Sunday, November 27, 2016

An Amazing Organization

Cleaning up my piles of paperwork I came across the certificate above.  It will not help me get a job now days, but this piece of paper means a great deal to me.  I have kept it all these years as a reminder of an amazing opportunity that actually changed me.  I was 21 years old when I was invited to a training program for "Building Inclusive Communities."  The National Conference of Community and Justice NCCJ knew very little about me.  They knew I intended to become a dual language teacher, and that I was an international student from South America.  It was just enough information to know that I will potentially carry on the fire they were trying to ignite in all the young people who were part of the training.  NCCJ gave me knowledge, tools, and an unforgettable experience.  Through activities, exercise, and games I was able to get in someone else's shoes.  I became African American, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Mexican, Caucasian, etc.  We played with language, and realized how so much can be lost in translation.  We played with eye colors, and realized how we are more than the color of our skin.  We talked about faith, and realized how much we actually do have in common.   We learn from each other because we learned about each other.  We spiritually grew a great deal, and left feeling loved and welcome. 

Coming to this country has given me the opportunity to meet people from many places, races, and faiths. It has made it possible for me to have a bi-racial husband, and two multiracial children. 

I hope more organizations like NCCJ start helping us be more inclusive and respectful.
We surely need a lot more empathy (feel the pain of others), and compassion (putting into action our love for others) to make this country what it can be for all. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

We Need to Talk About it!

Donald Trump will be president.  We need to talk about it.
Today as we visited my kids' pediatrician, My son blurted out: "Did you vote for Trump or Hillary?"  She is a wonderful doctor and has taken care of my two kids for many years.  I was embarrassed by my son's question and quickly changed the subject.
I started to think about it more.  What if she had said she voted for Trump? How do I explain to my child that she is still caring and loving?

My answer immediately was WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT!

I need to talk about it with my kids.  I need to talk about it with other adults.  I need to talk about it with Trump voters.

I need to learn why others voted for him. I need for them to tell me that, as a Hispanic immigrant, I am welcome here. I need them to say that they do not believe all Muslims are bad people, and that women are more than a number in the beauty scale.

I will have those conversations.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Most Difficult Question

Tomorrow is going to be brutal.  My kids will wake up to ask me who won the election. It will pain me to say that it was not who we wanted to win.

I need the courage to explain that even though we don't like him, he represent us.

I hope that with my example my kids will learn that we don't judge nor hate those we don't know.

In our home hate is a strong word.  When we hate, we want to hurt.

But we do hate discrimination.
We do hate intolerance.
We do hate bullying.

We will fight discrimination, intolerance, and bullying.  We will hurt it with love, kindness, and respect for others. We will destroy it by becoming better people.

For those who share my broken heart, please don't give up.

I want to share a post that touch my heart:

Stephen Colbert says it with humor:  Because "you can not laugh and be afraid at the same time"

Insect 2 #2

 Mealworms are a huge hit over here.  Above, the kids were taking a closer look. No changes were noticeable last Friday. Big Sister said hers was getting longer.  Little Guy disagree.  There was only one thing to do... 
...they decided to measure them to track their growth.  Measuring a live mealworm is a tricky thing. One must hold it gently to stretch it out, while another person tries to use a ruler.  The kids decided that measuring should be done using centimeters.  The mealworms were approximately 2.5cm.

They are responsible for preparing and "serving" the mealworms food.  They cut, and added new carrots to provide the needed moisture. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Insect 2 #1

Last December we started an insect mini unit (Click here to see it). It was all about Little Guy's love for the tiny creatures. We learned about insect structures, features, and life cycles. 
These days my 5-8 year old Spanish classes have been learning about insects too. They get to describe them in the target language.   My own kids have join one of classes for the past three weeks.  Their love for insects have been rekindled.  Once, we were finished with our rock unit, we decided to go back to observing and learning about insects. 

We started looking at mealworms. 
We went to our local pet shop yesterday afternoon, and for $3.50 received 50 mealworms. 

We spent this morning observing them. 

We are using some of the lessons form the Insect FOSS science unit. Above the kids are collecting information.  What does the mealworm have? what color is it? How does it move? What do they do when you put two together?..etc.

