Hi, I’m Melissa.
I’m a writer, educator, researcher, and noticer of small things. I trust children and their intrinsic motivation for their own curiosities. I also trust teachers and their abilities to nurture children’s learning through noticing.
I love buttons, snails, octopuses, and found objects on the sidewalk. I appreciate silence. I feel most myself when I am writing.
I worked in urban, public schools for 23 years as a practicing classroom teacher. I now work with educators, schools, organizations, and others who wish to learn from and grow a noticing approach for learning. I also direct Children’s Innovation Project.
My content expertise is primarily with early childhood and elementary teaching and learning. My pedagogical expertise is more wide-reaching, including K-12 contexts and informal learning contexts. As a researcher, I support any kind of organization to more deeply notice and describe how learning/knowledge operates in their system in order to leverage small shifts in practice that benefit all stakeholders in a community.
I care about: slow noticing; perspective-taking based in not-knowing; intrinsically motivated curiosity; interdisciplinary learning; play as method; supporting student inquiry with educator noticing; teacher learning grown from trust; building of teacher-led learning communities; descriptive conversation protocols; system change through noticing to leverage what’s already there.
I have two published books of poetry: removing (Modjaji Press, 2010) and atlas of ordinary things (Finishing Line Press, 2019). I am currently writing a book for educators about notice-to-wonder thinking, and am also creating children’s picture books (on submission).
I have a Masters Degree in Curriculum/Critical Race Theory from Penn State University and a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. I’m National Board Certified as an Early Childhood Generalist and a co-director with the Western PA Writing Project.