Preschool, K, 1st, 2nd, and 4th
Quantum Academy at the Nicolaysen Center, Escondido Union School District
Local Writing Project:
San Marcos Writing Project (SMWP)
Awards & Recognition
- Escondido Union School District Teacher of the Year 2011-2012
- San Diego County Teacher of the Year 2012
- Semi-finalist for California Teacher of the Year 2012
- Co-Founder of #caedchat
- Edcamp San Diego Organizer
- Google Certified Innovator
- SMWP Teacher Consultant
The summer I participated in SMWP for the first time was also the summer I found out I was pregnant with my first child. Since then, I have come so far as a teacher leader and now have an eleven-year-old daughter. After eleven years of working with such an inspiring team of teacher leaders through the SMWP, I have found a network of educators who are passionate about what they do and who are dedicated to becoming better. We continue to learn together through evening meet-ups and a phenomenal Facebook group where resources are shared. This is how we become better, by staying connected to each other. I firmly believe we are better when we work together.
I have always dabbled in writing. I can remember begging my first grade teacher to allow me to share my stories with the entire class. She lovingly obliged. I toyed with writing poetry in high school and even co-published a book my freshman year of college. Yet, I really came to know myself as a writer through SMWP. Allowing me time to write, reflect, and share with other educators through the project took my writing to another level. It combined two of my passions: writing and teaching. As a result, I now run my own website—AppEducation.com—where I blog about how I integrate technology into my classroom to inspire student creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. I also began an educator blogger’s movement on Twitter called Share #YourEdustory where teachers from all over the world are inspired to share the story of their classroom. I truly believe, through writing, we have the ability to change the way the public views educators and public schools. The Writing Project has helped me to gain confidence in using my writer’s voice for inspiring change in education.
I believe teacher leadership is something that grows over time. It begins right inside your classroom where you inspire children to be creative, confident, and crave learning. But to be a true teacher leader, staying inside your classroom walls is just not enough. Having the courage to open your door, share what you do, and inspire other teachers is what being a teacher leader is all about. This is what the Writing Project is all about, too. It is about sharing, connecting, and building relationships that will not only impact you as a teacher, but will ultimately impact the learners inside your classroom. In this day and age where making connections with other teachers is just a click away and only requires less than 140 characters (Twitter) anyone with passion, drive, and courage can become a leader. I am overwhelmed by the amount of support and inspiration I get from other educators on Twitter. Being a teacher leader in the 21st century means becoming a connected educator.
I believe writing is a form of art and highly personal. Putting your ideas and beliefs out there for the world to read is an act of bravery. As a result, I establish trust with my students and build a classroom culture where risk taking is honored. Also, understanding audience is critical to the writing process. Students in my classroom are able to gain a better understanding of audience through online blogging. Students in my classroom are able to share their writing through their blogs and perhaps the best part about student blogging is seeing the pride my students feel when their blog posts receive comments. Blogging has given my students a new sense of purpose and love for writing.
I am going to go outside of the box here and recommend a book that is not necessarily a book about the teaching of writing, but rather a book about being creative. As part of my research for a new innovative school I helped design, I read a book called Creative Confidence written by Tom and David Kelly. This book inspires everyone to tap into their creative side through strategies to help promote innovation, risk-taking, going from planning to action, and building one’s creative confidence.