Sunday, December 8, 2013


I learned a nasty lesson about not saving blog posts. I talk to myself sometimes.. Let me just check a reference really quick here, won't be more than a minute..  and kabam! ..What just happened?!..

This means I should go to bed and do the quickest recap of lesson planning serendipity that I can muster. It's all about having key points to guide your plan and then having everything thoughtfully tie in. Easy, right? Especially if you remember to tie it to authentic stories and then immerse your students in that world. It's pretty neat how unrelated thoughts and ideas over the course of days fuse together to make meaningful, experiential lesson plans. Appeal to the senses and to the learning types and let the magic happen!  ..··~~~*~~.·.·.·**

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Dipping my toes in Spanish literature

For a while now I've been very protective of my books in Spanish. My rapidly growing collection has been due to an unquenchable desire to fill my house with Spanish literature, and hopefully, capture my children's interest in the language. We are a mono-lingual household, mostly. Spanish is the preferred language but my husband and I often banter back and forth in English. I wonder if this confuses our kids, that we use English often when we're playfully conversing or just teasing each other. We don't seem to have ignited any passion for Spanish but they certainly don't hate it. My two older boys are proud to be bilingual. My youngest doesn't care and isn't saying much either way.

In our collection there are books that are loose-translations and books with translations that take themselves far too seriously. I have very few originally Spanish books. Off the top of my head I can only think of two or three but they are technically bilingual books. Then there's a smattering of Plaza Sesamo and Maya and Miguel and uninspiring non-fiction. At least for now I can say that I don't mind if the book is not originally Spanish, as long as it is translated with the message and the emotion kept in tact. I sometimes panic because no one is talking about Spanish children's literature in the classical sense. At least no one on my blog roll! These would be books with real staying power and original language and even good grammar.

For now I'll be looking into "El principito" (The Little Prince) on a friend's suggestion and enjoying my personal favorite, "Sarah, alta y sencilla" (Sarah, Plain and Tall). But maybe what I really need is to become more cultured myself and soak in some better grammar. "Don Quijote" is waiting.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ruckus at the caucus

Am I the first person to cry at a caucus meeting? Picture a very prego lady who parked illegally 1/2 mile away from the door of the school building and arrived to her caucus meeting a little flushed but determined to do her duty as a citizen. Cuz that was me on March 15, 2012 and I may have looked ready to pop, but for me, being there to vote was so right. At least until they asked for delegate nominees and I got that tap-on-the-shoulder impression that it was my turn to stand up and yes, nominate myself. 

My speech was heartfelt, I talked of PTA advocacy and being on graffiti watch in my neighborhood but I felt very strongly that I should tell the small gathering just exactly where the Republican party was heading vote-wise with the Latino college-aged kids. I related to them an article in the Salt Lake Trib's weekly Spanish paper where they interviewed youth at the University of Utah and they kids expressed that the Republican party held nothing for them. They claimed that their needs were being ignored. And I concluded, in the spirit of transparency, by telling everyone that my husband would become a citizen in April. The looks in the faces at my neighborhood caucus meeting told me that they were not prepared for this kind of a talk, I had lost them.

Long story short, the group could only vote in 3 of the delegates and out of the 4 nominees I was the one not voted in. I stood up in my chair as my already flushed face turned blotchy and tried to make my way out the door. Two men seemed to want to intervene, to say that I made some good points but whaddya know, their condolences only opened the floodgates. 

My point is this, we can all guess that the big issue for Latinos is immigration. A survey referenced in a December article of that same weekly Spanish newspaper also named the economy and jobs as factors for the presidential vote among Latinos. But the Republican party has chosen a hard line on the immigration subject and, in so doing, has cast aside the opportunity of rallying this untapped market."Republicanos en aprietos para ganar el voto hispano.", AhoraUtah 

Do I necessarily think that the Republican party is the end all, be all of our democratic system? Uh no. But I feel like the party that aimed to appeal to married, religious voters had a huge gap in foresight in ignoring the Latino demographic."Religion, marriage and the GOP's demographic challenge brought to the fore by 2012 election", Deseret News

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Unleashing the blogger in me

Two years and yet another man-child later, I am reminiscing on the good 'ole days when I not only led bilingual storytime at the library every week (I called it Spanish playgroup) but miraculously lived to tell about it on my blog. Times may have changed (that's three kids now!) but I am again drawn back to the blogosphere. The thing is this time I come with a platform. I am still a momma to my boys, never fear, and my husband is my greatest ally and friend. I still count my lucky stars that I have my faith to help pick me up when I fall, and to give life it's savor. I would be nothing without it.

And here's the kicker: I'm not the only one!

To my Latino friends and all else who will carry the same banner. Let faith, family and holy matrimony be the standard we bear. So let it be written, so let it be done. I hope you'll join in the discussion and follow the issues with me. And by the way, I'm not gonna undo what I've already done with this blog. So feel free to browse archives if you have a hankering for homemade drum crafts and contextualized immersion. Or not :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Our Christmas posadas

It has been great to have ten days with my parents-in-law, my brothers-in-law, sister-in-law and lots and lots of Spanish speaking. Being the only family with grandchildren on my husband's side has its advantages. Many of the festivities took place at our house. One of the highlights was that we put on our very own pastorela (nativity play). My youngest son was a donkey, my eldest an angel and my brother and sister-in-law (who are newlyweds) got to be Mary and Joseph. We did no preparations in advance other than making crowns for the three kings, donkey ears and throwing together a manger. It was fun though to read directly from scripture and just kind of improvise the acting with what was read aloud. We did it only for ourselves, there was no audience, but it felt good remembering the purpose of the season in such a hands-on way. My sister-in-law especially liked it when my youngest exclaimed "Tia!" for the first time at the end of our closing song. What can I say, it was a hallelujah moment!

