The Greater Cabarrus Reading Association (GCRA) holds an annual mini conference where educators in Cabarrus county and Kannapolis City Schools' teachers have the opportunity to learn from other educators and also earn CEU credits.
This year, I had the greatest opportunity to present and share the awesomeness we are doing in our classroom.
Event Date: 03/23/2019
My session title: Don't Just Make Your Students Write - Make them Authors
Learning how to encourage and inspire students to share their own stories using WriteReader
For a Youtube version on this presentation, watch this video!
On February 21st, 2019 I had the privilege to collaborate and participate in a webinar hosted by SupportEd. Participating alongside Diane Staehn Fenner - president of SupportEd, Sydney Snyder, and Jill Kester was just beyond an imaginable opportunity.
First of all, I am a huge fan of their book, "Unlocking English Learners' Potential". This book provides an array of strategies and ideas to support ELs on working at their fullest potential. I've also participated in several of their free webinars and I've learned so much.
So, the title of our webinar is
Supporting ELs' Oral Language Development Through Academic Conversation.
You can access the recorded webinar here.
Mannheim School District 83 in Franklin Park, IL holds an annual Bilingual Parent Summit and I was honored to be invited this year (2019) as a guest speaker.
The Bilingual Parent Summit is designed to provide Latinx parents the opportunity to engage and learn strategies and activities to work with their children. The summit not only provided a wide variety of workshops for parents but also a great meal for the entire family. It was wonderful for sit down and lunch with families as they asked questions and asked for support to better care for their children.
I had the greatest privilege to share my immigrant journey as well as my struggles and difficulties as a language learner here in the USA. They best part of the presentation was that it was ALL in SPANISH...yes, and a little in English for our non-Spanish speakers. I noticed several parents crying and hugging their children while I was sharing.
After the presentation, I had the opportunity to have to open Q&A sessions where parents asked questions and were free to discuss methods to support their bilingual children.
From the moment I made it to IL to the day I left, Dr. Piedad Kaye was so sweet and amazing with me. I have so much to thank her for. First of all, she believed in me and gave me the chance to share my story with her staff and school families. She also, was very kind offering all her help knowing I was not feeling well. District 83 provided nothing but royal treatment for me! LOVED visiting them and I would LOVE to go back.
I also had the amazing opportunity to meet Sarah Said. I met Sarah through twitter and we've collaborated in several twitter chats, including #ELLchat_bkclub. It's amazing how connected we felt even though we had never met before.
I was honored to attend a wonderful family event night organized by the English as a Second Language of Rowan-Salisbury, North Carolina. This meeting had ELs and their families at heart. Not only they allowed me to share my immigrant story and EL experience to the audience in Spanish, but also they had several workshops available for parents.
I loved taking questions and answering concern parents have in regards to second language learning; using native language at home; the law that protects ESL students; how school system works in the USA, etc.
I can tell that a lot of parents felt a connection to my story and I hope that my story stays with them forever!
**This post appeared originally in literacyworldwide.org on Jan 31st, 2019.**
“One of our most important responsibilities in school is to protect and advocate for our students’ individuality and identity; it’s their greatest gift.”
Personal experiences are powerful. My journey as a first-generation immigrant and a former English learner is now central to what I do. My personal experiences, coupled with my responsibilities as an educator, have helped me to embrace the role of an advocate and to create and establish a sense of culture that values students’ greatest gifts: identity and individuality.
When ILA launched Children’s Rights to Read campaign last fall, I immediately saw connections to my teaching philosophy and the role I can play in advocating for those rights.
Children’s Rights to Read—10 fundamental rights ILA asserts every child deserves—is a campaign in which ILA aims to activate educators around the world to ensure every child, everywhere, receives access to the education, opportunities, and resources needed to read.
As a high school teacher of English as a second language (ESL), my job is to analyze my students’ needs and to develop their linguistic and communicative competence in English in all language domains.
However, my goal as an educator is to create meaningful learning experiences that serve as pathways for connection. I can create those experiences through the framework of Children’s Rights to Read
The Virginia ESL Supervisors' Association (VESA) hosts an annual conference that provides K-12 Virginia educators and administrators of English Learners opportunities for professional development, learning new ideas, networking, and program planning.
I was honored to join Dr. Kate Kinsella as keynote speakers for the 2019 conference entitled: Creating Pathways to Proficiency
You can access the full conference program below!
So here I am...reflecting on my first semester in High School! As you may know, over the summer of 2018, I made the switch from an elementary school setting to a high school setting. The decision was not a difficult one in the sense that I knew with all my heart I was going where I needed to be. Besides, the passion within me to serve English learners is always seeking out new challenges for improvement. But, to be transparent about my feelings, I must share the FEAR I was facing while making my decision.
Fear of the unknown.
Fear of failure.
High school is a radically different world than elementary school. It's like black and white. The only knowledge I had about high school was what I knew from my son since he is a HS student.
So, I was afraid. I was afraid of schedules, services for students, accommodations for testing, enrollment, co-teaching, etc. I was afraid of how I was going to fit in with Concord High School' staff and students.
Would they like me?
Would I meet their expectations?
Would I be a good fit?
These questions led to begin thinking about failing. What if I fail.
What if I don't fit in?
What if I mess up?
So many questions that for a moment became reasons to avoid venturing the unknown journey.
However, unpredictable journeys can only be lived by being willing to take risks. If we want to maintain a burning passion & seek out new challenges, we must accept the probability that things might not go as planned or as we would've wanted them to; but that's how change happens...and change is good!!
One semester. One semester is just enough time for me to realize how much I love working with high school students at Concord High School!
Do I know everything? NO.
Have I had failures? YES.
You see, that's the beauty of unknown and unpredictable journeys; That no matter what the journey brings our way...we stand strong on the heartfelt decision and risks.
I have SO MUCH to learn. I have so many relationships to build. I have so many more things to do. Meanwhile, I sit here - looking at the bulletin board with all our ELs' pictures (picture above)...and I smile thinking on the many - many more wonderful memories in the years to come.
"Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable." - George S. Parron
Thank you for reading & Go Spiders!
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!