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Showing posts from 2022

I had an abortion and I didn't know it

I had an abortion. But for some reason I didn’t even realize it was an abortion until the recent media frenzy over the possible repeal of Roe v. Wade.  In 2015 I had an ectopic pregnancy that resulted in emergency surgery. It was eight weeks before the doctors diagnosed my pregnancy as ectopic, and because I was so far along, my only option was a  salpingectomy. Ectopic pregnancy is the leading cause of maternal mortality in the first trimester, and pregnancies in the fallopian tubes are never viable, so I really did not have a choice.  The day before my 28th birthday, I lost both the baby and one of my fallopian tubes.   Although it broke my heart to miscarry, I felt grateful for the modern medicine available to me, because had I lived 100 years before or in a developing country with access to only limited healthcare, my situation would have been fatal. That abortion saved my life.  And thence began my journey of infertility.  I had always been pro-choice, but following my ectopic  pr

When will we be safe in school again?

Sofia told me they talked in her 5th grade class this morning about what happened in Texas yesterday. “Do you feel safe at school?” I flat out asked her when I picked her up after school. “The teachers told us they have had active shooter training, so that makes me feel better,” she told me.  “I’m sure that school in Texas had active shooter training, too,” I said.  We don’t need training on what to do when an active shooter enters our schools. We need active shooter prevention. If you need any more convincing, keep scrolling.  Number of people killed in mass shootings in the US since Sandy Hook The number of people killed in mass shootings in the US since Sandy Hook, the tragic Dec. 14, 2012 shooting at a Connecticut elementary school in which 20 children and six adults were killed.  Number of people killed in mass shootings Thurston High School. Columbine High School.  Heritage High School

What is Socratic Seminar?

Socrates believed that wonder was the beginning of wisdom. He’s often known as the father of philosophy and his methodology entailed engaging his fellow citizens in philosophical conversation and asking probing questions of his students until his students experienced self-actualization.  One of the convictions that he upheld was that human wisdom begins with the recognition of one’s own ignorance, as one of his famous quotations is, “The only wisdom is knowing you know nothing.” His process of teaching students by asking question after question is known as the Socratic Method.  In 2013, I attended “What Up Socrates?” at the MATSOL conference, presented by Torii Bottomley, BSFS, MAT, of Boston Public Schools . Inspired by data-documented success she has seen with her ELLs on MCAS, my colleagues and I created a partnership with her and she coached us in integrating Socratic Seminars into our ELD 4 / 5 classes at Fuller Middle School. And it has been an integral component of my ESL instru

Why You Should Travel with Little Kids

I took my first cross-country road trip when I was six-weeks-old. My parents loaded me up in an old Ford Wagoneer and drove me home from my dad's hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, to my hometown of Ojai, CA. After that, we traveled back and forth between the East Coast and the West Coast every summer of my life. A few times we flew, but most years we loaded up the car with the suitcases, the dogs, and the children and drove 3,000 miles across the country. This early exposure to travel instilled within me a joy of seeing the world, and since that first trip I have visited 34 states and 14 countries. And I hope to share that same joy with my own little ones. Traveling with children can be hard--it disrupts their nap schedules, may involve crossing timelines, and definitely pushes everyone beyond their comfort zones. But seeing different countries and different parts of our country as children gives them a greater appreciation for cultural and regional differences, and it widens their exper

My Statement of Biliteracy

  When I was a little girl, I was terrified to hit the piñata at my best friend’s birthday party. It wasn’t the actual piñata that I was scared of, but the jeers of her friends and family in Spanish. I didn’t know what they were saying, so the encouraging shouts of “arriba!” and “dale!” were disarming. Oftentimes my parents and I were the only English speakers there. Growing up in Southern California, I was surrounded by Spanish but I didn’t officially start my journey as an emerging bilingual until I was in high school. My dad’s best friend was Mexican, so it was only natural that his daughter became my best friend, too. Even though she was born in Mexico, she lived her entire life in the US, only traveling to Mexico for family vacations. Since she spoke English fluently, it was the language of our friendship.  In high school I took my first Spanish classes and I was motivated by mission trips and service trips to Mexico to learn the language. A conscientious and diligent student, I

