Writing for Puerto Rico

Uncategorized

Writing is by this blog author and may be considered an argumentative essay for literary purposes.

I have ties to this beautiful land, this commonwealth of the United States of America.

I have been there about 12 times in the last 16 years.

I have seen over the many years of travel just how proud and dignified a people the Puerto Ricans are.  They have every right to be.  Most of them have indigenous roots in the Taino Indian and in their Spanish and Italian forefathers and mothers who traveled by ship long ago to this “rich port” to do the very same thing our American ancestors travelled across the oceans to be able to do:  establish for themselves a new home, land and livelihood they could call their own; a land where they could worship their God without fail.

The people who have lived here for generations on end have carried on traditions of cultivating the soil to grow copious amounts of precious fruits and vegetables and plant trees that produce bountiful food such as arugula, avocados,  bananas, basil, breadfruit, cabbage, cantaloupes, carambola, carrots, celery, cilantro, coconut, corn, eggplant, ginger, grapefruit, green beans in the pod, green pepper, guava, honeydew melon, lettuce, lima beans, limes, longan, lychee, mangoes, mangosteen, onions, oranges, papaya, peppers, pineapple, plantains, potatoes, pumpkin, quenepas, star fruit, sugar cane, tangerines, tomatoes, and watermelon.

My extended family had a lemon tree, a banana tree, and different kinds of plum trees right in their backyard, as well as guavas, papayas and coconuts.  They could have actually lived off the land if they would have wanted to.  And many of the people in Puerto Rico do indeed live off the land…did, did live off the land. The land that has been ravaged not once, but twice, in so many weeks.  The second time was the knockout punch.

So, tell me again, how are these people, and there are so many of them, how are these people supposed to help themselves now?

Before any of the disasters, the people of Puerto Rico were a thriving island with numerous industries and small locally owned businesses from one end to the other.

We had actually driven from one end of the island to the other, and from sea level up to the highest mountain peak driveable.  We saw the  small thriving businesses, the homes, the farms, the industries, the scores of hotels, the throngs of timeshares, neighborhood stores and grocers, churches and parishes, rainforests, local ocean parks and the many roadside broilers of meats, homemade foods and wares…who are not there any more because they lost everything in the storms.

And we expect them to rebuild and fix up and live and thrive, on what?

On 16% power.

For those in power, for those who have power, let them take notice, take swift action and help Puerto Rico while it is not feasible for Puerto Rico to help itself.  And with this support, the indigenous peoples of Puerto Rico can once again someday live off the land they have known, cultivated, and loved for so many generations.

 

 

Embracing the Struggle

Uncategorized

I am only on Chapter 2 in my newest book Embarrassment, by Tom Newkirk, mainly because there has been lots of multitasking going on here and there (and everywhere) this week at my house; when I do find the opportunity, I find myself rereading to gather meaning and glean even newer and more information as a reader (which I love to do–oftentimes I read through the first time quickly and miss something).

Oh, how I love this book!  Last year, for me as an Instructional Coach, it was all about “embracing the struggle” of all the new learning that was out there just waiting to be digested–for all there was to learn, as a new teacher, and we had quite a few–but…it still is all about that same thing, my friends.  More Newbies. Extended family illness with caretaking responsibilities was the greatest factor in our loss of three last year, and we are embracing the struggle with our Newbies this year so they won’t be Newbies next year:)

But I digress.  I need to say why this entry is so aptly named.

The book Embarrassment is really all about finding a way to somehow finally embrace the struggle we all have/have had in our lives–the pivotal moments we feel sick in the pit of our stomachs or get that rare migraine, or just feel ourselves getting hot under the collar and very uncomfortable even thinking about them–to have that struggle take its’ rightful place alongside all other respectable feelings in our memories…

 

Please Walk Literacy Down the “Other” Curriculum Roads, for Pete’s Sake

Uncategorized

240_F_170653528_gVKPfhQCdHUMtLt7Ei0JaBidiAr1HpLo

Why can’t teachers teach for strategy use in Science, Social Studies, Math, and other subjects (in which students have to actively read in order to complete class assignments) for active problem solving at the point of difficulty in the reading portion??

There is no reason why they can’t.

The following is taken from the  State Department of Education of South Carolina’s website ( ed.sc.gov): 

Example:  Student  at 6th grade level reads Math word problem:

The new floor in the new school cafeteria is going to be constructed of square tiles that are either gray or white and in the pattern that appears below:

(showing the visual pattern)

Part A:  What is the ratio of gray tiles to white tiles?

Part B:  What is the ratio of white tiles to the total number of tiles in the pattern?

Part C:  If the total cost of the white tiles is $12, what is the unit cost per white tile?

