I received my Bachelor of Arts from Case Western Reserve University in Humanities with a focus on literature and drama, my Masters from Bank Street College of Education in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, and my Doctorate from Columbia University, Teachers College in Curriculum and Instruction. I am teacher certified in Nursery-Grade 6 and have completed the Orton Gillingham training in reading instruction. Additionally, I studied writing at The Vermont College Program for Writing for Children and Young Adults. An educator for over 35 years, I have been a classroom teacher; university professor; curriculum consultant; learning specialist; and tutor, working with preschoolers through adults. “Differentiating’ instruction based on “alternative” assessments, I work with students with dyslexia, ADD/ADHD and Aspergers’ Syndrome as well as with “gifted” students. I am adept at recognizing both “I don’t have a clue.” and “getting it.” I bring passion to discovering which of the varied approaches, activities, and materials help my students move from “no clue..” to “got it.” Areas of expertise, with emphasis on the interactive nature of concept development and skill acquisition, include early reading and math; all levels and content areas of language arts; executive functioning skills (time management and organizational skills), and aligning instruction with state and national learning standards. I have traveled extensively and have lived in Scotland and Belgium. Other interests include writing (for children), swimming, biking, cooking, reading, and music.
Case Western Reserve University - Bachelors, Humanities: Literature and Drama
Teachers College at Columbia University - PhD, Curriculum and Instruction: Early Childhood
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
High School English
High School Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
Everyone knows and understands (not always the same) at least one element of what they are trying to learn. As a teacher, my role is to help each student navigate through all their "I don't knows" to even the smallest kernel of understanding, and then build on that to deepen and extend their understanding.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First, find out what the student knows, likes, and does well; what she sees as her challenges, and struggles; identify goals of our working together; and choose one thing to work on "today." Depending on the student's age, this conversation might include the parent.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By helping the student identify one discrete task at a time, for me to recognize the completion, and have her choose the next task. I will continually reinforce with comments such as "you read that chapter without my asking you. What will you do for next time?"
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Break it down into small parts until we find what she understands, build from there, and continually reinforcing what she knows and is able to do.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Have them tell me a little about themselves, what they like, are good at, and what they find difficult. For hesitant speakers, drawing, and then telling me about it helps to get the ball rolling.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Have them tell (or show) me the concept in a different context from the one in which she originally learned it. For example, if she is learning double digit addition I might ask her to "show me" groups of 10s and 1s with objects. With older students analyzing literature, I would ask them if they could think of an example of "isolation" in their own live.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Through multiple ways, assessing how she best learns including reviewing previous assessments and looking for any patterns in her "wrong answers."
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Depending on online or in person, the age, and the subject matter. Always something for writing, materials the student can use to demonstrate specific skills and concepts at varying degrees of difficulty (e.g. books, articles, blocks/shapes for younger children).
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Find something relatable to her own life and break it down until she finds something she does well.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Continually reinforcing what she knows and is capable of doing.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
First, I would identify the source of the struggle, for example, is it a decoding issue, vocabulary, or retention? Is there a difference in the comprehension level if the student reads herself or is read to? Once that is identified, my approach would be two-fold: do whatever will give the student a level of success and build up the area of difficulty in small parts. For example, reading or listening to one sentence at a time, and then discussing.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
By very careful observation, listening, and trial and error to find out what the student knows and how she learns.