Graduate Studies

Tara Lyon

Area of Emphasis: English Language Development

Tara Lyon picture

Tara has been a teacher for fourteen years. She began in 2000 after graduating from Sonoma State University. Her first job was in a first grade classroom, followed by two years of Kindergarten. After that Tara took a leave to serve in the United States Peace Corps with her husband where she traveled to Azerbaijan and lived, studied, and taught English for just over two years. When she returned, she got right back into teaching with a move to the upper elementary grades.

For her Curriculum, Teaching and Learning master's cognate project, Tara began by wondering how to best help move English language learners beyond an intermediate CELDT level (California English Language Development Test). While in this program she closely examined her classroom practices, curriculum, and methodologies and found many ways to be a more effective teacher for her English Language Development (ELD) students.

She continues to closely examine the practices and lessons within her regular day, specifically within a Project Based Learning Unit, to see what types of language learning components are included in her content lessons, and to determine whether her ELD students are getting the explicit direct instruction in English that they need without being pulled out of class.

Tara has taught at many grade levels and currently teaches sixth grade within the Santa Rosa City School District.


Lisa Brown

Area of Emphasis: Educational Technology
Lisa Brown at desk

Lisa is a teacher at Alexander Valley School in Healdsburg, where she teaches 2nd grade. Her interest in educational technology was sparked in a Media and Information Literacy class, EDCT 559. She became interested in integrating Digital Citizenship into her classroom and felt it was lacking in her school's curriculum.

Her cognate project took the form of a parent information night on digital citizenship for elementary age students. Digital citizenship is teaching students how to use technology appropriately, ethically and effectively at school and at home.

Lisa shared with parents what she's been doing with her 2nd grade students and shared a variety of online resources to help them join the conversation about how to best prepare our students to be digital citizens. http://lbrownedtech.wordpress.com/
http://avscomputerlab.wordpress.com/


Kristen Sorensen

Area of Emphasis: Educational Technology
Kristen Sorensen

For her thesis, Kristen sought to understand students' processes when creating a pathogen Public Service Announcement using iMovie, and to examine the benefits and challenges for students when integrating media production into an 8th grade science class.

Based on the study findings she argued that video production, in addition to teaching students how to use and understand the new media they are immersed in during their everyday lives, enhanced their understanding of science concepts and developed real-world science skills and practices. https://sites.google.com/a/scds.org/kristen-sorensen/


Christina Sanders

Christina Sanders headshot

Christina has been teaching for 22 years in the Sonoma Valley, where she currently teaches 5th grade. She has taught everything from kindergarten to high school algebra in her career. 

Her love for gardening and being outside lead her to participate in a Jr. Master Gardener Program at her current school. Watching the students' engagement in the outdoors with this curriculum motivated her to incorporate it into everyday classroom experiences.

With her CTL Master's cognate project, Christina looked into whether the type of aesthetic experiences students have make a difference in their ability to learn and retain information. The purpose of her study was to investigate the connections between Aesthetic Learning Experience Theory in an outdoor classroom and student engagement and motivation. The conditions included in the Aesthetic Learning Experiences are: connection, active engagement, perceptivity, multi-sensory, risk-taking, and imagination.

Three lessons were developed and implemented and in-depth observations and reflections were collected from students and classroom teachers. The data consisted of fourteen participating classrooms, including over 337 students, spanning the K-5 grades. The findings show that if a teacher focuses on the 'Aesthetic Learning Experiences' and incorporates them into their daily lessons, students will not only be engaged and motivated, but the information will be retained by the students and stored long term in their episodic memory.