My education certification is in both Early Childhood and Elementary Education with an emphasis in K - 8 Reading from The University of Iowa. I owned and operated my own preschool for thirty years. I have many Montessori math and science manipulatives to help children's understanding of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. I have binomial and trinomial cubes to help with beginning algebra. I do activities with Cuisenaire rods instead of using Montessori bead material, as well... [more]
I teach children how to use the dictionary. I have dictionaries and word books on different subject areas to help children with their writing and spelling. I use the new vocabulary words in sentences to demonstrate their context. For children who cannot find a word in the dictionary because they aren't able to spell adequately, I use a Webster Dictionary app (Learner's Dictionary), where a child can speak the word on an iPad, and the word listing comes on the screen, with its definition, different meanings, sample sentences, as well as its synonyms and antonyms.
When I went to school, we diagrammed sentences, and I thought they were fun puzzles. With students I have the whole series of beautifully illustrated books by Ruth Heller, including books about nouns, collective nouns, pronouns,verbs, adverbs, prepositions, interjections and conjunctions and adjectives. I use the Montessori materials, consisting of symbols for the parts of speech, that are taught in sequence. The children have a lot of writing practice.
I love to read and enjoy teaching it to children. With my early childhood (Pre-K and K) and elementary teaching certificate, I also have an endorsement in Reading for K - 8. I have had training in reading diagnosis, so I can assess the reading level, and determine the kinds of errors that a child makes, so I can target those skills. Most students need a combination of phonics work and readers, and enjoying picture books, in a shared reading situation. I use a patterned, predictable and rhymed picture books with a beginning reader. Shared reading favorites have been the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Wilhelms and also the series by Mary Ann Doberman, You Read to Me, I'll Read to You! I also combine reading and writing, making use of a movable alphabet.
When children have not yet learned to read and write, the children will draw a picture, and then the child dictates something about the picture while I write it down, using the children's own words. I start children with journal writing at a very young age. In the beginning, it might involve copy work. Oftentimes a child copies a poem or a song, or I give a sentence starter for the child to finish. I teach children how to construct a sentence. Before I expect children to write, I have children develop the muscles in their hand and wrist with various activities that develop their coordination to handle writing instruments, including using the Montessori Metal Insets and Frames. Children trace the shapes in a certain pattern, and fill them in with certain kinds of lines. I have children use cursive sand letters, and other tactile means.
One of the wall centerpieces of my home school is a map of the world that includes all the world flags. I also have a globe that sits prominently on top of the tote tray cabinet. I have additional maps for each continent, with countries unlabeled, and a labeled control map. I have all the labeled flags of the world on pegs and stands. The children place the flags on each country. We read books about children from all around the world and find the location on the map. We have many folk songs from around the world, do art projects inspired by world cultures. Sample resources in my library include: Children Just Like Me: A unique celebration of children around the world (Unicef); National Geographic Kids Ultimate Globetrotting World Atlas.
I love fine literature, and share my enjoyment of it with children. I have several thousand children's books of high quality in my personal library. I have entered each book in Filemaker data management program, so I can find a particular book. For each book, I have the author and illustrator's name, Horn Book and School Library Journal Reviews, themes and book summaries. I collect books that have been awarded Caldecott Medals and Newberry Awards. In addition to picture books and fiction, I have an extensive library of nonfiction, for all levels of reading. I use the Dewey Decimal System in order to find a book. I also have a bookcase of Beginner Readers.
I have had experience helping someone proofread his textbook for a new edition. I wrote a teacher manual that was published by Fearon, a division of Simon and Schuster. In addition, I have had a peer-reviewed article published in the professional journal, Young Children. I am able to spot grammatical and spelling errors, and to write concisely.
I took a semester course in History and Appreciation of Art at the University of Iowa. I give opportunities for art as part of the classroom environment. In addition, I expose children to fine art, exhibiting a masterpiece from the public library each month. Some of the children's resources for art appreciation in my library are the following: I Spay a Freight Train: Transportation in Art by Lucy Micklethwait; Great Painters by Piero Ventura; and a book by our famous Iowa artist, Grant Wood. We use masterpieces to inspire our own art, too. I have had the good fortune to be able to live in Bologna, Italy, during my husband's sabbaticals, and travel extensively throughout Europe, where I have seen and experienced the world's great masterpieces.
I currently tutor a student with all his homework, including math. We use the Everyday Mathematics series that has been adopted by the Iowa City Community School District. There are many games the series suggests for the various topics. In addition, I have a full spectrum of mathematics manipulatives, including the Montessori math materials in a step-by-step sequence. I also use literature that teaches math concepts as well as commercial math games.
At my state-licensed preschool, and now my home school, I offer many Elementary Science Study materials for children to explore at centers. Some materials I have Cuisenaire rods, Pattern Blocks, Geo Blocks, Mirror Cards, and Attribute Materials and Games and Classification. Children study nature and the environment in our Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom, where we have a permaculture landscape where we grow many kinds of berries, fruit trees and herbal ground cover. We have a garden, nature art area, block area, sand areas, place to dig in the dirt, an outdoor stage, water pump and water area, building area, gathering area. We study the weather, insects, and plants. We learn about living and non-living, life cycles. Many other topics are studied.
