-my work as a classroom teacher
-my work as a contracted artist-educator in a workshop setting
-my professional resume

"When you were rubbing those stones it sounded like crackling light.  It was like I could hear a rainbow singing."  --Mawel, age 9

I believe that
listening is a primary act of literacy. 
So in my classroom you will hear…
the wind in the leaves,
the earth humming on its axis,
and the light arriving at the windows.
You will also hear
a community gasp in wonder,
sigh in disbelief, and cry with joy (but not dismay).
You will hear a full range of tones in our voices:
laughter, sorrow, anger, forgiveness, shouts and whispers.
All have a place in the sound of our learning.

I teach with my students before me.
Looking at children listening, and listening to them looking,
I defer to their wisdom but at times refer to my own.

I revere innocence and pledge myself to ensure
that it's loss is as gradual and painless as possible.
In their innocence, children are like the plants and animals.
For this reason, the natural world will always lead to and from our classroom.

The intellect and the imagination are nothing without each other.
We will think creatively, and thoughtfully create.
Learning is a negotiation.  All voices matter. 
Questions must prevail, including my own.
Each day must end with a mystery and begin with some wonder.

I believe in the hundred languages of children.
Each of us will wear many hats and we will often trade shoes.
I will help my students see that the future is important.

Imagine me as a guide along a footpath. 
Sometimes speaking expertly about the things I've passed
and contemplated many times before.
Sometimes noticing a change in the landscape or some new color blooming.
Other times I pause as something unfamiliar is pointed out to me. 
I walk alternately in front, behind, and alongside my fellow hikers,
depending on the weather and the terrain.

How I Teach

My favorite sounds in nature, for as long as I can remember, have been the wind in leaves and the hiss of surf receding from the shore and raking stones up in its froth.  Sometime around 1992, I started truly listening.   After a decade of pursuing sound in the environment, recording it, manipulating it, giving it context in performance, and so on…I grew to realize that a big part of what I had become interested in was the way in which people listen.  My work as a teacher began in a workshop setting with the aim of giving children opportunities for exploring sound and listening actively, creatively, and with wonder, to the world around them. 
I now think of listening as the first act of literacy.

In my classroom, teaching and learning are filled with wonder.  Creativity produces knowledge and it is essential for me that my students flourish creatively as well as academically. I use artistic practices as a strategy for teaching and learning in all subjects.  It is imperative that my instruction provides opportunities for my students to create meaning by relating their experiences out in the world to the content of their classroom lessons. I encourage my students to value their experiences and to use the classroom as a laboratory for looking at life.  I encourage experimentation and risk-taking.  I care deeply for the natural environment and in order to pass this onto my students I give them authentic experiences beholding the wonders of nature in the field.  Just the same, I look for ways to communicate the wonders of literature, history and numbers, beginning with something concrete, relevant, and experiential.

My students learn to think critically.  Daily, I make learning objectives clear to my students.  I promote critical thinking through regular lines of questioning and encourage my students to demonstrate their learning by forming questions of their own.  I provide language frames for all subjects so that my students may express themselves using academic vocabulary. Speaking and writing critically, expressively, and with confidence are components of all subjects in my classroom.  An ability to articulate a concept such as what it means to ‘take a half of a whole’ is just as important as the ability to manipulate the related numbers.  Once my students are thinking critically, they are ready to determine the directions their learning might take.

My teaching style accommodates the learning styles of my students.
The standard in my classroom is that each student fulfills his or her potential, not that each performs identically. I believe in differentiated instruction as a means for educating each student according to his and her needs.  I believe in assisting each student in developing projects that activate the cultural experiences and interests they bring with them to the classroom while engaging the appropriate academic standards.  Through the use of formative assessments, I monitor each student’s growth from day to day and look for means that best reach out to his or her learning style.  My strategies evolve as my students do.

My classroom is an environment that nurtures a sense of belonging to a community. 
We support each other in taking risks and value each other’s successes and mistakes. My students will learn what it means to be responsible to a community and what it means to be democratic in the daily life of the classroom.  I am a firm believer in students having actual choices for guiding their own education.  I use cooperative group learning where students practice responsibility, equity, choice and participation.  I encourage my
students to advocate for themselves and each other.   I am open to my students’ suggestions and I encourage their openness to each other’s ideas.  I look for ways to take learning into the communities outside the classroom.

I value emotional intelligence as an outcome of learning.  I help my students confront the complicated and painful things that come up in their lives in a way that guards their innocence and makes them feel safe, acknowledged and understood.  I have observed what a student’s home life can do to encourage or efface a day’s work at school.  I communicate with my students’ parents regularly about events at home that might influence the day at school.  I work with parents to help their children’s learning at home.  Parents have become my collaborators and have lent themselves as invaluable resources to the classroom.  It is important to me that my students see that I have made a connection to their families and that this larger community has a voice in shaping the culture of my classroom.  I learn as much as I can from parents about their children and I enlist their support in making their child’s day at school meaningful and successful.  First and foremost, I am each student’s advocate in the face of everything.  

