Julie Zurgable

Hello! Thank you for being here. My hope is that this website will help give you authentic resources in the areas of cross-curricular academics, yet primarily English Language Arts learning. I want to help students – to improve their skills and become masters in Literacy; the processes of learning how to read and the pedagogy involved in getting there. This site is for anyone who is a lifelong learner, enjoys proactive literacy, and desires distinct learning methodologies in English Language Arts. My hope is for you to utilize the teaching resources I will supply in order to help you succeed.

Let me tell you about my background in order for you to trust in what I am sharing. First, I put student needs above all else; I know and understand developmental learning milestones of students in Early Childhood Education through Secondary Education, and I understand the importance of the Core Standards we must adhere to are. I have gone to school formally throughout my adult life. I have taken college courses in Education, until May of 2016. Since then, one way that I keep up with Education is through my membership allowing me to view NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) professional webinars. They are superb! I learn a great deal in Literacy Education, obtaining CEU’s.

I went to Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, where I majored in Elementary Education, receiving my Bachelor’s of Science degree, certifying me to teach K-5 All Subjects and 6-8 Social Sciences. That was actually a difficult decision because of my love for Early Childhood Education students through Secondary Education students. But, if you have ever witnessed a light bulb ‘go off’ over a first-grade student’s head when learning to read? You may then understand why I went with Elementary Education. It is entirely rewarding! Also, I have 31 credit hours in Graduate coursework in Education at Oakland University in Rochester and at the University of South Florida in Sarasota for K through 12 students.

My number of career experiences is high primarily due to my working both summers and school years, thus creating two jobs per year. Also, I have had many semester-long, relevant internships for Graduate school in counseling and in teaching that I learned a great deal from. Additionally, the timeframe of completion for a freelance assignment dictates the number of jobs I finish in a year. You will see my entire work history, since I started working with children professionally at the age of eighteen, on my LinkedIn profile if you so choose to look at it. I believe my experiences are my greatest asset. Education, opportunities, and literacy are my keys to success!

I have worked with students of all ages for thirty years. I lived out-of-state, in Florida, for almost sixteen of them. While in the Sunshine State, I taught in ECE, Elementary Education, and Secondary Education classrooms during the school year, and always summers. I worked for non-profits such as the Sarasota Family YMCA in 2005 and Catholic Charities in 2009. Then later, National Measurement and Testing in 2013, where I became published for the first time. I enjoyed owning my own side tutoring businesses – both in Florida (2000) and Michigan (2012). I believe in authentic learning methodologies and student-centered curriculum that will engage students, implementing Bloom’s Taxonomy and Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory. In other words, guiding the student to think critically is to help the student learn the best way they can (and to make the student aware of it for their benefit), so they may thrive and be successful. I eventually specialized in ACT Prep, and particularly SAT prep (2002), because of the many changes going on in Education and the emphasis on Standardized Testing. Actually, I have been writing curriculum since 1997. The first time I taught my own curriculum was in my ninth grade Biology class (1998). My wealth of different career experiences has allowed me to become immersed in Education.

I have been home for three years, wow – four, in Rochester Hills, Michigan. In this time, I have worked primarily with middle through high school students and middle school through high school ELA curriculum. Students and literacy; my true loves! I love the processes of learning to read and the steps one goes through in becoming an Independent Reader, continually working towards becoming a critical thinker while reading. Most exciting to me is when students use their critical thinking skills, showing me through their actions, and apply such skills in their everyday lives! It is unbelievably rewarding to see students succeed! Literacy is one of the most vital and fundamental life-changing experiences one can have. I use pedagogical methodologies, reinforced in my Graduate coursework, to help developmentally prepare students as critical thinkers in their learning.

The path that I have taken is original! The variety of my experiences in non-traditional, educational roles have helped to shape the person that is sitting here today. If you would like, my Gravatar ‘Profile’ contains my professional writer’s online portfolio, with writing samples, as well my version of my own CV. Take a peek at how diverse my own learning has been! In my free time, I enjoy reading & writing, spending time with my friends and family, and I adore animals! Connecting with nature is an absolute must. And, I love all of my Detroit sports :). Additionally, I like to write in my notebook the story that will become my first book in a juvenile literature series. My intentions are to share accurate information and to increase mental health awareness for children.

I have developed two programs recently (2016 and 2017) that are skill-building, progressive in difficulty, three-tiered, scaffolding preparation for the ACT and SAT exams. I did so freelancing for SkySlate.net. My programs are ones that build upon a student’s established prior knowledge and scaffold in progression for each student. First of all, the students are assessed to know where their level of comprehension is in Reading, Language, Writing/Essay, and Science. The curriculum is of excellent quality. The ACT and particularly the SAT are important in a student’s academic career, as society dictates. My three goals for these programs? Students will problem solve their way through the classroom, students will apply critical thinking skills across the curriculum, and that students will be ready for the exams that may shape their future.

My latest endeavor is very exciting to me. I am very excited to be collaborating with the National Council of Teachers of English. I am now a Local Engagement Committee Member with NCTE for the St. Louis 2017 Annual NCTE Convention. We will work carefully to best promote family and community engagement. We will help provide access to more diverse voices, to create, collaborate, and lead within and beyond the organization, contributing to the community through the best practices of the committee. Lifelong Literacy through language and other means, improving Racial Identity, and Empowerment for students and families alike, are the goals. My involvement has been a tremendous learning experience. I thoroughly enjoy cooperative planning, the details of events, and the way to make ideas come alive for the Convention. NCTE is like my go-to guru in the English Language Arts Education field. I have been a member for quite a few years, and in that time have used the website a great deal for learning, English resources, chats with other English educators, and hands-on experience from top professionals in the field.

Now, back to this site. My literacy site is like my baby. I want to nurture it and guide it through growth spurts, adding content until it is fully grown. Then nurturing it some more, and the cycle will begin all over again. Forever growing to meet your needs. My purpose is to offer families, students, and Educators a positive literacy experience. Some of my content will be fun for children and some content will be just for Educators & families. In my blog, Insatiable Educational Soup, I have only just begun to share my ideas. I will also share my diverse lesson plans, project-based lessons, authentic and engaging activities for the classroom and at home, family-friendly recipes, performance-based assessments, stellar educational quotes, and my own personal book reviews. I will additionally share resources such as lists of books according to a particular need or interest, fundamental writing resources for every grade, study skills tips and ideas, cross-curricular activities, and character-building lessons. And I am particularly excited that I will have Author and Illustrator interview highlights; they are my ‘SuperStars’!

So, as you can see, I have a lot of work to do! I hope you do visit to see my progress, and eventually, see the finished product! A literacy-based website for all ages. Below you may see my Hello Email!

Hello Email!

Thank you for listening! And happy learning!

Julie Zurgable

Let Me Know What You Think!