It's here...Year 2020 is here!! This time of year is by far the most exciting time of the year for me. This is the time of year when many of us get into deep thought about all the exciting events that we experienced throughout the past year. A time of year to reflect and embrace what we have or have not accomplished as the year comes to an end.
This is also a time of the year to think about new beginnings, new goals, new journeys.
A new year brings hope and encouragement to perhaps complete what we couldn't accomplish the year before.
I don't know about you but I am not very good about making a New Year's resolution or a list of things to accomplish. I just feel like I wouldn't be able to keep up with what I want and I don't want to feel disappointed.
I LOVE to be surprised by life! I don't know what this year has in store for me. I don't know where I'll go. I don't know who I'll be meeting.
What I do know is that I need a WORD. One word that will serve as a core focus to what I do, why, and how I do things in life. Whether is personal or professional, this word helps me stay focus on what matters to stay passionate about everything I do.
I started choosing an inspirational word for a few years now and the intentionality I put on focusing on this word has been powerful.
I blogged about my #OneWord2018 and #OneWord2019 if you'd like to read it.
On December 11th, I had the opportunity to host Writable's Twitter chat. If you are interested in learning more about the best strategies and methods to support your students in writing, I recommend you join this weekly chat. All you have to do is follow the hashtag #WritingMatters at 7:00 PM ET and join the fun.
Shaelynn Farnsworth gracefully invited to lead the chat and focus on how to support ELs during writing. I didn't come up with a super catchy title but our focus during the chat was "Writing Instruction for ELs".
When I think about supporting ELs in their writing, I think about interactive writing, visual writing, scaffoldings, and their classroom environment. This is why I made my questions around these topics.
We had great participation and a lot of great tips and resources were shared. I thought about blogging this with the hope that you'll find a great tip that can help you support your students become the successful writers you want them to become.
If you feel like answering these questions, please do so following the hashtag mention above and tag me when posting your answers. I'd love to learn from you.
From October 15th - October 26th, I had the honor and pleasure to lead a Twitter book study through #ELLchat_bkclub. If you participated - Thank you! - If you did not, I recommend you take some time and review our conversations on very important topics that are highlighted in Latina Teachers by Dr. Glenda Flores. Some of the topic we discussed are:
LIVE Book Chat
This post was originally posted on https://ncedleaders.blogspot.com/ on July 3rd , 2019
When I started my teaching career, (15 years ago), my mother gave me this hanging sign that says “3 Reasons for Teaching - June, July, August”. I hang on to it just because my mother gave it to me; However, you’ll never see this sign in my classroom because summer breaks are not my reasons for teaching.
Now, don’t take me wrong, I love summer breaks and I always take full advantage to recharge and refresh before the start of another school year. But as good as summer breaks might be, they’re NOT my reasons for teaching
The path to the teaching profession was not an ordinary path for me. I immigrated to the United States at the age of 15 years old. I started high school with the hopes and desire to graduate and go to college to be the teacher I’ve always wanted to be. From day one, I embraced school and education. Breaking all sorts of barriers, I was able to learn the English language and get all the required credits for graduation. But unfortunately, everything fell apart when I failed American History - Regents exam. With disappointment and a heart in a million pieces, I took the bus home and never went back. In 1997 I became part of the Latino High school dropout.
Failing at school made me question everything I believed I knew about myself. I started working as a cashier where every time I scanned an item the beep was a constant reminder of my failure. I didn’t believe I was capable to do anything else.
Years later I decided to rewrite my personal narrative by returning to school. I found a local community college and obtained my GED. I went on from there to find success in college getting y associate’s degree, my bachelor’s and then my Master’s degree. Today, I am where I need to be. Inspiring students every day to reach their highest potential. You see, I had potential within me all along. What I didn’t have was someone who believed in me. Someone in my corner encouraging me to find my passion and help me fulfill my human potential. I strive to be an educator who will be for my students what I didn’t always have: someone to believe in them.
So, if you ask me what my reason for teaching is, I would say it is INSPIRING MY STUDENTS TO KNOW THEIR POTENTIAL and PURPOSE.