My teaching depends upon my constant professional relationship to the field.  My success as an educator depends upon the constant sources of inspiration I keep nearby.  I welcome collaboration with my colleagues and other educators.  I value other teachers’ perspectives and welcome opportunities for cooperative teaching throughout the school year.  I have learned a great deal from professional development and believe that I am effective at disseminating useful practices to my peers. Apart from taking cues from those close at hand, I am a student of alternative educational practices and am inspired by the philosophies of Rudolph Steiner and Waldorf Education, Friedrich Froebel and Maria Montessori, Loris Malaguzzi and the schools of Reggio Emilia, John Dewey, Lisa Delpit and Robert Coles.  I assimilate the best of my learning in my classroom wherever I can.

Workshops with Proboscis, London, UK 
 -During 2005 and 2006, I worked with non-profit social arts and research organization, Proboscis, for several years as a contracted artist and educator.  Our projects were designed to look at ways for using 'social technologies' developed by Proboscis and its various collaborators in an educational setting.  Each of the three workshops were designed and taught collaboratively with the staff of Proboscis and educators at the Jenny Hammond School in London.  My role was to create 'teachable' contexts and ways in which concepts around social consciousness and behaviors could be made practical and meaningful to 4th year students.                                                                                      

Experiencing Democracy July 2006
Everyday Archaeology  December 2005
Sound Scavenging  July 2005

--a pdf of each project report can be found here...       'social tapestry' project reports  

Sound for a Literacy Practice

Sound is so much an expression of situation, a time and place, personality and environment. Sound exists as information, it exists as music and noise, and it exists as an affirmation that there is life—when its vibrations move between us as shouts, cries, laughter or speech and fulfill a communication.

A listening arts curriculum will encourage in students of all ages a capacity for listening that is creative, patient, and discerning. Listening, as a fundamental communication skill, is often only developed secondarily as a means to some other goal. Typically, teachers (as well as parents and other authority figures) demand of students that they "listen!", and so listening takes on negative connotations, becomes oppressive and encourages resistance. Is demanding listening as unreasonable as demanding that a student who has not learned to read go ahead and read anyway? Listening arts aspires more to encourage willful, thoughtful and imaginative listening--that is, a literacy of the ear--than it does to make artists.

Listening might be considered a type of ‘reading’ as we learn to make meaning and take direction from those signals, notes and utterances passing into our ears. Perhaps even when actually reading, we are engaged in a sort of listening: listening to those voices in our heads reproducing the arrangements of letters and patterns of words that we internally ‘pronounce’. So can listening be taught? Or can a kind of listening, at least, be encouraged? Stimulated?
Think about this idea of listening as a vital component of literacy, that is, as a skill that must be practiced in a variety of contexts as it is being learned. The following describes some areas in which active listening might be approached pedagogically with students in different settings.

Audio Journals

Even the most restless ‘listener’ will grant unusual attention to the sound of his/her own voice. The audio journal is a way students may document their relationship to (and so become more conscious of) sound in their daily lives. Audio journaling may take place in a notebook or a book of blank paper...
Such a diary might begin with the vocabulary one associates with sound and listening:

waterfall thunderstorm racket hubbub drum hiss roar
bang beep whisper noisy echo trumpet headphones screaming yelling
peace and quiet walkie-talkie whack thump
piano stutter motorway earache cackle crescendo screech blam
radio rip crumple smash burp sough tinkle
ppffffffft aarrggh huh ssshhhh mmmnn

Play students recordings of such phenomena as thunderstorms, penguins, rainforests or jet engines and ask them to describe in words (spoken or written) and/or pictures what it is they imagine they are hearing. Vary this by playing students strange music and encourage them to draw more abstractedly to represent the music. Have them describe how the sounds make them feel. Vary this when away from the classroom by asking students to close their eyes and listen to the sounds of a specific location . Or make sounds next to their ears using small objects concealed in the hand (stones, coins, paper, leaves).

