Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Alba's reading poster

My niece is setting a good example with her baby, Alba. Alba is three months old and already sitting down to a good read. Bravo, Silvia. As an adult, Alba will be able to look back to the moment captured in this photo as the launch pad of so many different possible careers: critic, writer, publisher, illustrator, professor, ... model.

As an educator of children in primary school, it is so obvious to me which children have been read to and taught to express themselves in language, and which haven't. The latter is too often the case with hispanic immigrant children whose parents don't read or talk with their children in a way that is developmentally beneficial, whether because of economic pressure, limited education and/or literacy, or the fear that teaching their babies all they can in their language will somehow handicap them in this new land where English reigns supreme. The opposite is the truth. The more highly developed language is in a child, the easier it will be to graft a new language onto that structure.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Review: The Wild Soccer Bunch

I got this book as an Early Reviewer for Library Thing. This is the review I wrote for Library Thing.

Diego the Tornado is the second in The Wild Soccer Bunch series being penned by Joachim Masannek. It follows a group of nine- and ten-year old boys, and one younger brother who played the hero in the previous book, Kevin the Star Striker. In the rough way of boys, they have bonded their personalities through the fun of play and the dream of soccer stardom into a single unit. They are coached by Larry, whose soccer talent, bad leg and income sources are never explained, at least in this story.

Things get shaken up when Fabio, the son of a great Brazilian soccer player moves enrolls in their school and quickly finds his place in their group. Unfortunately, his father insists he play for a better team, and pride and injured feelings abruptly put a wide gulf between The Wild Soccer Bunch and their almost best friend Fabio. The boys, from widely disparate backgrounds, must decide what kind of team they want to be and what it means to be the best soccer team in the world.

The Wild Soccer Bunch is translated from German, but the setting has been relocated to Chicago and several members of the U.S. National Team make cameo appearances so our young readers will not experience any culture shock. Diego the Tornado is about as totally a boy’s book as you can find. Besides the almost total absence of female characters, the soccer in it is played out left foot, right foot, tap, header, spin, volley and so on. My elementary boys should love it. It’s how they try to present their own exploits after every recess.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

They chanted—“¡Soy, soy, yo soy español!” (“I am, I am, I am Spanish!”) and “Champiñones, champiñones” which is a demonstration of their offbeat humor since it means “mushrooms, mushrooms” but follows the rhythm of “champions” in Spanish and sounds a lot like “champions” in English.

Yes, “We are the champions”, and the song did play Monday night during the 4 hour parade of the Spanish team through Madrid. So many people, over half a million, crowded the streets that the city officials requested that no one else go to the stage at the end.

I showed my spirit and predicted the winner by buying a team Jersey and a cap before the game.Fan Boy

World Cup Celebration 2On our way home from one sister-in-law´s house to another, we waded through the jubilant crowds. Here is one such crowd filling the Bravo Murillo street shortly after midnight Sunday. I don´t know if you can tell, but a lot of the celebrants are Latin American immigrants. The World Cup made a lot of proud Spaniards, many of whom are Spanish only by residency. 15% of the Spain´s students are immigrants, most of them from Latin American but many also from Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. There is some resentment, especially during the economic crisis and high unemployment, but the truth is their children are rapidly being assimilated and they provide labor in areas the Spanish are unlikely to cover on their own, especially elderly care.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Thing 23: Season Finale

Season finale because the show goes on.

1.There were so many things that I discovered with 23 Things. I think Delicious will have a big impact by making the internet swamp easier to navigate. I had a good time with the mashup applications and I'm sure I will return to them. Having my own personal blog is great and I plan to continue it, and I've found that being tuned into other blogs has really opened up my online experience. Helping all that happen are the RSS feeds from blogs that I added to my iGoogle page and that I want to add to my blog.

2. I've been putt-putting along on a little web tech bike for a while and this program and really cranked up the accelerator.

3. At times the Web has seemed like quicksand pulling at my time and energy, and I believe that is a real danger. I don't want too much of my time to be plugged in.

4. I have only one small suggestion. I wish the program had introduced me to Delicious and social tagging earlier so I could have started the organization sooner.

5. I would definitely join in another discovery program like this.

6. excitement

7. The last few days I haven't had time to go to the members' blogs and I plan to. But right now I have to finish some major projects and get ready to fly to Spain on Friday. Yipeee! I'll probably be visiting you guys from there.

Have a great summer!

Thing 22: Ning

Ning sounds like a great idea. The security and control the application offers sound perfect for the educational environment. I would dive right into setting one up for my class except for two things--no, three things:

1. Our district doesn't allow the use of social networks.
2. Even if they did, at my level (elementary,) students don't have individual log-ins so they couldn't register and participate from within the school network(I don't know if the district settings would allow a student to log in to another site like yahoo and from there log in to Ning, or even if that would be desirable).
3. Many of my students don't have internet access at home so the benefit of Ning would be limited.

As an individual, I can see some uses for a Ning personal network. I can see it being a good way for far-flung families to build an online meeting place. As an educator, I don't know why it would be particularly better than the blogs sites that are already out there. Except that it apparently is really easy for non-experts like myself to set it up.

I joined the Texas School Library Ning and was disappointed to see a bunch of blog posts that were essentially advertisements for products or other blogs.

So, while Ning seems ideal for a classroom/parent network, that is precisely what I can't use it for. And while I can use it for other purposes, it is not as compelling an option.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thing 21: Podcast

This has been an extremely frustrating task. Some of the frustration is my fault and some isn't. Anyways, after working 5 hours on it, I am fairly satisfied with my 1min 30sec podcast. I know it will go much smoother next time.

There are many ways podcasts could be used in the library. Booktalks, library introduction, technology tutorials, information literacy tutorials, PR announcements, etc. In many of these cases I would use just Photostory without making a separate audio file like I did this time. It was nice having the music at the beginning and end, but it added another layer of complication.

I am proud of myself for discovering how to switch to the old post editor so the video button would show.

Extra: Make a cartoon movie

I stumbled on this this morning while glancing over my RSS feeds. Xtranormal is a free web application that allows you to make simple movies with one or two cartoon-like characters and all you have to do is type! Well, there is a little more to it than that but Quick Tips will teach the basics. Here is what I did this morning. Yes, it's in Spanish. Several languages are available. This is a quick reminder to the students about how to set up a subtraction problem. Maybe students will remember what the cartoon character says better than they listen to me.

My sample is still "publishing." It's a long process so I'll give you a little more information. My movie is only about 11 seconds long so you can see it's kind of slow. Since I haven't shared one yet, I don't know if I can embed it or just paste the URL link. We'll see soon.

Wait a minute. It's not free! You have to pay to use movie elements, but supposedly you only pay once to use each one. You could make a simple movie for only $2. I don't like the way the cost is not up front, but I went ahead and bought the points I needed to publish the movie.


Uh-oh. I've been waiting hours for it to render and nothing.

Alright, I swear there was embed code on the Xtramormal page but now there isn't. I'm pretty confused about this but, any way, I am now going to try to create a link to it. Movie

 This is still neat, but much less usable than I thought.