If you're like me, I'm always looking for opportunities to learn and better my craft. This is why I wanted to share this with you. On June 5th, 2019, I had the amazing opportunity to present on a webinar with 3 other incredible educators. This webinar was made available through Achieving the Core, an excellent website that provides free, ready-to-use classroom resources that support excellent, standards-aligned instruction for all students.
This webinar helped kick off Achieving the Core's Summer Reading Challenge 2019, which I highly recommend you check out!
As "most popular authors" from Aligned, we introduced some of the transformative practices we’ve implemented in our schools that have helped boost engagement and achievement.
#ELLchat_BKclub Meta Round 17.0
On December 15th, 2018, Dr. Katie Toppel (co-founder of Twitter chat #ELLchat_bkClub) reached out to a few of us in our PLN (Professional Learning Network) and shared her idea for round 17.0 Twitter book chat.
For round 17.0, Katie offered us to help facilitate a book study on Making Content Comprehensible text from SIOP by each one of us taking charge of a component. The idea was to make this an 8-week "meta" book study - one week for each component. Each facilitator was invited to guide each component with own ideas, resources, videos, live chats, presentations, and connections with other previously read books in our chat.
So each one of us provided our preferences as to which component we wanted to lead. The component assignments were as follows:
As soon as the "meta" promo went out, participants immediately began sending in selfies with the book and showing so much excitement about participating. It was even more amazing with the author Dr. Jana Echevarria started engaging in conversation and even blogged about #ELLchat_bkClub round 17.0 - "Is SIOP Only for ESL Teachers?" - Read her post HERE.
My favorite line is "join the Twitter PLC discussion on SIOP." WOW!! Just awesome to read this from the SIOP author and highly recognized researcher in our field.
I just LOVE it when I buy a book and that book ends up stirring up everything within me. BE REAL - Educate from the Heart by Tara Martin just shook. My. World!!
While reading Tara's story, I couldn't help thinking about my own experiences and realize how I too have experiences that are unique and powerful. Tara's message helped me zoom in and have a clear understanding of my purpose (my WHY) and all I do because of my purpose.
You see, I am very passionate about English learners; so anything and everything I do is to highlight their potential and strengths.
EVERYTHING I do (my what) whether is teaching, blogging, twitting, keynoting, PD sessions, will all be inspired by my purpose and my passion.
For this reason, my #OneWord for 2019 is...ACTIONS. I will be doing everything I do with intentionality.
I will, as Tara, says in her book..."measure everything I make using two questions:"
Whether is a professional or personal action, I will make sure that it is intentional behavior that will benefit my purpose and others as well.
"Recognize your talents and strengths and own them! Then, make confident choices. Take the leap and try out an idea, teach, write, speak, encourage a friend over coffee - do what you do and begin to salt the world with your whats. Don't doubt yourself. That you may be easier said than done, but if an idea, action, or next step fits your purpose - your why - go with it!" ~ Tara Martin
I will always return to these words that inspired me to continue working hard to make a difference.
Heart-healthy salt is your what - the actions you take to influence others to thirst after the why. - Tara Martin
Thank you for reading and hApPy 2019!
Blog: a website containing a writer's own experiences, observations, opinions, etc.
If blogging would be as easy as it sounds...at least that's what I thought almost two years ago! The fear of what others might say about my written experiences and thoughts bounded me from blogging for a very long time.
However, encouraged and inspired by Tan Huynh, Valentina Gonzalez, Carol Salva, and Larry Ferlazzo, I began my personal and educational blog in April 2017.
So as we approach my second full year blogging, I'd like to share with you what it is that keeps me going.
Believe in YOU!
Just know that we all have a unique ability and potential that the world needs to read and learn about. Start by sharing with the world what inspires YOU.
What inspires you makes you who you are and YOU are enough!
Lead & Learn
When it comes to writing and sharing your experiences be a leader and create your own format. As you take risks creating what is unique to you, you'll learn new approaches to continue sharing your uniqueness.
As you begin to expand your tent (growing your audience) pay very close attention to their tips, advice, and guidance about your topics. It's not about pleasing the audience as much as it is honoring others' perspectives.
