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 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 5 to 9.  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 fun 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.

I wrapped up 2018 by hanging out with Faith Lutheran in Las Vegas, learning with you at KWLA, and keynoting TFLTA.  In 2019, I get to brainstorm with the crew at Episcopal Collegiate in Little Rock, share the fun at CWLA in Louisville, soak in the ideas at CSCTFL/OFLA in Columbus, and share a last hurrah at ACTFL in D.C.  As part of reevaluating my professional commitments for medical reasons, I’ve suspended my consulting services indefinitely. I’d love to meet you down a bend in the road, and always, I’m honored to have been part of your conversation.