I was born and raised in the small town of Fox Lake, IL (a suburb North of Chicago near Wisconsin). In 2000, I attended Creighton University in Omaha, NE and graduated with a BA in History in 2004. In college, I ran the entire Intramural Sports Department and worked with the College World Series as well. Since my time at Creighton, I’ve taught in Omaha and Boston before moving to Denver where I’ve been teaching at WWA since 2007.Other notable achievements are working to design the National Children’s Museum in Washington DC and having 2 students place among the Top 10 in the National History Day competition.
My interests include sports of all kinds (playing, watching, coaching), swing dancing, trivia/pop culture, skiing, movies, television, music, and much more.
My class revolves around several concepts: active reading, participation, organization, and the underdogs of history. I only have 2 rules in my class: (1) Respect everything in the classroom (2) When in doubt, see rule #1
Active reading is the process of reading a selected sample & highlighting anything & everything important/interesting while also asking questions in the margins along the way. This takes a regular (and many students will say “boring”) reading assignment and makes it an involved process that is individualized to each student.
Participation is a key component in my classroom as well. Students think history is a boring subject without it, so I make it a point to involve the students as much as possible rather than talking to them all day. During activities, I expect students to provide creative and knowledgeable insight to the material. During lecture or readings, I will ask many questions that will hopefully instill discussion that goes beyond the information and into the students’ lives.
Organization is a necessity when it comes to history because without it, the class and subject will be very difficult. From Day One, I stress an easy and worthwhile note-taking skill called the LQF Format (Leads, Questions, Facts). In a nutshell, the students split the paper in half with one side devoted to taking notes and the other side used for writing any questions they have about what they wrote or bits of information they wish to tell themselves to research further.
Finally, at the start of the year in 7th & 8th Grade, we will dissect what the students believe constitute an “underdog.” From there, throughout the course of the year, the students will be asked to identify underdogs in history while also justifying their choices using the guidelines they set earlier in the year. This helps create a sense of flow to the information and ties everything together under one common theme (i.e. an underdog in WWII can be compared to an underdog from the Civil Rights Movement). It is also a great way to earn Extra Credit!
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