Good to Great
I Love this phrase because it implies that there's always room to grow! As you begin having the opportunity for "guest blogging" in others' blogs, you'll realize the need to improve your craft and always continue challenging
yourself just a little more!
That's it! Simple as that. Just BLOG!
"We have to be willing to take risks in order to discover and fulfill our purpose in education and in life." ~ Tara Martin #REALedu
"Blogging is an act that begins with an internal purpose and grows to an outcome of benefiting the greater education community." - Mike Gorman
Thank you for reading and Happy Blogging!
I am super excited to share with you that I am starting a new position for the 2018 - 2019 school year...I will now be a HIGH SCHOOL ESL teacher!!!
Working with high school ESL students it's a desire that it's been in my heart for quite some time now. I understand first hand the struggles and huddles newcomer high school students are facing as they begin their educational journey in the USA. It is my hope that my personal experiences and 14 years in an elementary setting, have equipped me with the skills I need to support students are Concord HS.
I am very sad to leave Irvin Elementary!! I've built great relationships with students, parents, and staff. However, I feel very strongly about this change. It's the right time.
I must admit that I am a little nervous. New content, new staff, new students, new EVERYTHING! However, the excitement and passion I feel about this change are going to help me adjust to all new changes.
Wish me luck...and send any HS resources my way please...I'll be needing all the support I can get.
Life is about trusting your feelings, taking chances, finding happiness, learning from the past, and realizing everything changes.
If you know me well, you'd know how much I advocate for family engagement and family support to ensure student success. Ever since I started working for our school system I've organized ESL family nights to provide educational interventions aimed at promoting student success.
One reason why I feel strongly about family engagement is that it is something I felt I didn't have when attending school in the US.
Another reason was and still is because of the vast demands our schools have of our students and family support to ensure student academic success.
Just last week I thought about starting a blog in Spanish to provide "adequate" support and strategies that Latinxs parents and readers can use to utilize to support students academic success.
Though my intentions are not bad - as a matter fact, I have great intentions to support families - I started thinking about the core of my intentions. You see, I began these family meeting with our ESL families because I questioned or perhaps devalued ESL families' competence to support their children at home. I know this sounds wrong - and it is! However, I need to be honest with myself and the families I serve; and understanding the reason why I do what I do is imperative.
"As teacher and school leaders we have a responsibility to shake out the notion of what traditional parent engagement looks like. We need to be creative and persistent". - Allison Rookman
There are two books I read recently that helped me see family engagement through a different lens.
Reading these two novels made me think of a book I read a few years ago while getting my graduate ESL degree. Con Respeto by Guadalupe Váldes is a study that brings to life the everyday worlds of 10 newly arrived immigrant Mexican families. The core of this book and the two novels I mentioned above is to showcase immigrants' family life as a great resource.
As an educator, I see my colleagues and school systems well-meaning intentions in creating and providing educational interventions aimed at promoting school success based on teacher knowledge and based on school context - but not based on parent knowledge.
A New Lens
You see, instead of looking at our families' childrearing styles as a deficit, we can start by changing the way we look at our ESL families' parental knowledge.
From now on I want to make sure my families are being honored for who they are. My teacher knowledge must increase in cultural understanding to be able to embrace and maintain a comfortable environment for my ESL families and my students.
The support and tools I will be presenting my ESL parents from now on, will NOT be with the idea of changing who they are or devaluing their family support.
My ideas and tools will now be to provide parents with the tools they need to navigate the standard and expectation our schools in the US hold.
My ultimate intention, as well as our ESL families' intention, is to support our students in becoming successful adults, who although they find themselves between two words, may they be empowered to be the best they can be to represent their two worlds.
I would love to know your thoughts on this topic! Please share your comments and lets continue learning together.
Thank you for reading!
As 2017 comes to an end, I sit here reflecting on this year and I can't help but smile. Joy fills my heart!
Personal goal - I celebrate my growth as a reader. This year I became a passionate reader! I read several books for fun, new books for students' lessons, and professional books. This might not be a big deal for some but it is for me. I was a casual reader...reading because I had to, not because I wanted to.
