Taking a risk with technology

After two weeks in the class all alone it was sort of a risk to also incorporate technology into the class. It is an exciting time by the second week of take over and I attempted to start a Wikispace with my class. You might wonder what about. Well it is !Biografías en español! (Biographies in Spanish) Students have been working hard on their biografías. They started out just reading in groups, talking about a specific person. I developed a graphic organizer that students could use to make notes about the biographies. I modeled with the life of Cesar Chavez: Passions, Impacts (people, events that had impact on the individual), Contributions, and Legacy. Now they get to read and write about one or more individuals that they find interesting. I found it really cool that they all had different ideas for their biografías and the students that needed the extra support with one person could actually use the one they read about to use for their writing. I have continued to use the graphic organizer to develop writing lessons. Now  each student had his/her own password to work on the wiki at their own time and during our biografías time in class. I consulted with the Technology teacher and he was incredibly supportive with the project. The most exciting thing is that it is a Common Core expectation that by the 6th grade students should be exploring things like Wikispaces. We will continue to work on the writing and we will see how it all turns out!


Taking Over

Leading up to my takeover in the classroom I started teaching solo a little more. Writing some of the lesson targets for the day on the board, and writing a chunk of the parent newsletter. Then the day that I started, my hand shook so much, not being able to put up the agenda on the board. Somehow it felt like I was stepping into a territory that was not mine. All of the board suddenly felt enormous. I managed to write everything on the board and I started my day with students alone in the classroom. I thought I would not be able to manage the days in the weeks. However it turned out alright. The first week I delivered the third MSP test and by the last two days I was really teaching alone. With my CT taking the days of all the planning was not run by her and I was really the only teacher.

I was a little nervous writing the first parent letter because in a way I was making myself really responsible for the students learning. Writing my second letter all alone to parents was a much easier than the first. What I am happy about is that I was gradually able to add a little here and there about what I was teaching before I took over. It made the process a lot easier!

Even though my last day of takeover is actually over, I will continue to teach a little longer. I will finish up Biografias on the Wikispaces and math before going back to co-teaching.

First Day                                                                                                           Last official day

Day one of takeover      Last day of take over

Field Trip

Two field trips in one week it was really nice to take some time out of school and learn with students about Space at the National Geographic Live Speaker Series at Benaroya Hall in Seattle with speaker Kevin Peter Hand @alienoceans. I was amazed at how engaged the crowd was with the speaker. He talked with a very full house about “The Search for Life Beyond Earth.” Then two days later students learned how to make A Choose Your Own Adventure Story. Very fun! Students made a book and called it “Clowny with a chance of Plane Crash.” I loved that writing can be so much fun. Students started to write a story with the help of several volunteers at 826 Seattle. A well hidden little place in Seattle where people volunteer their time to teach children how to write and have fun with writing. It is also a place to help students with writing homework after school.

I think that without volunteers and a well planned schedule, the trips would not have been possible. I have to say that I have learned very much from just seen what goes into planning such outings and how much one can trust that parents will be willing to lend a hand. Even without a word of English.

book cover       Inside Book

One Day at Camp

I was alone on the day students packed and boarded buses to go to camp. The parents and the students all crowded in a room was so much for me to take in all at once. However I survived the morning. I was able to get lunches ready, papers delivered, students and parents out and onto the bus. I was happy to see so many parents actually show up to volunteer for camp.

I stayed with the students the first day of camp and it was really fun. A teacher and I set up nature activities for students and then we were ready for the camp introduction. It was nice to see the different ways students interact outside of the classroom and to collaborate with teachers in a different environment too.

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I have had an interesting couple of weeks… thinking about myself as a teacher as a person and the ways that I am still learning to do some things. Such as learning from other peoples perspectives and continuing to grow taking in the good and the bad.

I came across this poem in my things and I felt it fitting for some of what I have been dealing with this past weeks.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest

house. Every morning

a new arrival.


A joy, a depression, a meanness,

Some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.


Welcome and attend them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture, still,

treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.


The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.


Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.


Welcome difficulty.

Learn the alchemy True Human

Beings know:

the moment you accept what troubles

you’ve been given, the door opens.


Welcome difficulty as a familiar

comrade. Joke with torment

brought by the Friend.


Sorrow are the rags of old clothes

and jackets that serve to cover,

and then are taken off.

That undressing,

and that beautiful

naked body


is the sweetness

that comes

after grief.

By Jelalludin Rumi


Celebración de poesia

Last Friday we had a Celebración de poesíathe final presentation of poetry.  Students spent some time putting the final artistic touches to the poems. It was a very fun afternoon which ended with students reciting poetry to a classroom full of parents. It was satisfying to see so many Latino parents and English speaking parents listen to poetry in Spanish. It has always felt like a divided experience to see parents in different places. For example like when the meeting were done separately Spanish and English. However for poetry they were all together and sharing the joy of seeing their sons and daughters become confident bilingual students. Students had so much fun! I was definitely proud, and moved by what they had to say, some were silly some were very heart warming. I could see how proud the students were of their work.

IMG_1155  IMG_1169

“Let there be n…

“Let there be no doubt: a “skilled” minority person who is not also capable of critical analysis becomes the trainable, low-level functionary of the dominant society, simply the grease that keeps the institutions which orchestrate his or her oppression running smoothly. On the other hand, a critical thinker who lacks the “skills” demanded by employers and institutions of higher learning can aspire to financial and social status only within the disenfranchised underworld” Lisa Delpit, Other Peoples Children

One of my motivations to keep learning to keep questioning.  


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