Kelly (Blake) Karstrand ’89, M.A. ’92, recently received the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) Illinois French Teacher of the Year award presented at this year’s Illinois Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ICTFL) conference.
Karstrand (or Ms. Madame as her website refers to her) has been a French teacher in the Chicago area for the past 25 years. She is now the lead language teacher at Alan B. Shepard High School in Palos Heights. Last year she was one of 76 U.S. teachers chosen for an intensive program through Fulbright Fellowship for Teachers for Global Classrooms and traveled to Senegal to work within a local school.
Karstrand regularly presents at ICTFL, ACTFL, and AATF conferences. One of her presentations this year, “Thematic Unit Makeover: Going from Drab to Fab,” focused on taking old textbook units and outdated ways of language learning and transitioning them to a communicative, interpersonal, intercultural, and more meaningful learning experience using authentic resources that connect more fully with students. She also writes a blog where she shares her experiences as a modern language teacher.
At Illinois State she received a bachelor’s degree in French education and a master’s degree in French: “ISU set me on the path to love language and share that love with others. I think often of my professors at ISU, especially Louis Olivier, who encouraged me to attain my M.A., and Monserrat Villarubla, who taught me how to teach. My very best friends today are others who were also doing their M.A. in French at ISU.”
Congratulations to Ms. Karstrand. The Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures is very proud of its alums!