Who’s behind Musicuentos?
B.S. Spanish Education / English Education
M.A. Linguistics (Second Language Acquisition)
I owe much of who I am and what I do to an amazing father who started inspiring me to think innovatively when he decided our local school system would not serve my education needs and removed me from school in the fifth grade. I did not return to a traditional school setting until college, where I learned a lot about being a good teacher and almost nothing about teaching language. I then fumbled through textbook teaching for 3 years before getting my master’s degree in the theory behind the practice. My research then, a few workshops in Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling, and mentoring by some incredibly innovative teachers upended my teaching world. My students and I embarked on a textbookless, web-based language experience that rocked with Latin music and authentic materials. We quit homework, abandoned multiple choice questions, and banned words like “conjugation” from our classroom. We talked and struggled and explored and watched where our journey took us.
Why Musicuentos? The two strategies that most transformed my teaching from a boring grammar class to an interactive, acquisition-rich environment were música and cuentos (stories). Now, my goal is to share that journey with you. I do not primarily aim to provide anyone with activities, although I can and often do. I mostly want to figure out how we can enrich and facilitate our classrooms through the people inside it.
On a personal note, I am married to my best friend who also happens to be my expert webmaster. We have been married since 2007 and we have three Cottrell-itos ages 4 to 8. We enjoy spending time outdoors, reading, and growing in our faith in God. We’re thankful for our life, family, talents, and opportunities and enjoy sharing what we’ve learned with others and learning from their journey as well.
What’s Sara-Elizabeth up to?
I spend most of my professional time developing teacher resources, teaching a group of amazing students in a homeschool co-op, and working as the COO and curriculum specialist for Calico Spanish, where I’m eye-deep in development of Stories Online Level D, my favorite project ever.
Sometimes, I go places and try to add to the conversation.
Next up, I’m in a 10-month break from any and all professional travel. I will be presenting a 90-minute workshop on IPAs at the Collegiate World Language Alliance spring learning session. On the other side, I hope to learn with you at KWLA (I’d love to see you present!), and I’ll be keynoting TFLTA.