Find somewhere in the room where you can be comfortable and I will play you some sounds. Make sure you are more than an arm’s length from each other so that you have your own space. While you are listening, I may come around and make some small noises beside your ears. After a while you can draw or write about what you imagine you are hearing…
With a portable recording device, a listener may record his or her thoughts, feelings or observations with immediacy and even, indulge impulses privately. Somehow, the device with its buttons and switches, its shape and the feel of it in the hand, along with its portability, make it a desirable object-companion. It is worth considering how such technologies inspire innovations in fundamental practices such as reading, writing and speaking. Maybe the recording device is just the thing to encourage something to happen for the first time--a motivation for listening 'attentively'. Cassettes and recorders (or digital memo recorders) might be used much like books of blank pages. Clearly demonstrate how to operate the recording device including any pitch changing functions it might have (anything to encourage playfulness). Color code the buttons if necessary. Then students may record...

thoughts, feelings or observations
a conversation or discussion (such as an interview)
a reading from one’s own writing
a reading from a book (of stories or poems)
a song
environmental sounds from the classroom and/or school
sounds from home
the sounds heard in certain places and in certain situations, at certain times

Speaking into the microphone may lead to literacy. Students may monitor their fluency when listening back to their voices reading. Recording adds a level of thoughtfulness or intent to what a person says. Such self-consciousness may be constructive. Playback and listening may lead to speaking again, with refinement, or it may lead to writing. Maybe even walking and heightened listening?

A teacher may want to slowly introduce sound recording by being the classroom ‘recordist’ for the beginning stages of a program, regularly playing back recordings made of the students so that they may get used to hearing themselves. Understandably, there is an amount of playfulness to be expected and while this might need to be ‘tamed’ it must be welcomed to some extent as it establishes a level of comfort, enjoyment and creativity within the medium. Additionally, students might be allowed to ‘sign out’ recorders from the classroom to take home. This is important as it allows students to document other ‘sonic’ environments and to have some of the privacy necessary for meaningful and inspired journal-keeping.

Students may share their recordings with the class and listen to them as part of a ‘listening center’ activity. They may transcribe their recordings into writing journals and/or respond to them in painting, drawing, movement, or sculpture.

Lastly, these cassettes become invaluable souvenirs for students to take along with them into life, documenting ‘the way our voices once sounded’.

Listening Hikes
We come to understand so much about our environment through the sounds it makes. Much of the cognitive map we make of our surroundings comes from what we hear of it.

If we complement this instinctual action with one that is willful and determined we may discover other layers of sound that teach us things about where we are. The ‘listening hike’ could take place on a playground and it could take place in a city neighborhood or park. The ‘hike’ could lead into a wilderness of sorts so that the act of listening might relax and surrender to wider spaces. All kinds of environments, natural/unnatural, interior/exterior, public/private could be explored. The act of listening itself, in these different locations, might be compared, perhaps with an emphasis on the different ways in which we make use of sound.

Predict the sorts of sounds you might hear in a place before you get there.

A hike that is designed for listening might encourage a student to go on and begin listening intently to the world; to acknowledge the possibilities for a place being a composition of sounds as much as it is of fauna and flora, sediments, structures, smells, human activity, histories and times of day; and to engage with a place, naturally, as a sound-making being, realizing the potential of an area and its objects for becoming instruments in imaginative and otic hands.

Find a place along the path to sit down. Close your eyes (use a blindfold even) and draw as you listen. Try this in a car, a bus, a train…on a park bench….in your lap. 

Scavenging for Sounds

The following are some prompts that may encourage imaginative and/or alternative listening practices. Sets of such prompts may be organized into a document to be completed on a sound scavenger hunt. Allow space for writing and for drawing.

What is the first sound you hear when you wake up in the morning?

List the sounds you hear on your way to school.

Find the sound of something you cannot see. What do you imagine it is?
Describe it with words, a diagram, or a picture.

How could you use letters of the alphabet to spell the sound of the wind?

How can you change the sound of the wind by moving your body?

What sounds can you make with your body?

How can you make sounds with leaves? With two small round stones?

Locate a sound in the distance. As you walk towards this sound, record a description of this sound and of your path in all its details.
Get as close as you can to your target sound and then record it.

Try varying the distance of the microphone from the sound you are recording.
Try placing the microphone inside a carboard tube, a trashcan, a backpack.
Lay it in your lap.

Put your ear to a surface and listen.

Stir puddles, rub stones, crunch leaves, drag branches, play with air…
Where along the path can you find a wire to pluck?
Where can you thump a hollow?

Where can you go to find a peaceful sound? Draw this place.
"I heard the sound of Tic Tacs floating down a river" -Emma

Where and when can noises make you sleepy?

Find a machine-like sound. What do you think this really is? Can you see it?
Do you like this sound? Why or why not?

 Finding Instruments
Typically, music instruction begins formally as students are introduced to the 'right' and the 'wrong' way to play an instrument. At the same time, they are shown notes on a page and it is expected they will have the sort of intelligence necessary to grasp this. Try having students explore the idea of an instrument from scratch.

