When I was in college, I could not wait to become a teacher. My passion was kids, and I always had a heart for the “underdog” –the struggling student, the hyperactive one and the least popular child. My first job at Hazel Harvey Elementary was teaching 1st grade. I spent hours and hours coming up with learning centers, bulletin boards and writing units that I could incorporate into the curriculum. My goal was to create a positive, fun learning experience for my students. I was in heaven. At that time I was only 22 years old, and I spent so much time getting to know my students, their families and just being a teacher.
After my first year of teaching, I began working on my Master’s Degree on “Integrating the Arts” into the curriculum because I loved music, and I knew that it was a good teaching tool. Young children could memorize a song faster than imaginable. So, I used singing to teach basic phonemic awareness skills, spelling words and math facts. I found that playing calming music during seatwork and quiet times worked, too.
The following summer, I was told that I was going to teach 3rd grade. At first, I did not get a lot of notice. I scrambled to come up with new ideas and songs and then began to explore my new curriculum. When the year began, I fell in love with these “older” kids because they came to me reading and knowing basic skills. Adding the flare of music was easy and seemed to captivate and motivate this age group too. Along with my twin sister Karen Hilderbrand, I wrote “Rap with the Facts” a rhyming-rap song that would teach and drill the multiplication facts. I, later, worked with Hal Wright, a phenomenal arranger and musician, to record my new song.
The rest seems like history… my students learned their math facts and we formed Twin Sisters Productions in 1987.
By 1993, Twin Sisters Productions was a growing company. I had to make the hard decision to resign from my teaching position in order to focus my energies on Twin Sisters. Today, I have no regrets. This company has allowed me to write products for children each year, make a difference in the education and publishing world, partner with charities that help kids worldwide and enjoy being a mom to my three children!
I still keep in contact with some of my former students and LOVE that social media provides a quick, easy way to communicate with them. I have had lunch with many students who are now working in the professional world, serving in the military, being moms and dads, etc. The funny thing is they all remember “Rap with the Facts,” the song I wrote and taught them over 25 years ago. Wow! I was even asked to attend a funeral of a child I had in school that tragically died in a car accident. The mom said she would be honored if I could attend because I was her son’s favorite teacher. This phone call was a great reminder of the difference that teachers make in the lives of children.
My journey from teacher to writer and publisher has brought me to this blog. I want to provide you with the opportunity to receive any give-away offers I have for your little one, learn fun class activities that I used in the past, read about the children’s publishing industry and more with my posts. I hope you enjoy it!