Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Debate club

I would enjoy the opportunity to bring my public relations experience, communications background, and history degree/training to the table as a debate coach or team assistant.

I was fortunate to work with award-winning coach Manuel Halkias, who teaches for Canton City Schools. This district may be famous nationally for football (and is even sponsored by Nike), but they are doing amazing things with this urban population of students in the debate arena!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

CPR and First Aid

As part of my work with IBH, the drug and alcohol rehab center located in Akron, Ohio, I keep my first aid and CPR training current.

I retain copies of all current background/FBI checks on file with Walsh University, as well as copies of my CPR and first aid certifications.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Highly qualified teacher

My teaching certification from Walsh University does indeed make me a highly qualified teacher for all Language Arts subjects, according to the state of Ohio (which has reciprocity with North Carolina).

The answer is yes; my specialized training in these areas allows me to stand in front of a classroom and offer instruction as a highly qualified teacher.

This great educational training aside, I think my real qualifications arise from the decade I've spent using the English language - as a journalist, writer, and public relations professional. The skills, experience and poise I've learned out in the field have so far been put to good use in all of my classroom experiences.

It's my hope to assist with my school's newspaper and yearbook, as those are areas where the students and I really come together in a sharing of passion for our craft.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blogging benefits to the classroom

Blogging has many classroom purposes, in my opinion as an emerging educator. In college I've created several blogs as teaching tools - on topics ranging from jurisprudential instruction strategies to the poetry of John Keats.

If deemed appropriate by my school district, I plan to have a classroom website built around a blog platform - where students (and parents) may go daily to see assignments, homework, and classroom activities.

Blogs are wonderful tools for fostering online communities rich with participation and exchange of ideas. This is a medium our kids know, respect, and use every day. I say let's capitalize on this enthusiasm, and build blogs and websites into the core of our Language Arts curriculum.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Annotation - a teaching strategy boosting test scores

What do you get when you take a large urban school district, add one dedicated teacher, and then supply them with the annotation teaching strategy for reading comprehension?

A radical boost in test scores, student performance and college preparation across the curriculum spectrum.

Mr. Halkias focuses on two works of fiction during each semester - and his students tackle them in-depth, and from every angle. Using annotation as a teaching strategy, his students take their understanding of literary devices and concepts to an entirely different level.

These are the skills demanded by standardized tests - and sought after by colleges and universities. The annotation strategy combined with a reading reduction strategy equals transferable, practical literary knowledge and extremely well-prepared students!

some suggested annotations:

sym = symbol
pat = pattern
ch = character
is = important scene
set = setting
voc = vocabulary
pov = point of view

social media in action - Facebook


There is a fascinating Language Arts teacher at Canton City Schools, Manuel Halkias, who has a deep rapport with his students. While these kids certainly won't "friend" their parents or most teachers on Facebook, they do trust Mr. Halkias on this popular social network.

Mr. Halkias actually monitors the students' Facebook status updates for use of his vocabulary words in their online postings! And guess what? The students do indeed use their vocabulary words in their status updates - putting their knowledge to practical use.

Students today are actually writing more than ever before; it's just that some of these mediums (texting, blogs, Facebook/Myspace) are frowned upon by academia. Mr. Halkias is realizing he can harnass the enthusiasm of his students, as well as capitalize on the popularity of social media.

Mr. Halkias also monitors his students' pages for signs of trouble or academic/social disturbances. If he thinks a student of his is in trouble, he pursues the appropriate channels - parents, counselors, etc. - much to the students' ultimate appreciation. They accept him as a friend knowing they trust him, and he is there to help.

- social media success, my mini case study by