Speech and Language Therapist
Ms. Kearney was on a career path to become a counselor when her internship with Graland’s Student Support Team changed her life. She went back to school to become a speech and language pathologist and now uses her passion for early intervention to help students discover a love of learning.
Impacting Students The lesson that has the biggest impact on students involves sequencing a story in order. I start at the most structured and basic level and gradually add more concepts as the student progresses. I like using a storyteller’s box where they pick a character, an action, and a location (e.g. “The boy was riding his bike to the park”) and then incorporate additional details and transitions from there. We discuss the importance of having a story in the correct order (beginning, middle, and end). Then we brainstorm transition words that can be used to signify beginning, middle, and an end. The types of transitions vary depending on their skill and grade level. Next, we focus on how to be detailed, but also concise. This is probably the hardest concept for students to understand. This can involve making mental images of the story or drawing a picture, identifying the most important aspects of a story, and brainstorming vocabulary ahead of time. It’s impactful when the student is able to not only identify the strengths in the story, but when they have the awareness to know how they can improve the story with limited input from me.
Lifelong Learner I have been working to incorporate more multi-sensory approaches to my lessons based on some recent professional development opportunities. Typically, speech and language skills are also impacted by other factors, such as executive functioning, attention and focus, occupational therapy, or literacy skills. I have noticed that multi-sensory lessons help the students grasp the concepts and transfer the skills more easily.
Favorite Teaching Moment This year I had two students who were struggling with transferring oral language into their writing. I was having them make a mental image and use their senses to expand simple sentences. It was amazing to see them not only add the details, but to watch them help each other adapt the structure of the sentence to make a story come to life.
Professional Passion I am passionate about early intervention because it can impact a child's level of frustration, self-esteem, and excitement for school. It can be heartbreaking to hear a young child say, "I don't like school" or "Kindergarten is just so hard." However, it is great when you see them master new skills, see them be proud of their story for writing workshop, and watch them become a leader in the group.
Book I Can Read Over and Over The Enders Game Series by Orson Scott Card. Some of the books are telling the same story, but from the perspective of different characters. The author does a great job showing you the perspectives, their intentions, and why they react in a specific way.
Fun Fact When I was interning at Graland after getting my degree in counseling, I had the opportunity to observe and assist Jacqueline Davis (reading specialist) in her literacy groups with kindergarten and first grade. Based on this experience, I decided switch careers and get my degree in speech and language pathology. I became passionate about the benefits of early intervention with children, which is why I love working in schools.
Organizations I Support The African Community Center (ACC) and GrowHaus -- empowering families to become self-sufficient and aspire to their highest potential.
Joined Graland in... 2016
Hometown Denver, Colorado
Education University of Denver (M.A. For Forensic Psychology) Florida Atlantic University (M.S. Speech and Language Pathology)
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.