“It’s time we talk.”


When we had a lull in our quiet evening, my husband told me, “It’s time we talk.” Well actually, he approached me saying, “Tengo que hablar contigo sobre algo grande. Fijate bien lo que te voy a decir.” We are a family that only speaks Spanish at home.

In light of reported fears of an upcoming mass deportation of immigrants, or as also referred to in US History as ‘repatriation’, my husband wanted to update our disaster plan to include what we should do if he is sent back to his birth country. The fear of being separated is real for so many immigrant families. So many of my own students are nervous, while others are silently panicking.

Yes, the fear is real. A 2015 NPR article makes the connection between then Presidential candidate Trump’s proprosal for deportation and the 1929 Repatriation Act.

Yes, the fear is real. Although Born in East LA is a comedy, the 1984 movie prososed the reality of a citizen who is rounded up in a deportation raid and sent to Tijuana.

Yes, the fear is real. There are people who go to Home Depot not with the intent to hire a day laborer, but rather scare the laborers by taking them to immigration.

Yes, the fear is real. Luis, a former student of mine, came to school that one cold morning, crying. His mother never came home from work the night before. Upon investigating, his mother was the passenger in the carpool, when the driver was pulled over. As a result, everyone was deported that same night. Thankfully, his grandparents lived about 30 minutes away, so he went to live with them.

Yes, the fear is real. My husband and I talked openly and have our action plan set. Yet, how many other families take the time to figure out what each person should do in the event of a disaster or life-changing event?

Google’s 8 Pillars of Innovation

the Justist

The greatest innovations are the ones we take for granted, like light bulbs, refrigeration and penicillin. But in a world where the miraculous very quickly becomes common-place, how can a company, especially one as big as Google, maintain a spirit of innovation year after year?

1. Have a mission that matters

Work can be more than a job when it stands for something you care about. Google’s mission is to ‘organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’  When Google starts working in a new area, it’s simply because there is a fundamental issue that hasn’t had any solution, and Google is there to make a difference using the technology they posses. Gmail was created to address the need for more web email functionality, great search and more storage.

2. Think big but start small

No matter how ambitious the plan, you have to roll up your…

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Simple Graphic Design for The Classroom

I’d love to incorporate an aspect of Graphic Design in my sixth grade math lab class. I can do launch by making the math connection with patterns, repetitions, and contrasts.

I Am Claudius

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 2.56.27 PMIf you frequent any sort of social media site like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Google+, chances are you have posted an image or GIF to convey an idea, a thought, or a joke.  But using images to share ideas or speak with one another is not new.  Visual communication can be traced back to cave drawings in France, Egyptian and Mayan hieroglyphs, and pictographs used by the Aztecs.  Look at the chart below you can see how communication has progressed through time.  

visual-communicationWe continue to communicate with image and pictures only now digitally.  Unless you have little ones at home, then you may get your own form of cave paintings on the wall!

The sun, blue sky - child drawing on the wall. And the portrait of a happy child with bright, the paint palmsUnless you’ve degreed in visual or graphic communications, creating appealing images or graphics may be challenging to many.  In this blog, I’ll share some graphic design tips that can help you have a better grasp at…

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MORE Short Stories and Texts to use with Notice and Note Signposts

Great list for planning lessons for teaching Notice & Note.

The Accidental English Teacher

I know that many of you are excited about using Notice and Note by Kylene Beers and Robert B. Probst in your Language Arts classrooms. I have previously posted about some short stories I used last year to teach the signposts. Since then, I have had other requests for more story ideas. I thought it made sense to use short stories  and texts that are typically found in grade-level literature anthologies to save teachers time making copies. For each of the stories below, I found signposts. You and your students may find even more. Of course, I would never use all of these in one year, but I was trying to make a resource that may be of use to you based on the materials you have. Enjoy! I love teaching close reading using the signposts.

Birthday Box Jane Yolen Memory Moment
Catch the Moon Judith Ortiz Cofer Contrasts & Contradictions

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Great Picture Books to Use for Aha Moments

Aha moments to teach Notice & Note

One of of the main texts we use to guide our reading instruction is the amazing Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst.  This book provides us with the foundation for having deeper reading conversations and a common language as we develop our thoughts.  While the book has excellent text ideas to use as mentor texts, I thought it would be nice for my students  to use picture books on the very first day of a new strategy before we delve into the longer text excerpts.  I have therefore looked for picture books I could use with the different strategies and will publish posts as I have them for the 6 different strategies since I cannot be the only one looking for ideas.

The first post was on Contrast & Contradictions, so this week I am turning to Aha Moments.  These are the books my…

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