Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Do you know who Dolores del Rio was?

Found on Pinterest

At the beginning of the summer, around father's Day, I was talking with my mother-in-law. We were talking about how long we have known each other. I had mentioned to my father-in-law that I have had him in my life longer that I had my own father who passed away almost 30 years ago! Perhaps my mother-in-law was feeling a bit left out, but I soon heard a story about how she had received her name--a story that I had never heard before!

My mother-in-law was born in 1930. Dolores Del Rio was a famous Mexican actress in the 1920s and 1930s. I had never heard of her. Dolores del Rio was my mother-in-law's mother's favorite actress in 1920s. So when she had my mother-in-law (the baby in the family), she named her baby girl Dolores!

I find it amazing that after knowing each other so long, there are still stories that I can learn! Perhaps my next step is to find an old movie of Dolores del Rio to watch one weekend. Maybe even with my mother-in-law.

Who is your favorite actress or actor from the 1920s or 1930s?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dear New Teacher

On Sunday, Michelle posted a letter and a request for advice for a new teacher. I loved Michelle's post (you can read it here)!! Her caring, compassion and encouragement was so clearly put into words in her post. As I am mentoring a couple of new teachers this year, I think Michelle's request came just in time. I too, needed to ponder how I would encourage my mentees. Here is my letter:

Dear New Teacher,

Thank you for choosing to become a teacher! You have new world waiting for you this year. It is your own global classroom!

Your classroom will soon be filled with teenagers from many different countries. They will speak English with different proficiency levels. Don't worry, your other students will be there to help you. Just join the adventure and learn along with your students.

Your students are the focus this year and every year. It is not about the perfect classroom or the right shade of paper on your bulletin board. Yes, classroom organization is important, but students are what teaching is all about. Get to know your students. Talk to them. Have fun. Read with them. Write with them. Discuss books with them. Debate. Be real. Be kind and compassionate. Be firm. Boundaries are good. Respect is a must. Kleenex will help to dry many tears and antibacterial wipes are a necessity! Don't forget to ask for help. You have a team that will support you. You are not alone.

Gather your supplies, coffee (maybe some more coffee), open your door, and smile! Your students are coming. They can't wait to meet you!

Wishing you a wonderful year of learning together!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What is happening here?

Books, that what makes this morning exciting! I have books for my fellow teacher. I get the bag out of my trunk. Close the trunk, and immediately I get a feeling that I should have never closed my trunk! Why? Because my car keys are still in the trunk!
Image result for car keys

What to do?
First, deliver books (the exciting part), and then call AAA. Thankfully it only took them 10 minutes to arrive. Fastest service ever!

My day progressed. Meetings attended and work accomplished. Charts were created. Data was entered. Scores were analyzed. I was looking forward to going out for ice cream with friends. My bag is packed. Where is my cell phone?

Green Glow iPhone5
Image by mobiletechguru
Begin search! Not in my bag. Not on my desk. Not in any of the other rooms in my wing. People are leaving. I need to hurry before I lock myself out of my possible search zones. Master key in hand, Amina calling my phone, tennis shoes on, and I am ready. Pace fast (you know the pace that Fitbit loves). I race through the school peaking in every possible place that I have entered earlier today. Nothing. Last classroom on the right is fast approaching.

A memory surfaces. Didn't I use the computer in that classroom earlier today? Peak in. YES!!! There it is! Ringing quite peacefully on the corner of the desk! 
Perhaps if my phone had glowed as in the photo, I would have spotted it earlier in the day.....

Keys returned. I am ready to leave. Oh, you want to talk about tomorrow's PD? Sure. I have time. We determine the way to use the data, which charts need to be made and uploaded to drive by tomorrow morning. Details are being discussed. And suddenly my eyes drift to the lower right corner of my computer. Yikes! I should already be at the ice cream place!!!! Faith is waiting for me to unload her wheelchair!  I take my packed bag and rush out (with my keys and phone intact)!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Training in August in Northern Michigan

This past May and June I went trough a Train the Trainers training for Language and Literacy for English Learners. Now in August it was my turn to join a couple of other trainers and deliver our first training. Our training was in a beautiful Traverse City in Northern Michigan. What could be better during summer vacation than a trip to northern Michigan?

