I am very happy to be teaching math and computer science at UMS. This year will be my 10th year teaching math at our wonderful school. I love innovation in teaching and I very geekily love math, looking forward to math teacher conferences the way some people look forward to Disneyland. In my classroom, students don't sit back and take notes, they are solving problems, using tools, trying out ideas, and collaborating. My classroom can be noisy, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
I have two sons who came through Union Middle school a few years ago. They enjoyed band and Project Lead the Way, as well as the world-famous teachers (ahem) that we have here. Both are recent graduates of Cal Poly, one as a statistics major and one in computer science. Of course, I couldn't be more proud of them!
Teaching is a second career for me. In my past life, I was actually a business owner. I started a coffee company in 1994 with a little coffee cart and a lot of big ideas. After ten years, I had three locations, a catering business and a roasting facility. It's a long story for another time... I began teaching because I always found myself volunteering and working in the classroom as my kids went through school. I found that working with kids was always the thing I put the most energy into, and loved best. And it didn't help that almost all my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles - you name it, were teachers. In fact, my mom taught first grade and my dad taught math at the college level, so I guess I landed in the middle.
I'm a banana slug. UCSC is where I earned my bachelor's in physical anthropology (hence the coffee career). For my graduate work, I attended SJSU in a fabulous master's/credential program called the Critical Research Academy. There, I completed my multiple subject and my master's in educational research (MA Ed), as well as my single subject in mathematics. My area of research is experiential education, specifically role-play and dramatization in mathematics. For example, I have studied what happens when students do things like become coordinates on an X/Y axis, and how that might influence their engagement and comprehension. My belief is that if students have the opportunity to become active in their learning environment, they will have a much more powerful learning experience.
What does this mean for my students? It means that I will include in my lesson plans both direct instruction as well as hands-on activities. I will include tasks that require higher level thinking skills and require students to think about their thinking. I look forward to working with my students this year!