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Laurie de Souza (Kotalik)
I was born and raised in northeast Nebraska and went to college at Wayne State College. My initial career goals were in the journalism field but I quickly learned I had a knack for creative writing, which is frowned upon in serious newscasts. I eventually acknowledged my talents in connecting with others and my passion for teaching and went back to Wayne State to add my education endorsement. I made the leap from small town northeast Nebraska to Omaha when I student taught at Elkhorn High. I then retreated back to small town life in Essex, Iowa where I taught for two years but moved back to Omaha to be closer to family and friends.
This is my sixth year teaching English and Speech at Yutan.
Each year I rewrite my curriculum because each year is different than the year before. The common thread is the amount of reading I expect out of my students. My teaching philosophy is rooted in the more you read, the more you know. I encourage my students to have free reading books with them at all times. They're expected to meet weekly reading goals set early in the year. These goals are not just pages to be read, but also number of books in a semester (yes, more than one or two - often 9-10!!). I have found if you give students the opportunity to read, they will do so eagerly and the energy flows over into other parts of the day. #readingwin
Learning to read like a reader helps students to not only learn new writing techniques but also be more conscious of their daily writing. Students learn and want to write the way their favorite authors write - this is a great thing to watch develop!
We are always looking for new and exciting books for our classroom library! If you have books you'd like to donate to our classroom library, let me know. While our school library is an amazing source, it's easier and more convenient for me to pull books from a classroom library when a student is in need of a new and engaging book. The newer the book the better - it grabs their attention more than a classic does. So contact me if you have ideas or want to get something into our library!
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