Welcome, Longfellow Lions!

Students, each school year is filled with so much promise among many new faces. I am honored and excited to be part of the team entrusted to help you learn and grow, fostering creative and critical thinking in today’s digital world.

Parents, thank you for sharing your child with me! When we work together to facilitate your student’s education, anything is possible. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, concerns, or recommendations.

Reading for pleasure outside of school has real and long-lasting benefits.”

― Jeffrey D. Wilhelm and Michael W. Smith

Reading for Pleasure

My students and I read independently, or for pleasure. Students select books of interest to them, and they practice reading and responding personally to enhance making meaning with the text. This opens doors of discovery and promotes growth as a reader; it increases fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and sense of sentence structure as well as the ability to infer, visualize, and make connections. These skills are critical for student success in all academic areas.

According to literacy experts such as Kylene Beers, former president of the National Council of Teachers of English, students need to practice reading just as they would practice anything else in which they want or need to improve. English education guru Nancie Atwell adds it is of paramount importance that students get into “the reading zone” regularly. What these two literacy advocates and so many others suggest is promoting independent reading and providing time in which to do so.

Consider this: the talent in Brazilian soccer can be attributed to the playing of futsal as a precursor to playing futbol because futsal players touch the ball far more frequently than soccer players. Metaphorically speaking, getting students to read and be engaged in the process through texts that are interesting and accessible to them gives them so many more touches with the ball before tackling difficult texts.

Here are a handful of resources hailing the importance of independent reading:

While I will provide time in the classroom for independent reading, it is essential students spend time reading at home, too. Need help encouraging your student to read? Regan McMahon offers some great tips in 9 Ways to Get Teens Reading.

We all have a voice. Some a whisper, some a roar. If you can roar, roar for others. If you can only whisper, keep trying. Every roar started small.”

― M.L. Shanahan

Student and Teacher Blogging

There’s no time like a pandemic, which kickstarted mass migration to distance education, to begin blogging with students. The push toward technology and need for creativity led me to launch a pilot program with a panel of eighth-graders who demonstrated a commitment to excellence. I also dragged my fellow eighth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Lentz, and a few of her students along for the ride. Okay, truth be told, she tagged along eagerly. And, after just one week, I found myself wondering why I had not embarked on this journey sooner!

The Benefits of Student Blogging

In addition to the seemingly obvious perks of putting young writers in front of a soon-to-be-published post — providing a creative outlet that promotes relationship building and presents young authors with an authentic audience — I found myself wondering about and, before long, researching the benefits of blogging. Here’s a few of the articles I found:

A Safe Place to Post

My students have long heard me hail the need to make our classroom a safe place, and the same holds true for our environment in cyberspace. In addition to monitoring their interaction with one another, I ensure all blogs are password protected for their safety.