"If you make a student feel like a reader, he'll become a reader." -Donald Graves
My name is Kerstin Forstrom and I teach Reading Strategies to grades 7-8, and one section of 6th grade Reader's Workshop at Ramsey. I am super excited for the 2015-16 school year and look forward to getting to know all of my new and returning Ramsey students! This is my 3rd year teaching at Ramsey Middle School! Our school community has an amazing team of devoted individuals who care about kids and learning. Teaching middle school takes a unique kind of teacher, I consider myself one of the lucky as I enjoy helping young teenagers find their way as budding individuals. Coming to teach at Ramsey fills me with a sense of hope and inspiration in the daily interactions I have with my growing readers. My philosophy of teaching holds that all children can learn and deserve to thrive. The world needs our young people to go forth as socially conscientious, compassionate, motivated thinkers and doers. I see kids every day in my teaching who are bursting with the potential to help make good things happen for the future of our world. At Ramsey, we are proud of the collective efforts we make as a team of teachers and staff who get to teach the leaders of tomorrow. Because we are an IB-MYP middle school, we embed a holistic approach to foster the mission of an IB education in our lessons and by example in our interactions as a community of learners.
My passion for literacy learning in the lives of today's teen readers' entails using an interactive, balanced language-based lessons, using technology, interactive apps, and collaborative inquiry in a balanced to build proficiency in reading comprehension. I believe in the power of the written word, in language, story-telling and developing one's fullest potential. I try to read aloud to my classes every day, for the enjoyment it brings them and for the fun and dialog it creates around books! I envisioned my work as a teacher beginning when I was a young child, and was well-practiced in my dramatic play of "teacher" before I was ever seriously asked what I wanted to be when I grew-up. I was fortunate to have had the support of my parents, who instilled the value for education in me as a child. After graduation from high school in Rochester, MN, I went to Gustavus Adolphus College and graduated with a BA in English in 1996, and completed a Masters in Teaching and Learning at the University of St. Thomas in 1999. After student teaching at Central High school in St. Paul, I accepted my first job teaching 8th grade Language Arts in Los Angeles, California for the Santa Monica/Malibu Public School District. The ocean air and climate were wonderful, I loved correcting student papers on the beach in January, and 9 years in California proved to be good seasoning for me in my personal and professional growth! I will never forget the trials and challenges of my first years teaching in a new city, but I learned a lot about how kids are a lot alike, from the Midwest to Los Angeles--they want to feel cared about and have fun while learning! To this day, building relationships with students' remains at the heart of my work as a teacher.
Upon my return to the Twin Cities in 2009, I was compelled to continue my education around reading instruction and literacy learning. The world is ever-changing, and so is the public school classroom. Following the public submission by National Reading Panel on our nation's staggeringly low achievement in Reading across the country, the No Child Left Behind initiative was put forth by Congress in 2004. I was moved to tailor my work with kids so that I might help bring the power of reading and the magic inside books to as many kids as I could. In 2011, I completed my K-12 licensure in Reading instruction at The University of St. Thomas. I taught K-5 as a Reading Interventionist at Valley View Elementary in Columbia Heights before coming to Ramsey in 2013. My son Ethan is 6 years old and a beginning reader. We have wonderful conversations about characters, how we can/cannot relate to an author's message, what connections we can make, and the cool new words that we find in our books. I aim to teach all of my students how to read with fluency and comprehension, and therein, inspire them to believe in themselves and the goals they set for the future. My values for respectful communication, equity, human dignity, and safety are embedded in my passion to grow readers who are life-long-learners.
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