Each one got two mealmorms to care for.  We talked about what they need to survive: food, water, air, and a space to live. The kids poked holes on the lid for ventilation, added a spoonful of food, a piece of carrot for moisture, and finally placed their mealworms in the vial. Big Sister even named hers Sam and Diamante! My entomologist-want-to-be-son decided to named his One and Two.  

Here the kids were writing their observations. They came up with: it only has feet in the front of the body, the end is pointy, its head is black and small, the antennas are on the sides of the head...etc.  They drew and colored them in their insect log.

Here are the other 46 mealworms!  I am not sure what I will do with all of them, but 50 is the smallest amount you can buy. 

This is what part of our science area looks like now.  We have moved the rocks to the side, and started to collect insects.  Besides the mealworms, we have 10+ ladybugs currently enjoying our ladybug habitat.  We also have a chrysalis from a caterpillar we found in the garage in September, and there are several carcasses of insects like bees, cicadas, flies, etc.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Home Learning: Rocks #12 part B

Want to see what happened to the clay beads when they dried up?

They were painted. 

If you noticed, Little Guy changed his design before getting it to dry. He wanted to make a planet with holes.  Big Sister wanted a pendant with a little bit of nature.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Home Learning: Rocks #12

Since we were comparing sand and clay before, we had to also create something made out of clay. see sand sculptures.
 First, the kids learned how to roll clay into a small ball.  

We placed a straw inside the ball. We used a pencil for decorating.  We left our balls out to dry for a few days. 

Meanwhile, and just for plain fun, the kids play with this play-doh gravel set.  I found it on a clearance isle for just a few $5.  It fits perfectly to see how gravel is made in a little hand scale. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Home Learning: Rocks #11

We continued to explore sand by comparing it to clay.

What happens to sand and clay when you add water? Clay absorbs and retains water better. Sand gets wet, it can be shape, and then dries up, and goes back to being rock particles.  We immediately though about sandcastles.   

We wanted to use sand to create something.  In this experiment we shaped sand sculptures.  Sand needed a bit of help.  We used a matrix made out of cornstarch and water.  

Here is what they made:
Little Guy: a dragon
Big Sister: a horse (off course!)

Home Learning: Rocks #10

For this experiment we wanted to explore sandpaper. We learned about its uses, and how it is made.

I gave each kid three sandpaper squares in different grades: fine, medium, and coarse. They felt them, and looked at them with the microscope. They pointed out the little rocks in them.  We also talked about the different sizes of rocks.

They placed paper over the sandpaper square, and using crayons rubbed it to record the sandpaper texture. They challenged each other to identify each sandpaper grade by feeling them with their eyes closed.

We turned the sandpaper sheets over, and looked at the grade number for each one.  We discovered that fine sandpaper has a higher number than coarse sandpaper.  We deduced that it meant the amount of rocks included in a specific piece of sandpaper.  If the rocks were larger in size, it had less of them. This made the sandpaper rougher resulting in coarse paper.  The smaller the size of the rock, the larger the amount of rocks making it very fine.

Then each kid got a piece of wood and compared what each grade of sandpaper could do.  We learned that coarse sandpaper gives more dust, and takes more wood.  Fine sandpaper is very gentle and can be useful when getting details in the wood.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Home Learning: Rocks #9

After learning about rocks, from boulders to particles of clay, we decided to take a closer look around our house and search for anything we could find made out of rocks.  
Here is what we found:
Gravel: shower floor.                                                       Granite sink

Sand: globes, timer, and sand letters

Clay: souvenir bus from our trip to Medellín 

Tiles in the bathroom

A trophy made out of rock!

Bricks in the chimney

Rock steps in the front of our house

stone bricks in our retaining wall

Clay table, chairs, and pot from our fairy garden

Cement in the foundations of the house

rocks in the driveway

rock mixture in our neighbor´s gargoyle.

The kids ran around looking for things made of rocks, clay, and sand.  They even made a list of their findings. We learned about how people use rocks  as natural resources to construct objects and make useful materials.