logoProfessional banner


Howard Zinn
Historian Howard Zinn gives a lecture.

Historical Ranch
Primary resources like this picture of a ranch in Utah
can provide valuable clues for understanding history.


The historian Howard Zinn once said, “you can’t stay neutral on a moving train.”  This quote represents what students will encounter in my classroom.  Graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 1994 with a B.S. in Creative Advertising, the teaching bug found me late in my career.  In fact, it would not be until I lived in El Salvador in 2001 that I began to create a new life for myself. While there, I learned to communicate in Spanish, I became enamored with the latino culture, and I decided to bring this knowledge to others. The eventual culmination of these experiences manifested in my desire to be a teacher of U.S. and World history.  Since then, I have received an M.A. in History, and an M.Ed. in secondary education from Northern Arizona University.  This experience has left me with the belief that students must foster their questioning ability if they are to become critical thinkers. 

In my teaching I emphasize:

• Critical Thinking
• Writing Skills
• Presentation Skills
• Cultural Awareness
• Intellectual Curiosity
• Citizenship
• Technology
• Listening Skills

In graduate school, I participated in a variety of classes and discussions that provided me with valuable experiences and knowledge that will allow me to succeed as a history teacher.  Specifically, I have:

• Developed lesson plans using primary documents in a teaching history class.
• Participated in dozens of activities that explore group work.
• Studied the beliefs, behaviors and actions of secondary students in an Educational Psychology class.
• Written a study on diversity and English-only laws and how these issues were confronted by a bilingual charter school in Arizona.



Classroom Management Philosophy:

Classroom management should be a discursive construction, where students and teachers work together to create a positive learning environment.  It is my belief that students at the 11th grade level have the cognitive and affective skills necessary to build an environment based on respect, responsibility and initiative.  Accessing these attributes is possible through a three step approach that is based on listening, understanding and creating and is then augmented by student participation.  This medium to low control approach for classroom management builds directly from scholars such as Alfie Kohn, Richard Curwin, Allen Mendler and Harry Wong.


In order for a classroom environment to operate efficiently and effectively, students and teachers must listen.  If a student or teacher does not listen during interactions, communication  breaks down.  Therefore, in this class, listening is the primary responsibility of everyone involved in a positive learning environment.  Delineating the consequences and rewards for listening, however, will be determined by the students in each class.  By allowing student to create these parameters, they will be more likely to adhere to the rules of the classroom.  In the words of Mendler and  Curwin, students will “learn that they have some control of the events that happen to them.”


Although listening is a key component in the creation of a positive learning environment, listening without understanding leaves students confused and unengaged.  For this reason, the second step in classroom management emphasizes comprehension.  Acting in a respectful andcourteous manner, students are encouraged to ask questions and participate in discussions.  Comprehension will then be assessed on a regular basis through a variety of different assessment strategies.  In addition, although students are responsible for understanding content, they will also be accountable to a peer learning group where content can be discussed every Friday.


With effective listening and comprehension skills, students will be expected to participate in creating a positive classroom environment.  Building from Alfie Kohn’s idea that teachers create supportive environments where “students participate fully in solving problems, including problems with behavior,” this class operates under the assumption that students must develop and implement their own guidelines for conduct in order to behave in an appropriate and professional manner.  For this reason, the first week of class will be devoted to group reflection on how to run this classroom.  At the end of the week, students will create a contract that delineates the rules and procedures of the classroom.  


Like the students, parents are encouraged to participate in the creation of a positive learning environment.  To facilitate their involvement, students will submit monthly self-reflections to their parents that comment on their ability to listen, understand and create in the classroom.  Parents will then be responsible for reviewing these reflections with their children and encouraging them to improve in any areas they see as deficient.  This will not only give parents an invaluable way of measuring their students success in the classroom, but also provide a benchmark for understanding how your child interacts with other students and their teacher. 



| Creations | Contact Us |