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Professional
In the eighteen years that I have been a professional educator, I have taught English and language arts to students in grades five through twelve.  I joined the Tenafly community in 2008. Of all the students with whom I have worked, I enjoy working with middle schoolers the most!   

I received bachelor's degrees from William Paterson University in elementary education, English literature, and anthropology and a master's degree in reading.  I hold the following certifications from the New Jersey Department of Education: elementary school teacher, teacher of English, reading specialist, teacher of reading, supervisor, and principal.

I am continually learning and trying to improving my practice.  I learn the most from my students, my peers, and from parents.  Please feel free to contact me anytime at jmeehan@tenafly.k12.nj.us.

Visit my classroom website at http://snoringdog.pbworks.com

Personal
I am a birdwatcher, a native plant gardener, and a dog lover!  Above, I pose with my dog Molly, who has since gone to her doggie reward.  I love reading science fiction (Azimov!) and fantasy (Tolkien!), but I continually revisit the classics of British literature (notably Eliot and The Bard). I have traveled throughout the United States as well as to Canada, Mexico, Haiti, Peru, France, England, Ireland, Italy, and Rwanda.  
I am also a curator of fine art embroideries that are created by a workshop of self-taught artisans in Rwanda, East Africa.  My exhibit, Pax Rwanda: Embroideries of the Women of Savane Rutongo-Kabuye, was introduced to New Jersey audiences at the SMA Fathers Museum of African Art in Tenafly in 2010.  Since then, these extraordinary textiles have been exhibited at various venues in New Jersey, New York, Washington DC, and Ohio.
 
Philosophy of Education
Juliana Jacobs Meehan
Basic Principles
I begin with the premise that all students wish to succeed.  When they do not meet with success, it is incumbent on educators to discover and negotiate obstacles to student learning.  

I use assessment—both formative and summative—to drive instruction.  Students approach various tasks with differing levels of ability, no matter how homogeneous the population.  Guided by the elegant work of Lev Vygotsky, good practice dictates that teachers continually observe and assess students’ abilities in order to meet them at their ability level, moving each along his/her Zone of Proximal Development.  Formative assessment should be the vehicle for such movement, with educators continually acting as researchers in how to best effect success.  Student cohorts vary, and different approaches are often necessary from year to year. I believe in working with my colleagues to study and adapt to what works best as a way to ensure both student and teacher success.  The superb teaching staff and administration at TMS furnishes an intellectually stimulating and personally rewarding environment where I continually grow!



My Guiding Light
I strive to create a learning environment in accord with Brian Cambourne’s incisive model.  According to Cambourne, students need:
  • Immersion: learners need to be immersed in content-area study;
  • Demonstration: learners need to receive many (emphasis here is mine) demonstrations of content-area learning
  • Expectations: learners are influenced by expectations, which are powerful shapers of behavior;
  • Responsibility: learners need to make their own decisions about when, how, and what “bits” to learn;
  • Use: learners need time and opportunity to use and practice new learning in realistic ways;
  • Approximation: learners must be free to approximate the desired study, as mistakes are essential for learning to occur;
  • Response: learners must receive relevant, appropriate, timely, and non-threatening feedback (formative assessment).
Finally, I endeavor to expand Cambourne’s idea of “Use” and give students real-world applications for the material they’re expected to learn as well as frequent opportunities to evaluate and synthesize.  In terms of literacy education, Lucy Calkins sums it up best in The Art of Teaching Writing (1994): “…it is essential that children are deeply involved with writing, that they share their texts with others, and that they perceive themselves as authors.”
Updated August, 2015
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