Senior Seminar Topic

Those of you who have kept up with my blog know that 2010 came with new surprises as I streamlined the categories of my posts due to a very special lady whose passion for education served as a catalyst to begin to discover my own “Spiral of Literacy”.  Her name is Dr. Joan Wink.  Though we have not met face-to-face in person only through Elluminate (Video Conference Type) and cyberspace communication tools, her lectures have stirred up a storm in me.  I have always known that I want to teach language arts especially to ELLs.  Avid reading was a longing tucked within my heart without evidence.  I questioned myself many times why I could just not finish reading a book or devouring literature as many of my colleagues.  Then I met Joan, and her testimony regarding literacy development hit home.  I began to trace my own literacy development.  New questions merged up:  Is there a critical age for literacy development?  What academic/cultural/environmental factors influence a child’s literacy development?  What are the most effective remedial techniques for early age truncated lit development?  What role does bilingual education play in Literacy Development?…and so much more!

We will be writing our own textbook for my TESOL concentration’s Senior Seminar.  Our class is an elite group of individuals drilled in TESOL methodology, language instruction for English learners, and theoretical constructs in the field of second language acquisition.  All of us are either graduating LIBS/TESOL Seniors or Grad students in the TESOL M.A. program.  Each one of the 20 students will write a chapter with their own chosen topic.  We will work on it for the entire semester.  I did not  think twice on my topic.  It is one that will give me ample opportunity to research past investigations, present projects, and future dilemmas in conjuncture with my personal experiences and pedagogical philosophies.  My research topic is “Literacy Development” focusing on early literacy such as K-3.  Ta-Dah!

Thanks Joan!  You know you are at the top of my list for experts to interview 🙂


A Final Wink

I’d like to end today’s portion of my final for my EDMS 4100 class with a few quotes.

“There is, nevertheless, the most important reason to stay: Every year you have a chance to fall in love again – with your students and with teaching. To remember why you decided that the classroom was where you belonged. To remember how much that one special teacher influenced your life. To remember the magic in your classroom when your students could do it with out you. Every day for a teacher is one of infinite challenge. No day is the same as the one before. No class is the same as the one that just left. You are not always a model of perfection and rarely everyone’s favorite teacher; however, you have the time and opportunity to try to be one of the best.” By Linda Kovaric.

“Not Everything that Matters is Measurable and Not Everything that is Measurable Matters.”

Book title by Ian Bache

“Education is Radically about Love.” By Paulo Freire

“We will all have a fear of power at some point of our lives.” Joan Wink in Elluminate discussion of Buttercup

“The bent given by education will determine all that follows.” Socrates, The Republic, Book IV

“For he who would learn to command well must, as men say, first of all learn to obey.” Aristotle, Politics, Book VII

“To possess all the world of knowledge and lose one’s own self is as awful a fate in education as in religion.” John Dewey, The Child and the Curriculum

“What children can do with the assistance of others might be in some sense even more indicative of their mental development than what they can do alone.” L. S. Vygotsky, Mind in Society

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” cited byPastor Susan Young (quote from Harry Truman)

“Literacy is dangerous and has always been so regarded.  It naturally breaks down barriers of time, space, and culture.  It threatens one’s original identity by broadening it through vicarious experiencing and the incorporation of somebody else’s heart and ethos.” Joan Wink in ALER, Nov. 2009

This was my final wink at Dr. Wink’s assignments, but I assure you that it will not be the end of this project.  I will not shut my eyes to the unfamiliar.  I will learn, unlearn and relearn with eyes wide open.  You see, the Cyberspace Yellow Folder Project started with an assignment, developed as  reflective cycle, and will continue as a personal pursue to document learning in the area of education. Dr. Wink has turned my world upside down as she bombarded my life in these 5 weeks with so many resources and strategies.  She said to us, “Critical Pedagogy is not something we do.  We live Critical Pedagogy.”  This is true.  I see it in her eyes as they sparkle when talking about Vygotsky and her personal stories in education.  I hear it in the words of my colleagues as we shared on Blackboard the progress of our learning.  And I read it in her writing as it provokes me to reflect (the Reflective Cycle manner).  I am not swayed by what surrounds me or by all that I read.  All this makes me stronger as I develop my stance in this world as an educator, a learner, and an agent of change.  Thanks!

Are you learning with eyes wide opened?

One of Those People

We were asked to filled the following statement for the end of our EDMS 4100 course:

First, completing my Spiral of Literacy was my best moment in class because it unfolded one of my lifelong desires, to ignite my heart in finding the joy of reading. I helped make it my best moment by not giving up even when I felt I was just not meant to be “one of those people” who read for pleasure.  It was my exposure to others’ spirals of literacy that allowed me to understand that some are born into the beautiful world of word and others create their world at different ages.  I’ve started one for me and for my niece and nephews.

Second, the first few days after our first class meeting was my worst moment in class because I felt I had made a mistake by taking three courses in a winter session and because I felt a surge of information overload. I could have made it better by structuring my schedule to allow moments of rest.  I could have done several things, but that feeling made me reflect and evolve my old way of facing such feeling.  Before, I would have stressed till the end.  This time around, at the end of the course, I learned to own my learning at my own pace.

I am still not “one of those people” who is an avid reader.  I am one of the many people who discovered the power of education in their late years and have taken action to pursue it for the rest of their life.

What about you?

