Valerie Shull

Valerie Shull teaches Spanish for elementary and middle school children at Rogers Park Montessori School, where she's been…

About Me

Valerie Shull teaches Spanish for elementary and middle school children at Rogers Park Montessori School, where she's been on staff for twenty years.  During her time at RPMS she’s worked with children age four to fourteen. The rubber hits the road in her proficiency-focused program during her school’s annual 8th grade travel/homestay trip to Costa Rica, which is recognized by ACTFL’s Global Engagement Initiative.  Valerie is passionate about working toward language proficiency with children, improving her own practice and supporting teachers in their journey. She is a regular conference presenter on the topic of language proficiency in the early years and is a member of NNELL, AATSP, and ACTFL,  where she currently serves on the Global Engagement Committee. Valerie works and lives in Chicago with her daughter, a young global-citizen-in-training. 

Just Follow Your Own Advice
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Just Follow Your Own Advice

Recently, I had coffee with a colleague from another elementary school to talk shop. She’s pretty new to the school where she’s the only Spanish teacher, teaches preschool through 8th grade, and is being asked to create a curriculum. To say that she is concerned and feeling a high level of stress, is an obvious […]

Holding Myself Accountable
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Holding Myself Accountable

In October, I laid out here the goals I set in the summer and, motivated by Alyssa Villareal’s fall post, committed to reporting back and holding myself accountable to them. This fall, without going down the rabbit hole of politics, I’ve found myself struggling to stay on my path and focus on teaching–as I have […]

When Too Much is…Too Much (Stay on the Path!)
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When Too Much is…Too Much (Stay on the Path!)

Boy did I need Alyssa Villarreal’s recent post last fall–I was great about setting goals, but they were too many and too big! I spent the school year spinning, working non-stop and on the verge of burnout.   What followed was a summer spent recovering from my near burnout crash–with no work, no PD (I’m happy […]

Focusing on the Long Haul
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Focusing on the Long Haul

In thinking about assessing proficiency and growth as I approach the end of the year, I sometimes feel overwhelmed and a bit of self-inflicted pressure. Since making the switch to teaching for proficiency, I’ve come to understand the importance of assessment and feedback like never before.  I am greatly influenced and inspired by the wonderful […]

Reflection … Finding Time in The Crunch
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Reflection … Finding Time in The Crunch

There was a time not long ago that I would write a week’s worth of lesson plans at a time. On Friday I sat down (with my textbook teacher’s edition) and planned out the next week’s lessons, pulling the support materials, and then following the set plan.  Since making the shift to teaching for proficiency, […]