Friday, May 29, 2009

Poetry Friday

by Stella Villalba

48 Hour Book Challenge

48 Hours of pure fun

can't wait till I am buried

with all my books on the couch

48 Hour Book Challenge

48 Hours of pure fun

 it all starts with breakfast
and it ends with a smile

48 Hour Book Challenge

48 Hours of pure fun

 Thanks to Mother Reader

 I will be reading nonstop.

48 Hour Book Challenge

48 Hours of pure fun

haven't signed up yet?

you'll be missing great fun.

Will I start with The Graveyard Book?

Will I start with Poetry?

It doesn't really matter

it will be just 

my books,


my traveling mind.

I hope this poem shows my excitement about this event! Even though, our school district is still in session the following week, I can't resist an invitation to read and explore. 
The round up for Poetry Friday this week is at Live. Love. Explore! Can't wait to head over there and discover what others wrote! Enjoy this Poetry Day.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

All Language Learners Are Welcomed!

I like to refer to my students and myself as the "ESL Family" because we are all very connected by language, experiences, learning, and cultures. But most important because we all need one another in order to function, to learn and to grow. I always let them know that I need them and their families in order for all of us to succeed. 
We like to welcome new family members to our ESL families all the time. Our doors are always open to possibilities. And when the brilliant Spanish teacher at our dear Yearling High School approached us about two months ago with a new idea, we (my teaching partner Michelle and I) listened carefully. We loved his idea, his initiative, his motivation, and above all, his enthusiasm. He had the great idea of having his Advanced Spanish Class students write bilingual stories for our dear ESL family. He took those HS students through the whole process of writing, starting from considering the audience to decisions about illustrations. Some of the high school students illustrated the books themselves and others worked in partners with some Art Students. The results were amazing. And the best part of all is that my dear 1st grade ESL class were chosen as the lucky audience for those amazing books.

When that day came, it was magica. Our High School students and our ESL first grade classes were talking, reading and listening in their small groups. I couldn't help but feel this happiness tickling in my heart. On that day, we were all united as language learners, regardless of their ages. Some were learning English, others were learning Spanish, but the love for a good  piece of writing brought them together that day. 

One more time, Whitehall News, our local newspaper covered the story of that special day. You can read the article online right here. Another reason to feel grateful.

p.s. In the photo below you can see some of my 1st grade ESL students. We like to do "group hugs" when we celebrate, and the day our High School friends came to read, was a big reason to celebrate!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I don't need to wait until November to write a post about the things that I am thankful. I am feeling very grateful right now, I feel the need to record those moments, those feelings, those thoughts running through my head so I can freeze this moment in time.

Feeling very thankful...

for feeling energetic and optimistic
for summer festivals
for heavenly places like Hocking Hills
for waterfalls
for summer picnics
for children's laughs filling my day
for books waiting for me to open them
for my students whose bright minds inspire me every day
for the ceiling fan in my bedroom :)
for my little basil plant blooming in my apartment
for being able to spend so much time being active
for file folders that organizes my school life beautifully
for water that kept me hydrated all day long
for beautiful singing voices like Regina Spektor
for sand filling my shoes after hiking
for black and white photographs
for vibrant Costa Rican coffee in the mornings
for an early car drive
for a quiet prayer
for friends who are willing to be silly with you.
for tired legs that remind me how much fun I had today...

Monday, May 25, 2009

El Barrio

El Barrio

Join the Diversity Rocks! Challenge

El Barrio by Debbi Chocolate and illustrated by David Diaz
I wish I had this book in my hands when I was reviewing the extraordinary Broadway Musical In The Heights a couple of weeks ago. This book basically describes what the musical In The Heights is describing when they sing, talk, and describe In The Heights, the latino barrio in New York City. Barrio is a spanish word for neighborhood and Debbi Chocolate invites us to join a young boy as he explores his colorful, full of life neighborhoood. I did feel like I was walking with  this boy through the Barrio  as he describes the rhythms of the streets, filled with music and happy beats. The sparkling graffitti is a natural background for a  Barrio and the author does such a fine job appreciating them.  Have you heard of the latino tradition to celebrate when a girls turns 15 years old? Yes, it is called a Quinceañera and it's one of the most important moments in a girls' life. Part of this Quinceañera celebrations is wearing an amazing dress, sharing this day with the closest and most beloved people in your life.  This is one of those books that provides so much background for a person that would like to understand more about our culture, and it also provides such a strong connection with a person that knows the delights of what a Barrio brings.
The language is so exquisite, here is a preview to prove my point:

cold hydrant spray
rain-washed murals
bodegas that never sleeps
lemon-yellow fire escape