Bible Bath Time

We had a Bible bath tonight.   Since it is my New Years resolution to read the Bible cover to cover in 2022, I try and read some every night, even just a few chapters if that’s all I had time for. My coronacation helped me get a head start, and I’m making good progress toward my goal, as I began 1 Kings tonight.  After missing a few nights in a row, I didn’t want to miss tonight, so I decided to read my Bible as my children bathed. I’be thought about it but never done that before, because I’ve always been to worried that their splashing might damage my grandmother’s Bible.  But tonight I took a chance and I read it aloud to them, and it was the most tranquil bath time we’ve ever had. I knew they were listening, but I wasn’t sure if they were into it or not. After a chapter, I asked if they wanted me to keep reading aloud and Maya said, “Yes, Mami, I like it.”  So I sat there and read to them 1 Kings 1-5. If you know your Bible stories, you’ll know that includes the record of the fist w

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day

 For 364 days a year, we're Guatemalan. On March 17th, we celebrate our Irish heritage. As a bilingual and bicultural family, we focus on keeping the minority culture alive in our home on a daily basis--speaking Spanish, eating Guatemalan food, having a wardrobe of traje tipico, and traveling to and from Guatemala as frequently as we can.  But because we focus so much on instilling our children with their Hispanic roots, I want them to know the fabric of our family's history is actually woven with thread from all over the globe. The US is often referred to as a "melting pot," as the majority of families can trace their heritage through immigration, albeit some further back generations than others.  I'm Scotch-Irish-English--my dad's side of the family is originated in England and Scotland, and my mother's side of the family is from Ireland and England. We can trade my maternal great-grandfather's family back to the Mayflower, and my maternal great-gran

How the Early Childhood Alliance of Framingham has Impacted Our Lives

  I’d like to take a moment and share what an impact Jane Cohen DeHaven has had on our family, because I know we are not alone and that she has done so much not only for my family, but all the families whose lives she has touched in Framingham and beyond.  My daughter has been participating in Jane's Early Childhood Alliance of Framingham programming since she was nine-months-old and we joined the Baby Talk group at the Framingham Public Library. I was immediately drawn in by Jane’s no-nonsense approach to parenting groups, and the way she leads by example, showing new and seasoned parents how to interact with our children in ways that help their little minds expand and grow. She held us as caregivers responsible for participating in the group alongside our children, while also building us up--filling our toolbox with nursery rhymes with movements, early literacy strategies, and developmentally-appropriate activities--and making us feel we are doing a great job, no matter how overw

Children Need to See Themselves Reflected in Literature and Media

When we went to the library in February, there was a display of books celebrating Black History Month. One picture book in particular caught my eye, because it was about a famous astronaut, Mae C. Jemison. She is renowned as the first black woman to travel into space, and while her story as a trailblazer is inspirational, the reason why her book caught my eye is because of her name. Mae Among the Stars. Mae is not a common first name, and I had not ever read a book where the main character was named Mae. So I grabbed it and added it to our checkout pile, because I thought it would be fun to read a book with the kids about a main character with the same name as Mami. Later as we were perusing the Spanish books section, I saw a bilingual book titled La Manta de Maya/Maya’s Blanket and I thought, how perfect!  Then I decided we needed a book with the name Mateo in the title. That proved to be a bit more difficult, but after searching our library network, the librarian found one book tit

How to Read with Your Child

There is no better way to invest in your children than to read with them. Reading is free and needs very little equipment, but it equips your child for life. Reading together builds language fluency, language control, vocabulary, and even social-emotional health. Snuggled with your little one and a book is an opportunity to bond and give your complete attention to your emerging bilingual.  But reading together necessitates far more than just reading the words off the page. Instead, the most successful shared reading experiences are interactive. It's called dialogic reading , and it is a method developed by the Stony Brook Reading and Language Project. So often we read books and children listen. This is completely-adult driven. The way to deepen your reading experience involves an adult and child (or children) having a dialogue around the text they are reading. This can happen as soon as your little ones begin to produce language, and shouldn't stop when they're no longer &q