Who’s behind Musicuentos?

Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell
B.S. Spanish Education / English Education
M.A. Linguistics (Second Language Acquisition)

Cottrell Family 2015-24I 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.

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).  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 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?

I spend most of my professional time writing the curriculum I always wished I had as one of the women at the head of Calico Spanish.

Not so much anymore, but 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 services indefinitely and bid farewell to blogging as Sra. Musicuentos. These eleven years of posts are available as a resource but the blog will no longer accept comments and I won’t be publishing new posts. To keep up with me and new things I’m finding and doing, sign up for Musicuentos Monthly, a quick list of resources, tech ideas, blog posts, and whatever else I see in the month that I think could support you well.

I’d love to meet you down a bend in the road, and always, I’m honored to have been part of your journey. For the opportunity to speak with you in every workshop, session, keynote, school visit, Google Hangout, Twitter chat, and blog post, I am truly grateful.