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Marie-Elena Meagher

teacher photoMarie-Elena Meagher of Melrose Park, Illinois, has been a teacher in both public and parochial schools for 23 years. In seventh grade, Marie teaches geography and American History to 1900. In eighth grade, she teaches American History from 1900 to the Present and U.S. and Illinois constitutions. Her school, Mannheim Middle School, "loops" the students. This means the same group of students stays together for two years. The school is a multicultural community, with an average class size of 27 students.

Vital Statistics
B.A. in History, Northern Illinois University
M.A. in Reading, Concordia University
National Board Certified Teacher in Social Studies

Educational Philosophy
The best way for me to approach teaching is by recalling a Chinese proverb:

"Tell me, I will listen.
Show me, I will remember.
Involve me, and I will understand."

I always try to involve my students in every aspect of their learning. My students do many hands-on activities because I find they help children remember the information. I try to include activities that are right-brained and left-brained, thereby tapping into the multiple intelligence approach to learning.

New Visions
Marie is always looking for new ways to enhance her teaching and bring history to life for her students. "I love history, " she says. "I can't stand it when students say it is boring." She is currently working on a Web site titled "Teaching History Through Architecture" with the National Endowment for the Humanities and Northeastern Illinois University.

Personal History
Marie's career shows her flexibility. A travel agent for many years, Marie stepped into teaching as a substitute teacher. She found out the school district was looking for reading specialists, so Marie went back to school for her masters degree in reading. She taught reading and language arts for two years and discovered that the same students doing poorly in reading were also doing poorly in social studies. Switching to social studies meant she could teach reading in a content area, combining both specialties.

Marie has presented at many national and Illinois middle school conferences. She has also been president for her local CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder) chapter for 12 years. Her passion—helping teachers learn about A.D.D.—is a very personal concern: Her son was diagnosed with the disorder as a child. Helping him become a successful, productive adult is her greatest achievement.

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