Literacy, Books & Advocacy: Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California

 

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I love books. The smell of books, picture books, fashion books, yoga books, and tear your heart out books. This school year, when planning for our year long social studies unit, Friendships & Schools, I immediately thought of literacy. Not knowing if our K/1 class would be able to grasp this big concept, we went ahead and tried.

As we wrap up our learnings, we are blown away by the discussions we have had with our little ones. We investigated the book system, the library system, the literacy system, the friendship system, the school system, and how they are interconnected. Our little ones said:

Books let you travel the world.

Books are my friends.

I can learn about animals because I care about them.

Without books there would be no understanding.

Books teach you about other cultures, and how we are both different and the same.

Books teach you about the Life Skills.

In learning that books and literacy help support one’s overall well-being, our K/1 class took a walking field trip to the local library. The children’s librarian thoroughly shared the many systems found in the library. They were in awe when they saw the vast assortment of books. Then we wondered, “What about the communities where access to books and libraries is limited?”

Kids designed cozy reading spots during BlockBuild.

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imgres-2.jpgWe gathered inspiration from the picture book, Waiting for Biblioburro, by Monica Brown. The book is based on Luis Soriano, the Colombian teacher/librarian who brings books to children in the countryside of Colombia. We discussed that we, as community members have a responsibility to rebuild systems that are broken or unbalanced. In the spirit of Biblioburro, our students partnered with Reading is Fundamental of Southern California (RIFSoCal). Our little ones purchased one new book with the money earned doing various chores. They washed cars, swept the floors, helped with laundry, and even scrubbed handprints off the wall. They also went through their personal at home libraries and chose 3-4 books to donate. Our class then beautifully decorated book bags and used them to store the books. We will be donating the book bags, and the books, to RIFSoCal in an effort to support their mission of literacy and learning in school communities. A big bravo and love hug to our little, yet mighty advocates!

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.
―Jorge Luis Borges

 

 

 

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The Little Doctor/El doctorcito Book Review for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018

LittleDoctor_edit-350x550.jpgI couldn’t wait to get the book, The Little Doctor/El doctorcito, to share with my K/1 class. This book is written by Juan J. Guerra, a doctor specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. The story recounts his experience as a young boy when he would help his grandmother navigate the healthcare system by translating at doctor visits. I was hopeful this book would connect to our yearlong social studies theme, Friendships & SchoolsWhen I read this story to my students, they immediately began to make great connections to past learnings. My students concluded that reading books, being literate, studying hard in college and medical school allowed for Salvador, the young boy in the book, to realize his dream of becoming a doctor.

However, during the repeated readings of the book, my little ones were put off by the gruff nature of the doctor who tends to Salvador’s grandmother. The kids made comments like, “He’s a mean doctor” or “I wouldn’t want my doctor to talk to me like that!” I followed up their comments with questions such as:

  • Why do you suppose the doctor is being insensitive?
  • Could he be the only doctor at this clinic?
  • Is the doctor stressed and overworked himself?

The students agreed that these could be plausible explanations. Still, it didn’t excuse being rude or insensitive to a patient. The students said they would expect their doctor to make them feel welcome and ask, “How are you feeling? How is your family? or How can I help you?” 

In the story, The Little Doctor/El doctorcito, Salvador’s family is from El Salvador. I shared that my mom is also from El Salvador. We learned some facts about the small Spanish speaking country in Central America and watched a short video about the day in the life of a little girl in El Salvador. We discussed the similarities and differences between our school and homes, and the one depicted in the video. The kids loved locating El Salvador on the globe. Then we added the book image to our ‘book map’ and they said, “Look at all the countries we’ve traveled to by reading books!”

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Moreover, our school is currently in the process of obtaining a Global Citizen Accredidation through the Council of International Schools. Our school community has been working hard to incorporate the various Global Citizen principles in units of study throughout the curriculum (ethics, diversity, global issues, communication, service, leadership and sustainable lifestyle). The topic of socio-economics came up during our book discussion. It was expressed that some families or communities with less resources might have to experience having such negative or insensitive situations in healthcare. Our first graders who studied Maslow last year said having quality healthcare was a basic need. Our little ones also made the connection that being literate and having access to quality schools benefits communities in general. When posed the question, “Why is literacy important?” many wonderful answers emerged.