Small round stones, found by the water or along the edges of gardens, make innumerable sounds when rubbed together. Placed beside the ear, these stones, with the immediacy of their purring, sound like insects or fountains. Containers filled with rice, sand, seeds, shells may become rhythmic shakers in the right hands. Bottles filled with various levels of water become wind instruments. Slats of wood or metal, rubber bands, string or wire mounted across an open container resonate when struck and may even be tuned.
Challenge students to play an old and out-of-tune zither with pencils or by dropping objects on its strings. Discuss what it means to be 'experimental'.
As the craft of many sound artists is to ‘discover’, ‘modify’, or ‘invent’ instruments, discuss and encourage this activity with students, illustrating through raw materials the fundamental principles behind musical instruments. Elements of acoustical science may also be engaged in lessons of this type. Several instruments by famous sound artists of the 20th century may be presented as examples to inspire wonder in the students. Examples of these might include the ‘glass harmonica’ invented by Benjamin Franklin, the ‘noise machines’ of Luigi Russolo, designed to mimic industrial noises in the early 1900s, the sonic sculptures of American composer Harry Partch and designer Harry Bertoia, and the evolving role of the ‘computer’ as an instrument of its own. Imaginably, some fantastical images and recordings of these examples will inspire wonder in students.


                                                             TEACHER RESUME

     -California Multiple Subject Clear Credential
     -Oregon Initial I Teaching License

    -Portland State University, M.A./Ed.D. 2014-present
     -California Teacher Certification Program (CLAD)
      San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA  2001
     -BA English Literature 
      University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA and King’s College, London   1992

Multiple Subject Classroom Experience

2010-present              2nd/3rd grade Classroom Teacher
                                   Springwater Environmental Science School, Oregon City School District, OR
·       Cross grade level collaborative planning based on GLAD unit model
·       Differentiating instructions for students with IEPs
·       Tracking reading development using DRAs and Dibels assessment tools
·       Teaching electives (music and creative writing) to all grade levels

2004 – 2010                5th grade Classroom Teacher
                                    Fairmount Elementary, San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), CA
·       Standards-based curricula design, collaborative lesson planning, teaching and assessment in the subjects of literacy, math, science, history, health and art.
·       One class per day of English Language Development (ELD) taught to second language learners (Spanish-speaking ELLs).
·       Management/differentiation of diverse academic and behavioral aptitudes.
·       Planning/facilitating 2 overnight environmental camping trips per year.
·       Editor of school-wide literary journal

2001 – 2004                        Site Support Teacher/Test Coordinator, Fairmount Elementary, SFUSD
·       Long and short term temporary teaching posts in grades K-5

1999 – 2001               Substitute Teacher (k-12), SFUSD

Leadership Positions/Professional Development 

2015                      Member of Education Advisory Council, Portland Art Museum

2015                      Board member, Song Garden School, Portland

2011                      GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) certification, West Linn School District

2008 – 2010          Site representative, PRIME Teacher Math Institute, SFUSD

2009                       Gifted Education Site Coordinator, Fairmount Elementary School, SFUSD

2007 – 2009           School-wide Arts Program Coordinator, Fairmount Elementary, San Francisco, CA
·       Development of art programs in all media (K-5), management of budget, hiring contracted artists, and attending monthly District meetings/workshops.

2009  – 2009           School Climate Committee member, Fairmount Elementary, San Francisco, CA
2006 – 2009            Instructional Leadership Team member, Fairmount Elementary, San Francisco, CA
·       4th/5th grade level representative at planning/development meetings for school-wide instructional reform and professional development

2007 – 2009                English Language Development ("Systematic ELD) methodology workshops

December 2009           Teacher Training Program, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA

November 2008           Teacher Fellowship, “Sustainable Forests” Team, Earthwatch Institute, MD   
                                    Link to project documentation

2004 – 2006            Conservation Connection Teacher Institute, Fort Funston Environmental Education Center, San Francisco, CA

Educational Workshop Experience
The following represents some of my work designing curricula and teaching workshops on subjects such as 'sound art', 'environmental architecture' and 'democratic practices':

*Link to sound arts curriculum:  http://www.23five.org/lchasse/soudncurric.html#

July 2008                                 Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia 

May 2005                                California College of Art, San Francisco, CA
and August 2007                     KQED/SPARK-sponsored ‘Art Education for Teachers’ workshops
July 2005                          Jenny Hammond School (4th-5th year students), London, England
December 2005                                Experiencing Democracy  document
July 2006                                          Sound Scavenging  document
Everyday Archaeology  document

2001 – 2006                              California College of the Arts (CCA), Oakland/San Francisco, CA
                                                        -visiting artist presentations/workshops            

Summer 2002                            Marin County Day School, Mill Valley, CA
                                                   Turtle Rock Institute (Kindergarten - 2nd year students),

January-May, 2002                   Palo Alto Cultural Center, Palo Alto, CA
                                                  Cultural Kaleidoscope program (2nd-3rd year students)

February-May, 2002                 Creative Arts Charter School, San Francisco, CA  (7th-8th year students)