Who’s behind Musicuentos?

Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell
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 inspired me to think innovatively. My parents 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.

In 2008, my husband sat next to me while I exclaimed over all the things I was learning about how to improve my classroom and said, “You should start a blog.”  Musicuentos was born.

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).  I love to share that journey with you as we endeavor to enrich and facilitate our classrooms through the people inside it.

On a personal note, I have been married to my best friend since 2007 and we have three amazing children. 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?

Once upon a time, I used to go places and try to add to the conversation. As part of reevaluating my professional commitments for medical reasons, in 2019 I suspended my consulting, blogging, and most independent creating as Sra. Musicuentos. I left my years of posts available as a resource and focused on one curriculum development contract. In 2022, I ended my 11-year journey with that company and began looking for the next open door. As it turns out, the open door was Musicuentos Microcurriculum.

I’m back to blogging, developing resources, and generally exploring how to connect communities across language barriers. I’d love to meet you down a bend in the road. Want to be part of the conversation? For Spanish teachers, I highly recommend you join my Facebook group Musicuentos Tools, Tips, and Talk for Spanish Teachers.   You can also sign up for Musicuentos Monthly, a quick run-down of resources, ideas, blog posts, and whatever else I see that I think might interest you. (Heads up, it may not actually be monthly – but be assured, it will appear!)

Welcome to the conversation, amigos.