Isn't this captivating language? Hope you are all convinced!  I Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did since this is definitely a quality piece of work. And please, when you get a chance, stop by Diversity Rocks because the invitation to read quality diverse literature is impossible to resist!


Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day- A Tribute Poem to our Heroes

There are many heroes in our lives, the ones that wake up every morning and despite the struggles in life, they get up, dust themselves off, and try again. There are the kind of heroes that like my students, move from another country, learn a new language, a new culture and try to learn something new everyday. And then we have the heroes that we will be remembering this weekend, the ones whose lives put behind for our country, for our flag, for our nation. That is why, My World/ Mi Mundo would like to acknowledge those heroes through this poem called When I 'm Gone by Mrs. Lyman Hancock.

When I'm Gone
by Mrs. Lyman Hancock

When I come to the end of the journey
and I travel my last weary mile
Just forget if you can, that I ever frowned
And remember only the smile.

Forget unkind words I have spoken;
Remember some good I have done.
Forget that I ever had heartache
And remember I've had loads of fun.

The rest of the poem is just beautiful, a must read. Please click here to read the rest of this inspiring poem. And don't forget to visit Susan Writes where she is hosting our Poetry Friday! Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yes Day! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Yes Day!Here is a new book that readers would love and feel connected to! The beginning is so catchy and intriguing that you got to keep on reading....

"Today is my favorite day of the year! Just watch, you'll see what I mean..."

Of course at that point, the engaging reader would be guessing the reason why this is the child's favorite day of the year. Any guesses? Well, I love the fact that the book doesn't go and explicit say why this is a "Yes Day" but the pictures reveal the reason (if you paid attention!). If you were given an "Yes Day" what would you ask for? any thoughts? Well, this child asks all the small and big things that make a day a bit brighter like having pizza for breakfast, getting to choose his favorite sugar cereal, getting piggyback rides, and eating lunch outside...

Yes Day by Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a great reminder of the little things that make a child happy on that special one day of the year.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bedtime for Button

Bedtime For Buttons
When I was a child, I loved listening to my parents telling us stories about the day we were born, about the things we were learning as a baby, or how I would drive mom crazy with my sleeping patterns. I could listen to these kind of stories over and over! I think that is why I enjoyed reading Bedtime for Button by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow. When little Button is afraid of falling asleep because of the dreams he might have, Daddy Bear knew exactly what to do. Daddy Bear's description of that special day is beautiful, so precise, so clear. He starts by describing how the weather felt that day, the little things he did on that day as he prepared himself for Button's arrival. The illustrations are an excellent companion to the story, the drawing and the colors are soft which matches the calm and sweet language used in the book.
Layn Marlow was also the illustrator for the book Little by Little, a book I reviewed last year here at My World/Mi Mundo..

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What Are You Looking Forward to? What helps you keep going?

For all the ones that are in teaching and education, you know that the countdown to the end of the school year has started. However, in order to get there, there are one hundred and one things to do, to take care, to sign and to deliver before the end of the school year. *Sigh* Yes, it is very intense, quite the roller coaster ride! What is helping you get to the end of the school year? What are the things you are looking forward to? WHat helps you keep going?

These are the questions that were revolving in my head this morning, so here is what I discovered for myself...

What helps me keep going?
* Our fun informational writing that I am doing with students in grades 1 & 2.
*The artistic and creative Poetry Unit the 3rd graders are discovering
*Our inspirational conversation with my 5th graders about Life in America, what freedom means, and about being away from home. 
*My new mino flip video! Seriously, what took me so long to make this purchase?? It is one of the most fantastic little technology out there. I have only own it for a couple of days and I have already created more than 10 videos of my students' different projects!

I look forward to...