We talked about how we learn to read or how we learn a new language. Then we tried to determine if a particular way of learning was either explicit and implicit. Great discussions followed! We as teachers had to stop and think if the way we learn would be the same for English Language Learners.

We shared many wonderful read alouds! This is one of my favorites from the four days. If you have not read it, I think you should get it!

Here is Karen, one of my wonderful go presenters! We traveled together, planned together and found great places to have dinner. We were joined by Nahla on our travels and dinners and Deb and Barbara as go presenters! I am so glad that my summer PD included these wonderful ladies. I did not just present, but I learned so much from each of them!

We did not just sit around either. We made letters and words. Most of the time with our writing utensils, but at times our whole bodies were engaged in our experiments in learning! 

I hope your summer PDs were as much fun as mine! All the best to those of you who have already started school! I have a few more days before I need to report to school! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Random thoughts on travel

I was a bit baffled when looking at this label. Really? This is what I would be getting when asking for a flapjack in the UK?

This lovely church, St, Georges in Leeds, is an old church with beautiful stain class windows. On Sunday evenings though, there is a very modern group of singers on the "stage." The song might be an old hymn or a contemporary worship song. The message is always about loving God and the city where we are. My last two Sundays at this church have truly been a blessing!

Can you see the rain drops? The gray sky? Yes, it is a bit depressing when it is accompanied with cold weather. This morning it is 52 degrees here. I have had handful of partly sunny days while here, but a few more are forcasted before I leave for home. Carrying an umbrella with me has truly become a necessity.

At home I don't really have any hills. Here I cannot avoid them. The other day (when it was not raining) walked to meet my daughter's friend. All the way there, well almost, it was downhill. On the way back, however, it was all uphill. Needless to say, I could soon walk up a bigger hill (or do they call that a mountain)!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New surroundings as I travel

Aren't castles wonderful!

I am not sure that I would like to live in one, but it is great to visit one even when you have to climb countless stairs. This is the Bunratty Castle in Ireland.
Flowers galore!

I love flowers! I am not much of a gardener, but I love taking photos of beautiful flowers either in their organic state or man made beauty as it is here. I think my garden fairy back home will really enjoy these pics.

Did I mention climbing??

I don't think I had more than a few minutes in Ireland that I was not walking or climbing! My Fitbit sure was happy!

Hope you are enjoying your summer!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Trainers Workshop

Have you been to a workshop where participants are there because they have to be there? I have been there, and I am sure you have too.

Last week I was completing my second two day Train the Trainers workshop. It was WONDERFUL!!! Our presenters (or trainers) were perfect! They were both experts on their field with enthusiasm to match. We, the participants, were all there because we wanted to be there. We were eager to learn and participate.

So what was this all about?
In my state our our leaders in the department of education have seen the importance of training local experts and then to commission them to provide training at their school districts and counties. This summer's training is: Teaching reading to Students Learning English: Training of Trainers. 

We had our first two day training in May and now last week was our second two day training. Then in July and August we will host regional workshops around our state to train local teachers who have English Learners in their classrooms. I am really excited!! I am convinced that if we can get enough mainstream classroom teachers trained to work with our English Learners, we can make a much bigger difference in our schools and districts.

But back to the participants!
I sat the two days at a table with five other teachers. We had great conversations, we acted out problems and scenarios, we created learning tools and practiced using others already created. We took pictures of ideas that we want to use both in training and in our schools and classrooms. We laughed! We were mesmerized by the dramatic performances of one of our presenters. And then, of course, we laughed some more!

I came home energized (even went to gym on both nights before coming home)! I am itching to start planning, creating, reading and writing. Just last night I watched a movie that one of the participants recommended (McFarland). Great movie by the way!

So this year I am not feeling so jealous of those who get to attend AllWrite as I had my own great workshop!