February 17th | Week in Review

2017-02-17-WWW-Image-01.png¡Hola a todos! I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Below are numerous resources that touch on identity, family, and testimony. I know I’ve shared a lot, but there were just so many to choose from this week! I hope these are of use to everyone. Have a wonderful weekend.

Rethinking Schools shared Tackling the Headlines: Teaching Humanity and History. One of the main takeaways: “The best antidote to Trump’s xenophobia, racism, misogyny, and fossil-fuel soaked future is critical thinking.”

– Our Lee & Low Books friends shared Valentine’s Day Children’s Books that Celebrate Familial Love. Even if it is no longer Valentine’s Day, it is important to stress the value of familial love. It’s a theme we’re talking about all month long.

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Sobre Febrero: Latinx Children’s Literature and Resources for Teaching Love of Self, Community, and World

Vamos a Leer | Sobre Febrero 2017

Hello, all!

In February we’ve turned to upcoming holidays and other celebrations as a means of shaping our emphases. Perhaps you’re thinking about these holidays and other celebrations right now and are pondering how to fit them into your classroom.  For Valentine’s Day, for instance, we were inspired to think about a more nuanced way to approach the holiday — one that moves us beyond candy hearts and red-tinted art projects. Our focus is going to be on love as a broader concept — love of self, of community, and of world. It’s a theme that seems more appropriate than ever given all of the negative sentiments and outright hatred circulating among at the moment.

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En la Clase: Love, Community, & Poetry

Vamos a Leer | En la Clase: Love of Community Through PoetryThis week’s En la Clase post continues to look at ways in which to think, teach, and talk about love in our classrooms.  As I was writing last week’s post on teaching about love through immigration, I was reminded of another classroom resource that could also be used to teach about love.  In the fall we reviewed Linda Christensen and Dyan Watson’s book Rhythm and Resistance: Teaching Poetry for Social Justice.  The whole book is wonderful, but given this month’s theme of love, I’d like to highlight one of the lessons that I think could be particularly compelling for creating or deepening the ties of community within our classrooms.  The lesson is available as a pdf here.  In “Remember Me: A farewell poem,” Christensen asks her students to write a Remember Me poem about a fellow classmate.  Christensen uses it at the end of the year, but I also think it could be used during the month of February to expand upon conversations around love of community.  As students are bombarded with the commercialized representations of love, it’s important to provide the space for them to think through these messages, challenge them, and create their own statements on the meaning of love.

In the lesson plan, Christensen writes, “Students need to learn how to build new traditions–ones that don’t involve corporations telling them how to think and feel about death, birth, illness, goodbyes, celebrations, or each other.  By creating practices in our classrooms that honor our time together, our work, and our community, we can teach students how to develop meaningful new traditions.” I couldn’t agree more.  Incorporating “Remember Me” poems into the classroom allows students to think deeply about the people in their classroom community, and hopefully foster a sense of love for that community. Continue reading

En la Clase: Teaching About Love Through Immigration

Love GenerationWith Valentine’s Day just a little over a week away, today’s post focuses on how to teach about love and social justice. It may not be the typical Valentine’s Day themed lesson, but I think it’s a powerful way to expand upon the ways in which we frame our conversations about love in the classroom. As we think about the ways in which we can guide our students to think about love in terms of love for the world and the societies in which we are a part, I can imagine no better way to talk about love than as a form of compassion, empathy, and activism through knowledge of the lived realities of those with whom we share this world.

Today’s post highlights a piece of the Rethinking Schools curriculum The Line Between Us: Teaching About the Border and Mexican Immigration. The connection to Valentine’s Day may not be immediately clear, but just bear with me for a bit. The Line Between Us is a book we highly recommend at Vamos a Leer. I used it as the basis for a semester long study when I taught 7th grade Social Studies and it was one of my most successful units (for both my students and myself as a teacher). If you’re not familiar with the book, here’s a quick overview: Continue reading

En la Clase: Teaching about Love

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Photo taken by Hyonin Min
Courtesy of Flickr CC

Since this week is Valentine’s Day (as I’m sure any teacher is more than aware of as they prepare for classrooms to be bombarded with glitter, hearts and chocolate) I thought I’d share some books that could help generate some classroom conversation around the topic of love, and not just romantic love, but love for friends, family, community, or self.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we teach about emotions, and specifically love.  Emotions are a seemingly basic part of our human experience, but how much time do we really spend discussing these things, helping our students understand their emotions, or deal with situations or experiences that bring about difficult emotional responses?  If we look at our common core, standardized test based curriculum, there doesn’t seem to be much space for topics like this, yet they seem like such essential parts of an education that prepares our students to be successful both in and outside of the classroom.  Literature is one way to begin to encourage these kinds of conversations with our students.  When I think back to my own k-12 education, rarely did any of the books we read touch on a topic such as love, or if they did, there was never any explicit conversation about the role of love in the story, its meaning or significance. Below I’ve shared various books that engage with the idea of love, while also touching on Latin@ themes in one way or another.  We’ve featured all of them here, so I’ve linked to each book’s Educator’s Guide to help you find ways to integrate it into your lesson plans.  I’ve also tried to provide general descriptions of the ways in which love is engaged in the book.  Continue reading