*My pool days with my favorite book in hand
*Thrilling Thursdays when a group of friends and I gather to cook, play, swim and talk.
*Celebrating 15 years of friendship with my friends Claudia and Carol in Marco Island, Florida.
*Participating in the 48 hour Reading Challenge. It is always such a good time.
*Going to Columbus Summer Festivals. Yes, my friends, I go to almost all of them. 
*Photographing this city.
*Creating different art project in my little studio.
*Reading, reading, reading! I heart reading.
*Finding new, fresh and inspirational ideas.
*Planning a road trip to...(don't know yet, but it is happening!)
*Hiking and doing tons of picnics at Hocking Hills.

What about you? What helps you keep going at school? What are you looking forward to? Enjoy the weekend which seems to be a combination of rain, sun, rain and more sun.

Monday, May 11, 2009

This is truly a community of learners...

Ever since I started writing My World/Mi Mundo (a little over a year ago) I have had some amazing experiences in the world of Kidlitosphere. I have met some amazing Columbus bloggers who later became good friends. I have made some new connections, and learned from a community that have a deep appreciation for quality children's literature, care about teaching and have the desire to expand their knowledge on teaching English language learners and students of different cultures. It is my wish that you have also learned a lot through this blogging world as much as I have learned. And I know there is so much more to discover.
In this post, I would like to thank the following blogs who keep supporting My World/Mi Mundo and keeps motivating me to keep my eyes and heart open to new learning:
Color Online: was founded in 2005 and through their blog they encourage and invite young women to express themselves through different media like literature, art and writing. Their blog is pretty amazing and I invite you to  spend some time there. Thanks to Color Online for adding a link to My World/Mi Mundo. I feel honored to have a space in your blog and to be part of the community that embraces literature and self-expression. 

Children's Book Press Blog: if you have been following My World/Mi Mundo you will know that I am a big fan and supporter of the literature published by Children's Book Press. I have reviewed several of their publication in my blog (you can find some posts here, here, and here too!). I am happy to see that Children's Book Press has added a special posting about My World/Mi Mundo highlighting our passion for books, poetry, and teaching. You can check out their posting by visiting their blog right here.

And last but not least, thanks Susan from Black-Eyes Susans for giving My World/Mi Mundo a Kreativ Blogger Award. Well, well, well, let me just add that this totally made me feel great special after a long and exhausting day at school on Friday. Thanks Susan.  

Since I received this award, my part includes sharing with you all 7 things I love (Oh! I LOVE doing this kind of task!) and passing this appreciation and award to seven other Kreativ bloggers. So let's get started, shall we?

I love:
1. black and white photography
2. saturday morning coffee in my pj's
3. crossing things off my list
4. hugs and cards
5. journal writing
6. children's literature
7. my library card

Now,  I would LOVE to pass this award to the following bloggers who brings and contribute so much to our blogging world:

1. BestBooksIhaveNotRead-Kristine does a fantastic job writing about literature, writing workshop, and sharing her new learning from conferences/workshops. 
2. Diversity Rocks: thanks to blogs like this one people open up their horizon to other books, by authors of different races, background, ethnicity. Their enthusiasm and passion for diverse literature is contagious!
3. The Rockstar Diaries: Josh and Naomi are this amazing couple whose appreciation for life, art, creativity and passion for documenting life as it happens is remarkable. 
4. Color Online: like I mentioned earlier this blog is packed with ideas, writing and book reviews that are going to stretch your thinking further and further. Are you up for the challenge?
5. A Year of Reading: I can't thank Franki and Mary Lee enough for all the things I am learning from them. Their posts range from book reviews, 21st Century Thinking, poems and other findings. This team is pretty amazing I must say.
6. Creative Literacy: If you are as lucky as I am to meet Katie you will know that this teacher puts her heart and soul into her teaching. Her blog is a wonderful reflection of that teaching world she loves so much. 
7. New York Portrait: If you have an appreciation for breath-taking photographs, and a special place in your heart for this city, then you can't miss a daily doses of a snapshot from the city that never sleeps. Kitty is an architect and looking at the city through her lenses is simply fascinating.