Skilled Skim Reader

As I was re-writing my Spiral of Literacy assignment, the title of this post popped into my head when I was confessing that I had a difficult time finishing an entire book.  I read enough to make it through and get an A in the class.  This happened all the way through college.  I loved school.  I loved learning.  I just did not value my own learning.  I missed out on all those other details I was not tested on. I missed out on the personal “aha” moments we tend to have when we embrace the unfamiliar and all of a sudden Vygotsky’s ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) becomes a reality in the midst of capturing words.  Vygotsky’s ZPD shares the reality of many children in schools who are asked to make connections in another language without the links.  Those of us who are not physic savvy may feel lost in the Quantum Theory and the numerical attributes associated with the physics electricity formula for Equivalent Resistance:

Req = R1R2R3

R1 + R2 + R3

How could we not understand?  It has all the symbols in our language.  I mean EVERYONE knows the symbols (the letter R, the + sign, the numbers, etc).  Still, to decode the combination of these familiar symbols, we need to have some fundamental knowledge.  Someone needs to help us understand what each symbol represents and how the combination applies in the world of physics.  R= the amount of resistance, and the numbers represent each added variant resistance.

Vygotsky’s ZPD states that optimal learning occurs when the students are offered new information that is approximately close to their zone of learning (new but close enough to stretch and reach out for it to connect).  Steve Krashen shares this concept with his comprehensible input and i+1 idea.  We learn using our past experiences and connecting with the unfamiliar to make interlocking chains of information that helps us connect to the next level.  It’s not a horizontal or vertical chain, but a central and extend out in all directions.  Learning is not up or down, left or right.  Learning is holistic whether we like it or not.  I understand I cannot skim through life because I will miss out on precious links that interconnect me with the unfamiliar.

How about you?  Have you gone through life skim reading what surrounds you and missing out in your personal “aha” moments?

Req = R1R2R3

R1 + R2 + R3

Real or Fake?

“Tia Cruz, where are you?”

“At school still” (8 pm)

“Oh…are you at you real class or fake class?”

“Huh, what do you mean Deborah…? I’m at the university…in class.”

“I know…but are you on the computer class or the real one.”

“I’m at the school you visit with me.”

“Oooooh (chuckle) I thought you at home on your computer…I want to go over.”

Truth being said, life is full of real classes.  Teachers, learners, community members and the environment are all agents of learning and share that very role.  There are no “fake” classes as all of our experiences can be viewed in a transformative way.  Those surreal situations can still teach us something if we reflect on them.  AFA’s creative dialogue demonstrates that learning in school settings can have a powerful impact at home.  Some lessons in life are easier than others.  Some teach us.  Some, we teach and learn how to teach.  Other lessons serve as platforms for future information we will need and they are stored in our head waiting to serve as a resource.

What have you learned lately?

The Beach, A Camera, & No Pictures

Over three years without a vacation.  How did that happen?  Hmm…I love what happened today though.  I saw my husband in need of a friend, and I needed more time to finish school work, office work, and ministry work.   We are going through the Love Dare at our church right now and last week’s dare called for a candlelight dinner and all, but we had to skip ours.  It bugged me that so many times I overwhelmed myself with secondary things and put my priority in my relationship on the side.  Not today.  I did not second guess my gut feeling and quickly made arrangements to put EVERYTHING and EVERYONE aside to spend the late afternoon with my husband.  I told him to get ready because I was taking him out of the storm into Monterrey Bay.  He asked about what I had to do (my class, etc); I said, “It’s you babe!” We drove out of town around 1 pm.  It was pouring but that’s okay because all he needed was me.  We drove quietly as we listened to a CD I recorded for him earlier that morning.  I held his right hand all the way pass Casa De Fruta and into Hollister.  I stared at him from the corner of my left eye, and thought, “No one but God knows this man.  I love that he has integrity.  Others murmur and he keeps quiet.  Others do him wrong and he still holds on.  Behind close doors he justifies while I analyze.  He feels betrayed and I feel happy that we are in it together. I Love Him So.”

We did not take a picture of each other to remember this day, but it doesn’t matter because our hearts made a memory that will not be erased.

I could have told him with words.  I could have written a card.   I could given him a gift.  I could have said how much he means to me and how his integrity inspires me.  But as Vygotsky said, “Action according to rules begins to be determined by ideas, not by objects.”  So it is the thought that counts, but in this case…my thoughts are only mine, kept inside of me.  Internalization of language will lead to action.  My love for him led me to demonstrate it in a tangible way and most importantly in a language HE understood.


Enseignez-vous translates to “teach each other”.   Global Learning Network (GLN) of De Orilla a Orilla shares how communities have taken the “pen pal” idea and incorporated into their schools as students, families, and community members become active agents in learning.  This educational networking model was developed by Celestin and Elise Freinet in 1924 (French educators).  The focus of De Orilla a Orilla, which means “from shore to shore” (meaning their projects are global), is to design a collaborate class-to-class partnership to do grade level critical inquiry and share their findings with each other.

Freinet believed that education is the main driving force in changing humanity.  He was a passionate supporter of the concept of  “free experimental schools” that implement the idea of being able to get out of the classroom to connect with the real world to gain knowledge, perspective, and experiences (Transformative Model). Freinet built a school for underpriviledged children.  He died in 1966, and his wife Elise, kept his dream alive.

One of my EDMS 4100 colleagues suggested a simple project for students to teach each other.  She suggested a cook book.  This can be done with classes ont he other side of the globe to enrich each culture.  The students would work with their family members and community to gather traditional recipes and how to obtain each ingredient.  Then they come to their classroom to combine their findings.  The participating students of the second classroom do the same.  There after, these findings are shared with each other via email or online website educational rooms such WIKI.  The final part of the project is coming up with an idea to publish both school’s findings and establishing a way for students, families, and communities to celebrate this collaborate work.

Enseignez-vous…What ideas can you share for a GLN project?

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