Allow me to introduce myself!

Hello!  For my first-ever blog post, I thought it only right to share a bit about myself!  This fall I will begin my 15th year of teaching.  I currently teach ESL, although my teaching experiences include 2nd grade classroom teacher and Title I Reading teacher.  I teach in an elementary school in Nebraska with a very diverse population.  I am one of three ESL teachers in our school, and I currently work with the upper elementary students (3rd-5th graders).

After teaching pull-out ESL for ten years, my district switched to a co-teaching model.  This required some adjustment for all of us, but thanks to great colleagues, I really enjoy my various roles within each classroom I visit throughout the day.  I co-teach in about five classrooms, primarily in the area of language arts.  (That's why most of my posts will be related to ELA.)

Do any of you watch The Next Food Network Star?  The Food Network executives are continually reminding the competitors to develop and focus on their "point of view".  Well, I thought about that as I tried to come up with a creative name for my blog.  I arrived at Crafting Connections based on the fact that I always try my best to help my students create meaningful and memorable connections between their prior knowledge and new information.  I believe connections are important for all students, but critical for English language learners as they encounter academic vocabulary and advanced language structures as they strive to master academic content.  One of my favorite (and most successful!) ways to help students build these connections is through hands-on craft activities (a.k.a. craftivities).  Not only do my upper elementary students enjoy completing these activities, I have also found that they remember the vocabulary and content associated with each craftivity long after they complete the project!  It is not unusual for me to hear one of my students remind a classmate of the "synonym rolls" or the "theme-filled cupcakes" that we made earlier in the year.  (In fact, I just LOVE when that happens!)  Anyway, stay tuned as I develop my Crafting Connections point of view with future posts!      

Deb, Brooke, Troy, Kayla
As for my life outside of school, I enjoy reading, hiking, and baking.  My husband, Troy, and I have two wonderful daughters.  Kayla is almost 9 and Brooke is 6.  We like to play board games and go on bike rides- especially if a stop at DQ is part of the plan!

Thank you for taking the time to find out about me.  Feel free to drop me an email sometime.  I would love to learn about you, too!  One of the reasons I decided to finally start a blog is to build connections with teaching colleagues throughout the country (maybe even the world!)

Finally, I'd be honored to have you as a follower!  I love following my favorite bloggers through BlogLovin' (I have a link to it on the right side of this page).  If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to use it.  It is such a handy way to keep up on all your favorite blogs!  Please visit me here again in a day or two, when I will be giving a craftivity to all my blog followers!

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