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Showing posts from 2022

I Read the Entire Bible in One Year and this is what I Learned

Four days remain in 2022 and I have one book left. Then I will have successfully achieved my New Year’s Resolution to read the entire Bible in one year.   While there are many one-year bibles on the market, I chose to read my grandmother’s Women’s Devotional Bible circa 1990. Though it has been well-loved, it’s in exceptional shape for being nearly as old as I am. I know my grandmother read it often, but I don’t think she ever read it cover-to-cover.  Nearly every day this year I sat down and read a few chapters, if not a whole book. Most days it was a joy, some days it felt like a chore. Some days I was too busy or exhausted to read, so I caught up on quieter nights. Most of my reading happened after Maya & Mateo went to bed, since it’s hard to concentrate on such dense reading with two toddlers constantly vying for my attention. Many nights they fell asleep to me reading it aloud to them, and many times I had to try and translate the Word on the fly, as Mateo requested, “Español,

Saying Goodbye to our Foster Daughter

I recently found a tiny pair of jeans and a pink chambray shirt in a random bag of clothes in the basement. They were size 6x and XS, and I recognized them immediately as the clothes Sofia wore when she arrived at our home in February 2018. It was the day after Valentine's Day, and it was an emergency familial foster placement. We thought she would only be there for the weekend, but she ended up being a member of our immediate family for four and a half years. She joined our household when Maya was nine months old, and now Maya is size 6x. So it is fitting and bittersweet that Sofia finally got to go back to her mom this summer.  We welcomed a scrawny, gap-toothed first grader in February 2018, and said goodbye to a beautiful, gangly preteen in July 2022.  Being a foster family is not easy, and being a child in the foster system is even harder. We lived in limbo for four and a half years, waiting with bated breath for each case review and court date. Not being able to receive defin

My Equity and Inclusion Statement

We never talked about race at the dinner table when I was growing up. I lived in an affluent town in Southern California that was 85% white and 15% Hispanic, and as a little blond-haired blue-eyed girl, I was blissfully unaware that racism was still prevalent in the US.  Until I went to college in Boston. My roommates freshman year--two black young women from New York City--became my best friends, and the first black people I had ever known. As I got to know them deeper and my friendship circles began to expand, my eyes were opened to blatant racism and microaggressions my black and brown friends experienced. I had my first conversations about race when I was 18-years-old, a stark contrast I learned from my new friends’ experiences, in which they were taught early on in childhood to “speak correct English,” always keep their hands visible when shopping, and to be wary of law enforcement. It was heartbreaking to hear their unfair life experiences and it was then that I began my journey

Why we shouldn’t use the term illegal alien anymore

In my previous post about Massachusetts ballot question 4 ( Should illegal aliens be able to get driver's licenses? ) , I used the term "illegal alien" in the title on purpose, but it broke my heart to do so. In the debates leading up to the election, I heard, saw, and read a lot of arguments regarding the question refer to people as "illegal alien," and I wanted to make my blog title as provocative as possible. Now, I want to clarify a few things.  Let’s start by getting our terminology correct. Aliens are extra-terrestrials from another planet, not people from another country. And “illegal” is not an adjective used to describe a person.  This inaccurately labels the person instead of the actions the person has taken.   The act of breaking the law is illegal, not the person out of compliance. People break the law all the time in this country. Does that mean a teenager who shoplifts from the mall is illegal? No, we still refer to them as a teenager. Does that

Should illegal aliens be able to get driver's licenses?

Ah, Massachusetts, you had a chance to prove that civil rights are human rights… and you did it! Yesterday, Massachusetts voters chose to uphold a new law that would allow driver's licenses for those not living legally in the US. I want to share why this is so important not only at a systematic level, but at a personal level.  This bill eliminates the restriction that says a driver’s license cannot be issued unless a person has lawful presence in the United States. Proponents have been trying to make this bill a law for 20 years, and now it's set to take effect July 2023. But why is this such an important issue? Allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses puts more licensed and insured drivers on our roads. It does not mean more undocumented people will be flooding our state. It means vehicular safety for those of us who are already here. Would you rather be involved in a car accident with a driver who has a driver's license and car insurance, or one

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