Tell me something about yourself.

My goal is to share some teaching ideas and techniques I’ve gained during my 40+ years in special education.  I’ll be posting what the teachers I’ve worked with have found most helpful.  This is a work-in-progress so new info will be posted each week.

​Why Teaching Threads?  I wanted to share my experiences in education and my love for sewing.  I have seen many great teachers creatively weave together effective strategies in instruction, management, differentiation, and student engagement, with reflection and purpose to make a difference in the lives of their students. While I've spent 40+ years in special education, I've been sewing for a lot longer. I love to sew garments, quilts, gifts, and fiber art.  Currently I am a Professor Emeritus from Western Illinois University, an active member of the Mississippi Valley Quilt Guild, and live with my husband in Blue Grass, Iowa. He's a wonderful songwriter and performer -  David G Smith.

At the beginning of each online course I would ask students to complete a

Getting to Know Me activity.  Here’s an excerpt from my Fall 2016 piece. 

Sharon A Maroney

  • Given a free afternoon and the chance to do anything you wanted, what would you do?


If I had a free afternoon I would either spend the time sewing or being outside. I love to sew.  My grandmother taught me to sew when I was very young and I’ve always loved to sew. I’ve made clothing, gifts, quilts, and art.  But if it’s a nice day, I’d be outside maybe walking at West Lake in Davenport, biking along the Mississippi River, working in my yard, or relaxing on the deck.


  • How would you like your life to change in the next five years?


Five years from now -  I hope to be enjoying my retirement.  I will retire in June 2017 after 42 years in Special Education and 23 years at WIU.  I hope to be traveling, to see a good deal more of our world, and to be planning my next trip.  I hope to be physically stronger and very active!


  • What teaching experiences have you had?


This is my 23th year teaching at WIU.  Prior to that I taught for six years at Buena Vista University.  Prior to my teacher training at the university level, I taught high school students with emotional and behavioral disorders for ten years in Ames, Iowa, and worked as a special education teacher in Rock Rapids and Iowa Falls, Iowa.  I was also a Special Education Consultant with an AEA in Johnston, Iowa.  In total, I am beginning my 42th year in Special Education. 


  • What community projects or organizations are you involved with?


I’m involved in the Mississippi Valley Quilters Guild.  I love to sew and I love this group because we get together and sew.  I was amazed when I first joined at the talent of the quilters in the QC.  The MVQG has a strong charity emphasis.  We are always making quilts and other items to donate to local, national, and international charities.  I’ve made and donated quilts to Headstart, Habitat for Humanity, nursing homes and hospitals, flood and tornado victims, refugee families, fund raisers for individuals in need, and service men and women and veterans. 


  • Who has had the greatest impact on your life?


Without getting too personal I’d have to say my husband.  David is truly my biggest supporter who can also tell me when I’m getting out of line, need to rethink something, or about to make a bad decision.  And he’s an amazing songwriter and musician.  Check him out at or


  • If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?


I am hoping to visit as many of the US National Parks as I can.  So far I’ve been to Bryce Canyon, Everglades, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Great Sand Dunes, Great Smoky Mountains, Hot Springs, Petrified Forest, Redwood, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, and Zion National Parks.


  • Who are the three people you would most like to have dinner with? 


I think it would have to be David Byrne, John Prine and of course, my husband - my very favorite songwriters.  My favorite songs are the ones that have powerful-to-me lyrics – lyrics that are so clever and/or true that I have to listen to them again and again. 

  • What is the best and the worst about our world today?


In my limited view of the world, the worst in our world today is our inability to treat each other with respect and appreciate the value of human life.  On the other hand the best about our world today is that technology has opened the world to many of us.  With technology and the Internet we have access to ideas, information, images, and recordings that were out of our reach a short time ago. 


  • What would you do if you had a million dollars?


I would travel.  I would like to see parts of the world that are very different from my mid-western life and to spend enough time there to get to know some people.  I’d like to get a better understanding of other cultures and how people with different life experiences make sense of things.

A complete listing of professional publications and presentations at the link below:

Dr. Maroney's Vita

© 2016 by Dr. Sharon Maroney, in collaboration with

Kirsten Belisle

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