There were pre-party setbacks, emotional family meetings and even late-night stitches this holiday (think forehead to sharp-cornered shoe stand!) but our family has been brought closer together and we're stronger for it. Strengthening these ties is, I hope, the foundation my children will need to keep hold of their Latin culture and Spanish-language heritage.

And my side of the family was a part of the action too. My siblings watched El Grinch (The Grinch in Spanish) with the rest of us and sang us villancicos they learned in their dual-language academy. Ever since my parents and younger siblings have buckled down and started learning Spanish, it has thrown a curve into my 2 year old's language separation. With talk of regalos and navidad coming from his tios who 6 months prior spoke no Spanish at all, he started chiming out in Spanglish "Quiero open it" with gusto during present unwrapping time.

Needless to say, we had a blast this Christmas.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Library Playgroup: Hispanic Heritage Month, Columbus Day and decorating banderas (flags)

Music/Movement Time:
Sapito/Little Toad
Un sapito (A little toad)
Que feliz vivía (Lived happily)
Debajo de un puente donde un charco había (Under a bridge where there was a puddle)
Dura dura dura dura pas pas pas (nonsense words)
Yaqui yaqui yaqui yaqui pas pas pas

Cabeza, Cara, Hombros, Pies/Head, Face, Shoulders, Feet
Cabeza, cara, hombros, pies (Head, Face, Shoulders, Feet)
Hombros, pies (Shoulders, feet)
Hombros, pies (shoulders, feet)
Cabeza, cara, hombros, pies (Head, Face, Shoulders, Feet)
Y una vuelta entera (And a full spin/turn)

Song vocabulary:
El sapito - the toad
Feliz - happy
La cabeza - head
La cara - face
Los hombros - shoulders
Los pies - feet
Una vuelta entera - a full spin/turn

De la A a la Z con Cristóbal Colón

Display/Story vocabulary:
La máscara - mask
El barco - boat
El país - the country (nation)
Las plumas - feathers
El maíz - corn
Frijoles/Judios - beans
El mar - the sea
La bandera - the flag

This was a super cute book about Columbus reaching the new world and what he found there. We had a good time reading about the people and structures and even gods of the Americas at that time.

1. We decorated banderas. I had moms pick in advance the country their kids would like to represent and then we had full-color flags to glue feathers, beads, noodles, pipe cleaners and tissue paper to using the pre-Columbian setting from storytime as our inspiration!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Library Playgroup: Hispanic Heritage Month, drums and circle game

I had a really fun time finding ideas to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month!

Welcome song:
Cantemos todos juntos, Halo, Halo, Halo
Cantemos todos juntos, Halo, Halo, Halo

Cantemos a (name here), Halo, Halo, Halo
Cantemos a (name here), Halo, Halo, Halo

Cantemos a (name here), Halo, Halo, Halo
Cantemos a todos, Halo, Halo, Halo

Let's all sing together, Hello, Hello, Hello
Let's all sing to (name here), Hello, Hello, Hello
Let's sing to everyone, Hello, Hello, Hello

Getting to know you:
Jimbo the puppet introduced himself and asked kids, "Cómo te llamas?" and "Cuántos años tienes?" which means, "What's your name?" and "How old are you?"

1. We did a traditional circle game from Spain called "La Tía Mónica". You can watch some little girls dance to a slightly different version on youtube.

Lyrics in both English and Spanish are found here, as well as a sound file you can play on your computer.

We actually played the José-Luis Orozco version at the playgroup though, it's from his cd "Diez Deditos". In English it's "My Aunt Monica" and it's a cute song about how a child's aunt moves different body parts when she dances.

los ojos - eyes
las sejas - eyebrows
las pestañas - eyelashes
la nariz - nose
la cabeza - head
los hombros - shoulders
los codos - elbows
"así se da la vuelta" - this is how she turns

2. We made caribbean congo-style drums with plastic circles cut from a blue kiddie pool and some sturdy plastic cups. We used rubber bands to attach the plastic and then decorated them with stickers and paper. I got this idea from Handy Manny's Hispanic Heritage Month Party page.

After that we drummed along to a song called "Debajo del Botón" on the same José-Luis Orozco cd. It has these great repetitions like, "Debajo del botón, ton, ton que encontró Martín, tin ,tin" and so on that are perfect for keeping rhythm with. I said "un, dos, tres" a few times to add extra emphasis as I drummed.

Transition to playtime song:
Ahora vamos a jugar, a jugar, a jugar
Ahora vamos a jugar, a jugar, a jugar

Excerpt from "Y Ahora Vamos a Cantar" also on the cd "Diez Deditos"

Cleaning song:
Limpia, limpia
Guarda todo en su lugar
Limpia, limpia
Todos deben cooperar

Taken from Barney, it's the "Cleanup" song, spanish version

Me in a nutshell

Under One Techo | Under One Roof
I grew up an air-force brat, on bases and off bases, statewide and on foreign soil. Having lived in both Japan and Los Angeles (Little Mexico!), I have a love for both the Latin and Asian communities. But above all that lies a commitment to God, marriage, and family as the backbone of society. And with that, let the crazy, cultural mash-up begin..