Meet Literacy Leader, Ashley Halfmann

Hello! My name is Ashley Halfmann and I am currently a 2nd grade teacher for San Angelo ISD.  This is my 9th year in education and I have served my district in many capacities. I have taught Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 4th and 5th grade English Language Arts (ELA).  I graduated in 2010 from Angelo State University with a Bachelor in Science in Interdisciplinary Studies and in 2018 from Sul Ross State University with a Master of Education in Reading Specialist. 

I have a passion for literacy and have served on many English Language Arts PLCs and mentor committees.  I was involved in Teaching for Learning curriculum writing, in which, I developed 4th grade ELA curriculum.  I also participate in a summer reading program that supports and strengthens reading skills of low socioeconomic children.  I was awarded Teacher of the Year in 2016.

As a former writing teacher, I have learned the value of strong writing instruction.  This begins with simply allowing your students to write daily.  A favorite activity comes from Corbett Harrison called “Sacred Writing Time”.  This is a short ten minute part of the day that becomes one of the most important.  This time allows students to freely write and draw about anything on their mind.  A set block of writing time builds writing fluency, challenges students to be creative and express their ideas in unique ways, and is a great time to practice skills and strategies discussed in writing mini-lessons.  Building confident writers in elementary classrooms paves the way for life-long writers!

SRSU Fall 2019 M.Ed. Reading Specialist Graduate

Published by

Dr. Jennifer Miller-Ray

Jennifer Miller-Ray, PhD. is a cognitive scientist, curriculum designer and learning expert specializing in literacy, STEM K-12 integration initiatives, makerspace instructional design, pedagogy, and digital resources. Currently, she serves as an assistant professor in reading in the College of Education at Sul Ross State University. She has designed literacy and makerspace events for NASA launch parties held at the Kennedy space center, NASA STEM camps, and for the Perot Museum. Dr. Miller has received multiple NASA, state, and community grants to fund STEM research programs. In addition, Dr. Miller has developed two Massive Open Online Courses through Canvas's Open Network highlighting NASA MMS Education Outreach programs. Dr. Miller has successfully implemented research initiatives to study student attitudes and perspectives during STEAM camp and in a middle school robotics program the last three years with the University of North Texas. Dr. Miller's research centers around a makerspace project-based learning model in which elementary and middle school students connect curriculum content to informal makerspace activities to make an artifact serving the career role of a journalist, scientist, engineer, or journalist. ​Recently, her dissertation initiatives, funded through a NASA grant and local library public school program, were highlighted as the innovative research project in the University of North Texas's January 2017 RESEARCH magazine.