Saturday, June 13, 2009

End of the Year...

Dear Blogger friends,

I finished another school year. Wow. It is amazing and thrilling to know that I have been teaching for 11 years! It is a relief to know that I feel so passionate about teaching and learning as  I did when I started. I learned so many things every year, from my students, from my friends, and now from this blogging world. I love this life and I wouldn't change it at all. Every year I send a thank you letter to all my dear ESL families thanking them for another great year and their unconditional support in their child's education. This year I added a little extra to the thank you letter. As many of my friends know, I love to take pictures. I always, always carry my camera in my purse. Throughout the year, I take tons of pictures of my students engaged in all the different learning and fun experiences in their ESL class. This year I thought I would put all the pictures I have taken of my students into a DVD for the students to take home. I learned how to use iDVD and iMovie on my Mac, so over the course of one weekend, I created a movie with the pictures, set background music and burned over 70 DVD copies in the course of a weekend. I can't tell you how personal satisfaction I felt during the course of this project. I learned to do something new AND most important I knew that those dear ESL families would get to keep a little treasure, a peek into their child's life at school through that DVD. Don't you love the possibilities that technology can offer to our students? I do!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Want to Be Free

I Want to be Free
"Before I die, I want to be free.
But the Big Man says, "You belong to me."

That's how the story "I Want to Be Free" by Joseph  Slate starts. My heart feels uneasy as I start reading this book because I know that this story, although fictional, is part of our history in the USA. It happened. It did and we can't change it now, but we can definitely avoid making those same mistake twice. How many men during slavery dreamed of being free, of making their own decisions, of watching after their own families? How many tried to escape and couldn't? How many people dreamed of the day to be free but that day never really came? Many people indeed.

I Want to Be Free tells the story of a slave who escapes from a plantation with an iron ring attached and locked in his ankle. As he is escaping he runs into an orphaned slave child whose lost life he decides to saves. In this way, he is not only escaping for himself but also for the child's life. This child ends up being and representing so much more than " an orphaned child" but turned out to be his rescuer.

Moving text and  illustrations make this books stand out right away. This story is a vivid example of a story that does not need too many words to convey its powerful meaning. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Post Way Overdue

I agree with Franki, the 48 Hour Reading Challenge is also one of my favorite "holidays" but this year it was not a successful event for me as I hoped for. May be the migraine had something to do with it, and the fact that we are still in session at school (this week is our last week!!!). All I could manage to read was one book although there were five books in my pile. I missed seeing my blogger friends on Saturday for breakfast but I know that we can always find an excuse to get together.
Mary Lee: we are all very proud of you and the effort you put in participating at the Ohio Casting For Recovery Fish-a-Thon. You can read about her adventure right here. Even though I read only one book, I will count all the books in my pile as part of my donation.  We are very proud of you.
Let me make it through my last week of school and I will be writing about the book I read this weekend. Most of  you are already in Summer vacation mode so I hope you are enjoying it fully!!!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Poetry Friday

Today my dear group of 5th grade ESL class are graduating from Elementary School. When I started working at Beechwood Elementary, they were in Kindergarten and I knew then that this group of students were going to mark my life in many ways. I was not wrong. They did. I am so thankful I had a chance in this life to be their teachers. I am so thankful for all the things they have taught me year after year. I am so thankful for our tears, our parties, our laughs, our book clubs, our picnics. I am thankful that life has been so good to me to put these amazing little people in my life. Off they go now to touch somebody's else lives. My poem is dedicated to them...

What Is To Say Good-bye?
by Stella Villalba

What is to say good-bye?
is it a long pause
or just a little one?

What is to say good-bye?
to be thankful that it happened
or to want some more?

What is to say good-bye?
To know that no matter what
you will have them close by.

What is to say good-bye?
Is it to fear new beginnings or
is it an invitation to embrace change?

What is to say good-bye?
to make you realize that you
are just saying, I hope I see you SOON.

I don't know what it means to say good-bye
all I know it's the deep gratitude I feel in my heart.

Poetry Friday round up is at Read Write Believe. Please stop by to check out what other bloggers have done!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

All In A Day

All in a Day
I love Cynthia Rylant's books and this new one is no exception. All In a Day is one of those picture books that makes you feel very inspired and motivated when you get to the end of the book.  With the help of Nikki McClure as the illustrator, Cynthia takes us on a journey of what is enclosed in a single day. Have you ever thought of TODAY as your day, your chance to wish, to love, to see, to act? Cynthia Rylant did and you can't help but feeling like there is more than you can do in this day before you go to bed.

So, what have you done today? Is there more that you would like to do? I hope there is nothing stopping you. Read, learn, love and grow.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Clang! Clang! Beep! Beep! Listen to the City!

Clang! Clang! Beep! Beep!: Listen to the CityClang! Clang! Beep! Beep! Listen to the City! by Robert Burleigh is one of those books that invite readers to use their sense of hearing and sight to experience the big city. So if you live in a big city, you are probably very in tune with all the different noises and kinds of sights that surrounds you. So, let's talk a walk around the city, shall we? What do you think you will hear? cars honking,  big trucks rocking,  subway roaring...oh yes, all those noises and so much more.  Now tell me what do you think we will see? Riders snoring, kids shortcutting, ice cream selling...oh yes, and so much more! Clang! Clang! Beep! Beep! Listen to the City is a book that won't let you sleep, it will keep you up, and moving with the city as well.