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Lastly we asked our little ones, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Using old shoeboxes, they creatively expressed their future goals. Thank you Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018 and Juan J. Guerra for sending us this book. It was a great addition to our social studies unit.

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Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.  

MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.

2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors

HONORARY: Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild

PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs

GOLD:Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Loving Lion Books, Second Story Press, Star Bright Books, Worldwide Buddies

SILVER:Capstone Publishing, Author Charlotte Riggle, Child’s Play USA, KidLit TV, Pack-n-Go Girls, Plum Street Press

BRONZE: Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal BoweGokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press

 

2018 Author Sponsors

Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina

Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan Bernardo,  Author Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne Broyles,  Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and MysticPrincesses.com, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn Real Dads Read, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports Queen,  Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and  MFL Publishing  Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham  Author Natasha Yim

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Visit the MCBD site: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Stone Soup: K/1 Kids Come Together to Foster Community

This week our caring and curious “Pod” students (K/1) came together to create a delicious and hearty soup. Inspired by the classic story, Stone Soup, our little ones, across five different classrooms, brought vegetables to share for our community soup. Stone Soup is a folktale about three monks who come across a village where everyone has lost the meaning of giving. This retold story and illustrations are by Jon J. Muth. The story tells how a simple thing as stone soup can change the way you view the world.

In preparation for this community gathering, students read the story and discussed the importance of this classic tale. Some classrooms even went on a field trip to Underwood Family Farm and got to pick the vegetables they were going to include in our Stone Soup! We also discussed how gratitude and sharing has a positive domino effect not only in our hearts and minds, but in our community in general.

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The morning of, teachers got huge pots, crock pots and prepped ingredients for the soup. The cubed vegetables were mixed together with vegetable broth and simmered throughout the day. Students also decorated a placemat that was later given to another student in another pod classroom as a gift. At last, our little ones gathered together on the benches with their cup of Stone Soup and new placemat. The direction was they had to sit with a student from another pod who they didn’t know, and that they needed to ask questions to get to know each other.

It was a very special gathering for our pod community. When we came back to our classroom students shared:

I didn’t want to taste the soup but I did and it wasn’t bad.

I made a new friend. We both like the Dodgers.

My placemat is so cool! I can’t wait to take it home.

Our school is like a family.

 

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.    -Melody Beattie 

K/1 Students Make Connections Between Books, Libraries & Literacy

As part of our year long Social Studies theme, Friendships & Schools, we have been reading (fiction) picture books where libraries are a central part of the story. Before reading the books we posed the question, How are books our friends? We also introduced the concept of literacy: a person who can read, write and understand. As we talked more about literacy, our K/1 students made the connection that in order to be a literate person, you need to go to school. Moreover, books were important to have not only at school, but at home in order to practice reading. I also shared that through books we gain multiple perspectives which is part of understanding someone else’s viewpoint or culture who is different than ourselves. A little one keenly added, “Like finding common ground.”

A parent shared this heartwarming story about Ronald Clark, who as a boy lived in a New York Public Library. As we learned, many years ago library custodians often lived in the same building. Our class listened to NPR’s StoryCorps, How Living In A Library Gave One Man ‘The Thirst Of Learning’. I noticed that my little ones were listening intently. When I saw that hands were going up I would pause and answer their questions. While the segment is only 2:52 minutes long, with all the wonderings – this exercise in listening was closer to 7 minutes. After, I finally charted their answers to the question, How are books our friends?  

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I love that a little one used the expression “temples of knowledge” as was stated by Ronald Clark in describing his father as the keeper of the temple of knowledge. They also understood that Ronald Clark was the first to not only graduate from high school, but college and then beyond. A student said, “It’s because he lived in the library and he read so much that his brain got big and he kept learning every day.”

Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest. -Lady Bird Johnson

 

 

 

 

Student Made Alphabet Cards – via School Systems

Literacy is…the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential. -Kofi Annan

We are beginning our year long social studies unit of study, Friendships & Schools. Our K/1 students will explore the various school systems in our own community, as well as schools around the world. Students will investigate the impact of literacy on their self-development, how it impacts socio-economic levels, and overall well-being in their communities. Moreover, I hope that my little ones will come to deeply understand the power of literacy and books, and how being an informed citizen gives them the tools to make their community a better place.

 

Essential Questions:

1. How do systems at school help us become good friends and community members?

2. Why is literacy important?

3. What are the benefits of literacy?

4. How can literacy benefit one’s personal development?

5. How do literacy rates affect socio-economic levels in a community?

6. How does literacy impact the well-being of a community?

7. How do libraries support literacy?

 

To begin with, we brainstormed some of the systems at school and used them to create student made Alphabet Cards. They are posted on the wall as a literacy resource, as well as conversation starters as we delve into our unit of study, Friendships & Schools. I love the drawings, coloring and painting used to express their ideas. I’m truly excited about this project and I look forward to sharing our learnings as the year goes on.

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My Escuelita’s Grand Re-Opening

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Yesterday, September 9, 2017 Irma Vázquez (founder and director) celebrated the grand re-opening of My Escuelita: Spanish for Kids, LLC. Live Spanish kids music by Nathalia and storytelling entertained the groves of families that came to celebrate. My Escuelita’s space has more than tripled in size to accommodate the growing classes of children attending this bilingual school.

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Credentialed teachers provide quality Spanish instruction, using best practices in second language acquisition and world language instruction. Spanish is taught through a myriad of approaches including music, dance, storytelling, crafts, movement and traditional methods.

We also got a treat by listening to Dr. Ma. Alma González Pérez read her bilingual children’s book, ¡Todos a Comer! – A Mexican Food Alphabet BookThis is a fun ABC book that I look forward to sharing in my K/1 classroom.

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If you are in the South Bay area, be sure to check out My Escuelita. They also provide various types of enrichment classes.

If you don’t live in the South Bay area and are eager for your children to experience the joys of language learning, Irma has personally curated My Mochila: Spanish on the Go!, a multi-cultural Spanish lesson subscription box for kids.

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For more information please visit:

My Escuelita: Spanish for Kids, LLC

1603 Aviation Blvd Suite #7,

Redondo Beach, Ca. 90278

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/myescuelitaspanishforkids/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/myescuelita/?hl=en

Twitter: https://twitter.com/myescuelita

I Support DACA : Proud to be an immigrant & grateful for the opportunities that I have been given.

In April of 2017, I attended the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) conference. The conference was a buzz of energy, dialogue, collaboration and dreaming. I was interviewed and asked about my most recent bilingual book,  A Charmed Life / Una vida con suerte, illustrated by Lisa Fields and published by Arte Público Press. This book is inspired by my hard-working immigrant mother who cleaned houses with the hope and promise that through my education, my sister and I would have a better life, A Charmed Life.

I am a the proud daughter of immigrant parents. I am a product of an immigrant community where day in and day out we see our community members work tirelessly cleaning houses, gardening, painting, taking odd jobs, sewing, babysitting. And because of the opportunities given to my peers, we are doctors, lawyers, architects, social workers, educators and much more. We do our jobs well and we do it with pride. This is the true story of immigrants. We are not criminals. We are hard-working individuals who make great contributions to this country. We are a community where family and faith inspire our sometimes difficult journey. Our parents left their countries with big dreams for the future, and the hope that America would be the place where their children would have the opportunity to prosper.

As I said in the interview, “My hope is that multilingual children, and all children, recognize their value and realize that they matter. And that they are all born with gifts and our purpose here is to share those gifts.”

I am proud to be an immigrant and grateful for the opportunities given. I have been afforded an education, I get to write and share my story and as educator, I am privileged to inspire our little ones. But I urge you to please not forget that we must come together as a community to continue the good fight, so that all immigrant children get the opportunity to live out their dreams.

 

For more information please visit:

https://unitedwedream.org/about/projects/deferred-action/

http://defenddaca.com/

https://www.nilc.org/