Alright dear friends, there are so many wonderful blogs out there that are making remarkable contributions. Please take the time to recognize them by passing on this Kreativ Award to them. That's the only way we learn from each other, by sharing and encouraging each other. 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Hook by Ed Young


There are times that certain things makes us this how is supposed to be? was this meant to be mine?  is this where I belong? Well certainly, this was the case for Hook, an abandoned egg.  Hook's destiny was unclear since he was found and adopted by a hen. Soon this hen realizes that there is more to Hook than the visible hook nose, it seemed like this world just wasn't enough for him. He was meant for something bigger, even higher. So with the encouragement of a young man, Hook tries to fly but does not succeed. But there are moments in life that with the right person by your side, you know you can give it a second, or third try. This was the case of Hook, an eagle that belonged in the sky, high up above, where it could witness life through a different angle. This story is brought to us by the talented and winner of the Caldecott Medal Ed Young whose impressive drawings never fail to leave his audience breathless. 

Friday, May 8, 2009

Poetry Friday Inspired by New York City

I was in New York City last weekend and once again had the chance to photograph that enormous, elegant Brooklyn Bridge.  And yes, the person in the photo is me, hugging my favorite bridge. I have always been fascinated with this bridge, and admire how it connects two different side of towns united by that intense New York love. So today for poetry friday, I found the perfect poem to match this theme...

To Brooklyn Bridge
by Harte Crane

How many dawns, chill from its rippling rest
the seagull's wings shall dip and pivot him
shedding white rings of tumult, building high
over the chained bay waters Liberty---

Then, with inviolate curve, forsake our eyes
as apparitional as sails that cross
some pages of figures to be filed away
till elevators drop us from our day...

You can read the rest of this poem right here and please don't forget that the round up for Poetry Friday is hosted at Picture Book of the Day.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

In the Heights

IN THE HEIGHTS Broadway PosterI know that My World-Mi Mundo discusses and reviews children's literature and its use in the classroom with English Language Learners. But today I won't be reviewing a book, I won't be discussing a professional book either. Today I would like to talk about a Broadway Show that has made quite an impact on me, and I am sure on many other people as well. I was in New York City for the weekend and couldn't wait to watch this show I have heard so much about.
In The Heights, is the story of many, many of my darling ESL families. It is a story of families, of dreams, of perseverance, of making " a home" far away from home, of wishing, of fighting, and of making it.  The setting of this story is Washington Heights in New York where so many Hispanic families found "home" in the big city. The characters are strong and unique, like my people, like my gente latina. But the characters are so lovable and so real. In fact, that's what makes In The Heights such an amazing Broadway Musical, it is REAL, the characters stories are real, their dreams are real, their struggles are real. The songs from In The Heights are so vibrant, so full of passion, so intense. The lyrics are sang so fast that you can't blink or you will miss the meaning of the songs. 
Why am I writing about a Broadway Musical in my blog? Because I believe the story behind In The Heights is the story of so many of our ESL families who have packed one or two suitcases, who have left home so their dreams, or their children's dream can become true. Nobody can guarantee an immigrant that life in the new country would work, that their fights would be worth every minute, but it is a risk that many are willing to take. Yes, there are going to be nights when all you want is to walk in the streets of your own, old neighborhood, or taste Abuela's amazing homemade soup, or gaze at the stars under your sky, but those small moments are what makes a family so strong, so united, with a burning desire to go on. 
In The Heights is the recipient of the 2008 Tony Award for best musical and it will be coming to Columbus, Ohio in November. Keep your eyes open for the arrival of a musical that is a reflection of the life of many little faces that are sitting in your class. 

Not All Animals Are Blue

Not all Animals Are BlueConsider this...a book that encourages and allows you to have conversation about simple concepts like colors, movement, facial expressions, and it possible? Of course it is. Not All Animals Are Blue A Big Book of Little Difference  by Beatrice Boutignon is a book of riddle, and guessing games where using picture clues is a MUST!  How does it work you may ask? Very simple yet creative, on one side of the spread you will find 5 descriptive sentences and on the other  you will find 5  animal pictures. Your job as a reader is to match the description and its corresponding pictures. What a fun read aloud this book will be! I can picture my students being totally engage as they hear the each sentence. Beatrice Boutignon even included colored font in the sentences to facilitate the recognition. The fact that the characters in this book are all animals makes it double the fun!