Professional goal: Presented at TX Tesol 2017 convention and traveled to Germany with Go Global NC representing Cabarrus County.
However, as wonderful as this year was, I am looking forward to a New Year. I anticipate 2018 to be a year full of excitement. A year of new beginnings. A year of greatness. A year of growth and impact.
After reading Tara Martin's post on Fear Disguised as Humility (Humility is not pretending you are something you're not. Humility is not denying your God-given talents. Humility is being REAL), I decided to go big next year. I am shooting for the stars.
In Any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety. ~ Abraham Maslow
I choose to step forward! I want to be GREAT! I am not being egocentric...I am being REAL!
After reading Lead Like a Pirate by Shelley Burgess and (@burgess_Shelley) and Beth Houf (@Bethhouf), I am confident and passionate about leading in my field.
So, because I know I want to be great, and because I want to make a difference in the ESL field...I can't help but think about and discover what my REAL purpose is. I know my purpose is to be an educator. No doubt about this. But there has to be more...and next year is all about finding it out.
My word for 2018 is Purpose because I want to be GREAT, I must fully understand what my purpose is. Just like the quote above...I know I'm a ship...but I must leave my comfort zone to be able to fulfill my intended purpose.
Perhaps I come back to this blog post next year and add to this post since right now it is not as clear as I would like it to be.
But as of now...PURPOSE is my #OneWord2018
If you want to share your #OneWord with me, share in the comments!
Happy 2018 and thank you for reading!
Here’s a very simple question for you; Are you a casual reader or a passionate reader?!? To help you answer this question let’s analyze the characteristics of these traits:
I used to be a casual reader. I read because I had to, not because I enjoyed it. I own these books here because they were required readings during my undergrad and grad school teaching courses. I kept them because I found them very useful and I’ve used them for the past few years as resources and recommendations.
However, not one book in there I purchased because of a desire to read and gain knowledge.
My life as a reader was sad and pitiful. I didn’t realize it until I read this quote by Pernille Ripp’s: “...if reading is merely something we teach, and not something we live, then why should students take us seriously when we tell them how important reading is to future success.”
Now, if you are a teacher, you probably own hundreds of children’s books...at least I do. I’m always on the lookout for the latest and best books to use in lessons and to encourage my students to read more. Our job as educators is to grow readers and instill how import reading is to their academic success. In reality, I was not living what I was teaching my students. The expectation I had for them, I didn’t have it for myself. I realized that I was being a hypocrite. I was trying to inspire my students to do something I wasn’t passionate about.
Pernille Ripp’s words hit me so hard that I started looking for ways to change my reading habits. Of course, to make such drastic change, I realized I couldn’t do it alone and that my readings needed to be intentional to be able to grow as a reader.
So I’d like to highlight the platforms that helped me become a Passionate Reader:
Though it was very nice to get these badges, it was the relationship I built with the group participants that encouraged me to continue participating in the chats. Ever since I’ve joined this group chat, I’ve added so many more books to my bookshelf...and the list keeps growing. I am learning to LOVE reading. I am buying books because I want to experience what others are experiencing when reading their recommended books. I make time every day to read my books. I am also enjoying sharing what I find interesting in a book using #bookSnaps, Padlet and blogging about my readings. I am growing as a reader, as a person, and as a professional.
I am just a book and a chat away from the perfect personalized professional development I can ask for.
Now, #BookcampPD is offering even more opportunities of engagement by adding the VOXER PD version of book chat!! I learned to use this new app and love hearing other’s books recommendations and perspectives on their readings.
You see, the platforms, the tools, and passionate readers are out there ready for you to join their passion!! I would love for you to check out these two hashtags and join the fun conversations; however, my intention is to ignite in you the passion for reading. The passion for starting and finishing a book to happily find someone to share it with. The passion to get lost in a book. Perhaps these inspirational reading quotes can also inspire you!
I feel very confident encouraging you to read because I am now a PASSIONATE READER!
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” ~ R. G. Collingwood
Thank you for reading!!