Well hello there!

Thank you so much for visiting Hedgehog Reader!  I have been teaching since the early 1990s, and I can’t believe that so many of my “little ones” are now all grown up…  many of them married with their own children! Among my most treasured gifts are notes from former students who let me know that I impacted their life in a positive way; if you are a teacher, you already know how wonderful that feels!

My experience as a teacher is as wide and deep as my passion is for education.  I started as a Gifted specialist (can you say, “Have roller cart, will travel?” – oh my goodness, you should have seen the bruises on my shoulders from my very heavy tote bags!).  Over the years I taught every grade from Kindergarten through 6th grade advanced mathematics, and have also served as an instructional coach and community college instructor in the teacher training program.  But my heart always takes me back into the classroom.  I recently returned to the classroom (after trying retirement – I was NOT ready to retire!) and am very happily teaching fourth-grade self-contained Gifted learners in sunny Phoenix, Arizona.

I love to collaborate with other educators!  Here is a picture of me with some of my very special Arizona teacher blogger friends; I feel so blessed to call these wonderful educators friends!

My husband Brad and I have three children – Stephanie, John, and Erick – and three beautiful grandchildren – Clara, Austin, and Avery.  My dear brother Scott (who was only a year younger than me) passed away in 2010, so his lads have a special place in our clan as well – Matt, Alex, and Evan.

Another favorite:  my beautiful homeland, Alaska.  I was born and raised in Fairbanks, the Golden Heart City, and we return often for visits.  Here I am in Anchorage with my uncle’s wife Lisa, my cousin Stacey, and our dear friend Kym.  I am dressed in a traditional Yupik summer parka known as a kuspuk.

My favorite college team is the Arizona State University Sun Devils.  Here I am with Mr. Hedgehog and our ASU cheerleaders at a football game. We had tons of fun at that game, but I must admit that my very favorite sport to watch is basketball – and my favorite basketball alum is James Harden 🙂

Here are a few more favorites:

TV Shows – Jeopardy!, God Friended Me, and Hallmark movies

Movie – “Elf”

Book – Frindle by Andrew Clements, followed closely by a mile-long list of faves

Genre – I don’t really have to pick, do I?  ðŸ™‚  High on my list are language-rich picture books that I can use with big kids as well as with littles, and deftly crafted middle-grade fiction…   

Food – I tend to prefer real, whole food, but I also have a wicked sweet tooth!  My favorite meal is breakfast, and I honestly get excited for my morning coffee!

Video Games – Tetris and old school Dr. Mario

Exercise – dance, walking, and kayaking

Pastimes – listening to classic radio programs (especially detective shows), reading and writing, putting together cute teacher outfits on a reasonable budget, decorating our home, traveling with Mr. Hedgehog, chilling with our family, solving puzzles (jigsaw, logic, and brain teasers), and going to the movies

Back to education…  My first mission is to create and nurture a kind classroom community, because the research is strong:  we humans learn best when we feel safe and valued.  Brain research drives a lot of what I do, but I also go with what my heart tells me – it’s a balance!  I absolutely love children’s literature, and books tend to be the backbone of (or at least pulled into) everything I teach.  I also adore STEAM (challenges that integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics), because I believe that children learn best when they are actively engaged in activities that mean something to them.  STEAM projects challenge learners to apply what they already know, and to employ new tools and applications to solve real-world dilemmas – the ultimate in creativity.  My mission is to make learning accessible, relevant, and fun!

I blog to share my passion for childhood, literature, and kind classrooms where teachers and children enjoy each other and learn together each day.  Please join me as I write about books, learning, and other things that are close to my heart.

I teach 5th Grade Gifted children in sunny Arizona. I love to learn, to read and write, and to nurture kind, creative, and effective classrooms! Please join me as I share children's literature, inspirational teaching ideas, and other things that are close to my heart. Read More