in the ELA classroom and to do authentic assignments that are relevant to what is going on around us right now! I really want each student to have a voice that they feel is being heard. Because of this, students will spend time reading each other’s work and giving each other positive feedback. Through reading and reflecting, writing, listening and speaking every student can be an advocate for themselves and for change. This year I hope that every student has fun learning, develops self-confidence and independence, and shows academic and personal growth as we explore more complex texts and writing tasks.
Parents and guardians, I look forward to meeting you and getting to know you all at the many celebrations of learning opportunities we will have at Kittredge this school year. Please do not hesitate to contact me concerning your student should the need arise.