I have a current Iowa teaching certificate. I am authorized to serve in the following areas: K-6 Teacher Elementary Classroom, PK-K Teacher, PreKindergarten-Kindergarten Classroom, K-8 Reading. I have taught for 31 years, and have had additional training in the Orton-Gillingham remedial reading approach.
Phonics was emphasized in the reading courses I took for Elementary Education. I have many materials for teaching all levels of phonics. I have children learn the sounds of all the letters before they learn the letter names, and use objects for them to match with the beginning sound. The children then learn 3-letter CVC words, then four letter words with blends using the short vowels. Sight words are gradually introduced so the children may begin reading some phonic beginning readers. I follow the Jolly Phonics program, with its sequence of learning groups of letter sounds that are very distinguishable from each other and can be combined to form the most words. To add to the multi-sensory approach there are specific hand motions to do for each of the letter sounds. The children are taught to make each letter in a pre-cursive print. Later the children write the words with a movable alphabet.
I give children a work plan where they check off their choice in the different curriculum areas, and may also write in something they would like to do or study. The children are then held accountable, and put their work in a folder. I also give children an extended work time without interruptions, where they may move freely about the classroom. When I tutor a student I make sure they have a quiet place in which to work, with plenty of work area and as few distractions as possible. We divide up the homework time into smaller segments where the child may take a short break between them. I also teach children where to find the answers to their questions, including making use of the internet.
I have taught many children with special needs during the course of my thirty-two + years of teaching. I've participated in innumerable IEPs (Individual Education Plan). As a university student I took a 4 s.h. course in Special Education, and have taken many professional development classes on the subject in the years since my degree. I have the patience and cheery disposition to work with special needs. I break down each task into progressive steps in order for the child to succeed. I use manipulatives ("hands-on" materials) rather than worksheets.
I am currently tutoring a 6th grade boy with severe ADD/ADHD, have participated in the boy's IEP, and have had two sons who also have it, so I have a lot of empathy and background. With ADD/ADHD it is particularly important to have a very quiet place in which to do homework or study. Short study breaks are done in ten or fifteen minute intervals, according to the child. Having a routine and a planner are very important, as well as every day communication with the teachers at school. As I do with Dyslexia, I implement Brain Gym exercises, and the Learning Breakthrough Program by Balametrics, Inc. Some ADD/ADHD children do better if they can hold a "fidget" in one hand. I often give them a small ball of modeling beeswax that can be manipulated once children warm it up in their hands.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
In my elementary education degree program I took a course in Exceptional Children and more recently I have taken professional development classes on challenging behaviors. In my thirty years of teaching preschoolers, I had several that were in the autism spectrum. I currently tutor a 12-year-old who has autism and problems with sensory integration. There are techniques that I use that can help not only autistic children, but all children. Picture schedules or charts, like First/Then are very helpful. I also allow children to make as many choices as possible. I help children identify their feelings, learn life skills, break down tasks into smaller elements, teach social skills (giving children the appropriate words to say in different situations), some basic sign language. Some items are also useful to use with these children. I've used such things as a weighted vest, sandpaper letters and multiple tactile activities, fidgets, and so forth. It's very important to team up with families. I also use Brain Gym activities with all children, especially benefiting these children, to integrate the right and left hemisphere of the brain.
I taught in a Reading Clinic, a group of sixth graders who read at a second grade level. I found books that met both their interest level and reading level. I planned lessons that activated their various sensory avenues and was very successful. I have also learned how to use Brain Gym to activate both sides of the brain. They are very simple exercises and take very little time to do, such as Lazy 8's, cross crawl, Brain Buttons, and so forth. I also utilize the Learning Breakthrough Program from Balametrics, Inc. and have a CD and instructional booklet for "Catch a Brain Wave Fitness Fun.
Hard of Hearing
When I taught preschool, I taught the children some basic sign language, and integrated them with songs and finger plays. It was very useful for having a peaceful classroom at snack time. I own a dozen Signing Time dvds, that instruct all the children in an enjoyable way, led by two children that are deaf. I also use a device called a Toobalu that brings a child's voice directly to his or her ears. I have a set of photos that show a person making all the sounds of the alphabet with lips and tongue, along with a steel mirror for the child to check his or her own formation, to help match the photo.
I have had many years of teaching Handwriting Without Tears at my early childhood center. When I taught Kindergarten, we had handwriting every day using the Zaner-Bloser style. I am trained to also use the Montessori materials, first in giving children practice in many pre-writing skills to develop their pincer grasp and wrist flexibility such as using the metal insets to trace geometric shapes, both linear and curved, all the movements used in handwriting. I have cursive sandpaper letters, and a large board for children to write words in the sand. I also make use of handwriting apps, the Smart Board, and lined paper.