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Julie D. Ramsay
When Julie Ramsay was in fifth grade, she was a struggling reader who did not receive the help she needed in the classroom. One day she thought to herself, "I could do a better job teaching than this teacher." Following that year—with the help of outstanding reading and language arts teachers—Julie gained a deep love for literature and found out that learning could be fun. "I wanted to pass that along to future generations," Julie says. "I knew I wanted to become strong in teaching reading and writing because I didn't want another child to have to sit through the frustration that I had felt on that day in fifth grade."
Julie received her bachelor's degree in elementary and early childhood education from the University of Montevallo and became a National Board Certified teacher in 2007. Since 2004 she's been teaching fifth- and sixth-grade language arts, reading, social studies, science, math, and reading intervention in Fultondale Elementary School near Birmingham, Alabama. "Since we are a K-6 school, many of my previous students return to work with my current students as tutors, leaders, and teachers in their writing and technology projects," says Julie.
"I love that each day in the classroom is different from all of the rest of the days," Julie says of her love of teaching. "Because each child comes with different perspectives, challenges, and life experiences, one cannot predict what will come out of a lesson or an activity. Students always surprise with their connections, conclusions, and questions, which usually sparks something in someone else in class."
One of Julie's areas of specialty is technology. "By providing students with the opportunity to collaborate and create with peers in class and online through open source technology tools, my students gain the opportunity to write and create real projects for a real audience while gaining an understanding of the relevance of what we do in the classroom and how it applies outside of the classroom walls."
Julie enjoys traveling to places off the beaten path and sharing those experiences with her students upon her return. She enjoys visiting schools and churches as well as small art galleries and music venues. She also likes exploring great architecture and spending the day at a museum.
Publishing podcasts, writing digital stories with "choose your own adventure" endings, and collaborating with students around the country through wikis, Skype, and VoiceThread, Julie D. Ramsay never imagined that she and her fifth grade students would be forging a new frontier using technology to support writing lessons.
In a school district with minimal resources and a prescriptive curriculum that makes originality a constant challenge, Julie could have continued teaching grammar and writing skills in isolation. But when she realized how hungry her students were for "real" writing activities that enabled them to share and learn from their peers in other states, she overcame every obstacle that threatened to stunt their creativity and limit their opportunities to communicate in a digital world.
Can We Skip Lunch and Keep Writing? shows teachers how to weave technology throughout the curriculum and get students so fired up about writing that they don't want to stop when the class period ends. Readers will learn how to select appropriate digital tools, guide and involve students in the learning process, and differentiate instruction to meet individual needs. Through Julie's inspiring stories and lessons, teachers in the intermediate and middle grades will discover how technology-assisted writing can foster innovation, global communication, and creative problem solving, developing responsible, productive digital citizens whose inherent love of learning will travel with them throughout their lifetimes.
Mathematizing Children’s Literature
Sparking Connections, Joy, and Wonder Through Read-Alouds and Discussion