About Me

Welcome to Creative Playground!

I'm so happy you are to here to visit with me at my blog, Creative Playground!  My name is Cara Elizabeth Taylor and over time, I hope to meet and know all of you, as I consider you my friends, pals, and homies.  I want this to be a place for you to hang out, learn about education, art, and many other things I have planned to share with you.  And just as importantly, I'd love to learn from you too!  So let's have fun learning & playing together on our Creative Playground!

As Long as I Can Remember...


My life journey to where I am today, started long before high school (that's me on the left).  I've known since first grade that I wanted to be a teacher, all because of my teacher, Ms. Forner.  I wanted to be just like her in every way, an educator, friend, mother...In my eyes, she was the perfect role model that someday I wanted to become.  I never let go to that dream of being an educator, friend, and mother.  And here I am before you today, having accomplished all those things, all thanks to a teacher! 

I attended Grand Valley State University and graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology and Special Education, with endorsements in Cognitive and Emotional Impairments.  My minor was Elementary Teaching.  I also have a Master's Degree in School Administration with an Elementary Principalship Endorsement, from Western Michigan University.  And from there is where my life-long dream of becoming a teacher started.  Two months after graduating, I became a Special Education Resource Room Teacher and loved every moment of it.  I knew then that I had made the right choice of becoming just like my first grade mentor, Ms. Forner, because I had my first group of students that hopefully would someday say I also touched their lives in some way.

After that remarkable first year I had teaching, I was offered a position as a regular education teacher with Muskegon Public Schools, the district in which I had attended as a child.  I was honored to be able to go back and teach in the some of the same schools I had once walked in the halls of.  I began teaching in a fourth grade classroom, and haven't looked back since.  My love for teaching grew and grew, with every new student I've had the pleasure of reaching and teaching. I've taught grades 3, 4, and 5 over the past 17 years in that same district and am before you today to say my love for teaching hasn't stopped since the day I started.  Teaching little people is for sure a number one love in my life! 

Throughout my teaching career, I've also had the pleasure of teaching students at the PreK and Middle School Levels.  I continued on and have taught as an Adjunct Professor at Baker Community College in their Teacher Education and General Education Programs.  I've led some professional development trainings and recently did presentations for the National Teaching of History Council in Missouri and for Staff Development for Educators (SDE) in Las Vegas, Nevada.  So I've taught all levels of students, but would have to say that 4th grade is my favorite.  They are old enough to tie their own shoes and go potty by themselves!  But not quite old enough yet to be going through all those crazy teenage hormones that make them act like, well, you know.  And plus, I'm very short (5'2) and any older than 4th grade and the students are taller than me.  Fortunately I am on top of discipline and can keep a classroom of kids taller than me under control!  But it's not an easy task...

My Guy

In addition to having my dream profession, I've been blessed with this little man you see here.  This is a picture of myself and my guy Garyn on our first day of school.  Garyn is my 7-year-old son and he and I attended Lakeside School (Muskegon, MI) on the same day as a new student and a new teacher (to the building) in this First Day of School photo. It's great being able to work at the same school that my son attends!  I kind of feel sorry for him; even though I'm on the third floor and he's on the first, he has all eyes on him from every direction.  I'm only a call away from having to discipline on the phone, need be, and his teachers have used that with him when they've had to!  Even though my son Garyn has a full-time aide along side him all day, he still manages to get in trouble now and then.  I dread when the phone rings; hoping it's not a call that he's acting a mess and needs me to give him my teacher look over the phone!

My Platform

I have to back up here...You may be wondering why my Garyn has a full-time aide.  It's because he has Autism, more specifically, Asperger's Syndrome.  If you're not familiar with Autism, it's a developmental impairment that is defined by a spectrum of behaviors that range from not speaking to speaking to everyone (even dangerous strangers!)  I'd say the common thread that connects all those with Autism is the social issues they have.  In some way or another, those with Autism have a deficit in the area of social skills.  My son Garyn for example, is on the total left of the spectrum continuum.  He will talk to anyone that he feels like talking to...His favorite people he just has to talk to are babies.  Anyone's baby.  He'll walk up to a baby he sees and just love 'em up.  Of course, he means no harm.  But mothers look at him kind of weird.  Garyn has Asperger's like I mentioned, which means his IQ is average to above average.  Garyn is very, very smart.  His reading level is above his classmates, he passes assessments with flying colors on a regular basis and doesn't even need to study his spelling words to get a perfect paper.   However, his social skill intelligence isn't that high, which makes him fall in the Autism Spectrum of having Asperger's Syndrome.  I'm sure we'll talk more about Autism and our experiences with it.  I'd love to share tips I have and hear yours, too!  Autism has become my life, as it has turned it upside down, right-side up, and back again.  It for sure has become my platform of advocacy and will be for my lifetime.
Lastly, I just wanted to share with you that I'm very artsy-fartsy and love to draw and make crafts.  I've been able to draw since I can remember and usually just draw with a Bic Mechanical Pencil, nothing fancy!  I've taken a few art classes just for fun really, but I've been told I should have went in the art field, maybe as an Art Teacher.  Some days I wonder if I should have, but I still love the interaction I'm able to have with my students and the relationships we can form.  So, in this blog I'd love to share with you tips on how to bring art into your classroom, like directed drawing for example.  I also make clip art and sell it on Teachers Pay Teachers, a site for educators to purchase materials made by other educators.  I'll be able to give you tips on how to make your own clip art and the process I use to make images.  Please make sure to grab your free set of Welcome Kids clip art on the Clip Art page as a gift for reading all this and joining me on our Creative Playground!


Best Wishes to You My Friends,

2 comments:

Jennifer White said...

Your son is adorable =) Thanks for sharing!
Jennifer
First Grade Blue SKies

Cara Taylor said...

Thanks so much Jennifer! I really appreciate your love and hope you come back again soon to visit! Love your blog too by the way!
~Cara

Post a Comment

2 comments:

  1. Your son is adorable =) Thanks for sharing!
    Jennifer
    First Grade Blue SKies

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks so much Jennifer! I really appreciate your love and hope you come back again soon to visit! Love your blog too by the way!
    ~Cara

    ReplyDelete

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