 

What happens if there is a breakdown in the way a student problem solves at the point of difficulty?  If the student has very few ways to make meaning and make sense of what he/she has just read, well, we all know what happens next, all too often…

But what if the student has some strategies under his/her belt, so to speak, that can be utilized at the point of difficulty?  What if it looks like…

Looking at ratio… and I know /tion/ from words I’ve learned in 6th grade, like nation, ration, migration,etc.  So I can say ra (ray) or ra (as in ran) and add tio (sha).  Chances are the student will get to /ratio/.

Looking at constructed…and I know I can break apart words into chunks like this–con/struct/ed/ and then put the parts back together and read them, blending…

Well, hey, that student has met with success in Math {using Reading Strategies}

 

 

Using Reading Strategies in Science WorkStations

acquisition of new reading vocabulary, teaching reading strategies

 

Please click on the link below to access the photos of strategic reading behaviors used in Science WorkStation Fridays (and do please click on the arrow “rotate” button in upper right corner to set photo):

-Science Work Stations Using strategic reading behaviors

Ocean/Moon Photos Over Two Hours Time…

Uncategorized

What kind of graphic organizer would be most effective for use on an anchor chart to use these photos with  during an ELA Block or Writing (which are later-in-the-evening versions of the logo photo for CallingAllCoaches (and teachers too)?   Please Comment and tell why you chose your graphic organizer!IMG_1233

IMG_1232

Teresa’s Reading Autobiography (with help from reading research-based evidence)

Uncategorized

Becoming a reader is a gradual process that begins with our first interactions with print. As children, there is no fixed point at which we suddenly become readers. Instead, all of us bring our understanding of spoken language, our knowledge of the world, and our experiences in it to make sense of what we read. We grow in our ability to comprehend and interpret a wide range of reading materials by making appropriate choices from among the extensive repertoire of skills and strategies that develop over time. These strategies include predicting, comprehension monitoring, phonemic awareness, critical thinking, decoding, using context, and making connections to what we already know.”—NCTE Position Statement on Reading

 

I do remember when I first wanted to read for myself. It was one day when I had witnessed all the fanfare my mom provided as she was beginning to reread again my favorite children’s story. It was, after all, my very favorite book when I was four. The memories I have are both episodic and semantic, but it’s the episodic ones that are really special, as they enable me to retell those experiences with my own blending of experiences and emotional attachments.

This experience of learning the love of reading as I was learning to read is one that is harder for me to put into words than I would expect of myself. The definitions included in “The Five Foundations of Reading” (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension) bring back memories of things mom did to draw my attention and were grounded in these foundations. Teachers of early grades who teach reading use these foundations; it is so engrained in their teaching!

After some time, I felt confident enough, and comfortable enough, to stop my mother from reading any more of it aloud herself. “Mom, let me read now! I can read it!”

How was it that I learned to read, by the way? For those folks lucky enough to have had a “significant other” read aloud to them every single day while seated in their lap and having pointed to the words as they were being read, they know. This is but one evidenced-based practice, made popular by Dick Allington, that illustrate that“ successful efforts to improve reading achievement emphasize identification and implementation of evidence-based practices that promote high rates of achievement when used in classrooms by teachers with diverse instructional styles with children who have diverse instructional needs and interests”, communicated as a position statement by the IRA in the article “What is Evidence-Based Reading Instruction?”

What I liked to read largely depended upon what I was interested in at the time. I remember taking an interest in turtles mainly because I got one for my fifth birthday. So, for a short while, everything I read had to be about turtles. I had to learn all about them. It’s the same with kiddos today. And one of the main questions educators need to ask themselves when teaching reading is, “Does the program or instructional approach provide a collection of high-quality literary materials that are diverse in level of difficulty, genre, topic, and cultural representation to meet the individual needs and interests of the children with whom it will be used?” according to the article, “What is Evidenced-Based Reading Instruction?

IMG_1105

My mom back in the day when she was in college.  She has been deceased for quite a long time now, although at times it feels like yesterday.  She died too young, but not before she taught her children some awesome “life-long learner” skills:)

 

 

Posting: Writer’s Response to Prompt: “Deny”

Uncategorized

This is a category for me.  A category because it’s huge.  It’s huge because major shifts in my life were brought about when I decided to no longer “deny” the horrors, the terrors, the ugliness, the wretchedness, the malice, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

But also–because once I decided to no longer deny them–they lost their power...

How about that?

And how about that for a life lesson?  But it took me years to make that shift.  I didn’t have in place a support system (any significant other(s) to help sustain my efforts) at the time.  Both my parents were deceased, no siblings close by; friends were complicated.

Life lesson learned:  “deny” is huge as long as one continues to deny.  And it grows, daily.  But once one makes the choice to no longer deny (whatever it is in life that is a problem), rather face it head on, deal with it however that looks (for you), and make the needed and wanted changes, “deny” just simply loses whatever hold it had.

We, the people, are the power-givers to all sorts of untoward callings.

We, the people, are also the restorers of power to ourselves, by checking on our inner selves on a regular basis.  Checking–and taking action when needed.  No one can know you as well as you do.  Check on yourself.