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Why I Chose a Career in Education

There are many moments where I am reminded why I chose a career in education. These moments arise when I am engaged in conversation with other teachers, conducting professional development workshops, developing new lessons, or simply reading about changes and latest developments in the field. Education is a dynamic field, and it has provided me with many opportunities to positively impact the lives of young learners as well as provide inspiration and support to new teachers. One such occasion occurred in mid-April when I was invited by Dr. Rosalinda Quintanar to conduct a presentation to students in a class entitled Meeting the Needs of Second-Language Learners (EDTE 162), a course within San Jose State University’s Teacher Education Department and a credential requirement. The class consisted of approximately 30 credential candidates, and its primary focus is applying theory and practical classroom techniques for providing equitable access to content for English language learners.
The…
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Thank Goodness for Moms!

Mother’s Day is a great time to recognize one of the most important educators in a student’s life—Mom! I’m so grateful for my own mother (now 91 years old) and all that she’s done for me over the years! She’s the one who gave me the courage to go to college (I’m the first in my family)! Though a mom myself and now a Yiayia (Greek for “grandma”), I often think about the lessons I learned from my mother and her generous love for family and friends. I say it’s truly fitting to celebrate all mothers! Throughout the world, people celebrate Mother’s Day on different days and in various forms. This year in the United States we honor mothers on Sunday, May 13th. So just how did Mother’s Day begin? The American version of this holiday was created by Anna
Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914. Later on, Anna denounced the commercialization of Mother’s Day and spent a good portion of her later life trying to get it revoked, but it has stayed. Today we continue to celebrate mo…

¡Olé! Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

¡Olémis amigos! Holy Guacamole! It’s once again time to celebrate Cinco De Mayo—the 5th of May! Instead of all the controversy around Mexico in the past year, this may be an excellent opportunity to educate your students and allow them to ask questions about what they hear on the news. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day from Spain (which is September 16th)! “¡Ay, caramba!”as Bart Simpson would say….

This is “la verdad” (the truth): when the French invaded Mexico in 1862, Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza’s force of 4,000 soldiers defeated 8,000 French soldiers in the Battle of Puebla on May 5th. The Mexicans’ courage inspired Mexican Americans (Chicanos) to celebrate the victory even though the French occupation continued four more years. Later in the 1960’s and 70’s, Chicanos involved in the civil rights movement associated Cinco de Mayo with their quest for respect in the U.S. They identified with the Native Mexican and Mestizo (people of mixed Native Mexican and European de…

National Arbor Day is Coming… Hug A Tree!

“The cultivation of flowers and trees is the cultivation of the good, the beautiful and the ennobling in man, and for one, I wish to see this culture become universal.”
Those words, from J. Sterling Morton, the founder of Arbor Day, got me thinking about how caring for trees and respecting all living things greatly impact future generations. National Arbor Day (held this year on April 27th) is an annual observance celebrating the role of trees in our lives and promoting tree planting and care. This holiday was first observed in 1872, in Nebraska, but tree planting festivals are as old as civilization. Trees have appeared throughout history as the symbol of life and hope. As teachers, we can encourage students to appreciate trees, nature, and all living things for future generations to enjoy! Here are a few STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) ideas to help you spread agricultural information and enthusiasm for trees on Arbor Day with your students: SCIENCE: Explore t…

Earth Day 2018 - End Plastic Pollution!

I just watched a fascinating PBS video on how much plastic is in the ocean. Counting down to this year’s Earth Day on April 22nd, the video got me thinking about how teachers can help students become responsible consumers as well as future caretakers of our earth!
Take plastic waste, for instance. Do you realize that plastics are one of the worst pollutants in our world today? From poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, from littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our waste streams and landfills, the exponential growth of plastics is now threatening the very survival of our planet!
In response, this year’s Earth Day is devoted to educating people about the problem of plastic pollution! As teachers, we can use this opportunity to inspire student interest in this problem and hopefully effect fundamental changes in human attitudes and behaviors about plastics!
Where to begin? I suggest you check out the main site about Earth Day: Earth Day Network (EDN) …

As the End of School Approaches, What’s Keeping You Afloat?

Do you ever get that sinking feeling that you have so much yet to do with your class, but you are running out of time? Feel like you are about to hit an iceberg around the corner with the end of school activities approaching? Can you survive without a life jacket? Believe it or not, the 106th anniversary this year of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15th got me thinking about how it might feel to be a stressed-out teacher at this time of year! It occurred to me: you don’t have to crash and fall apart! Just like a raft carrying you home to safety (here goes another analogy), let the Resource Area For Teaching (RAFT) help you with a shipload of supportive ideas to point you back on course! Ahem… Ok, I know, I know… enough already with the Titanic puns…. But, really, when you think about all the testing, lessons, assessments, end of school plans, and so forth, it can sometimes feel like time’s shrinking faster than ever, leaving you little to offer besides prescribed lessons and stand…

Campbell STEAM Showcase 2018

The enthusiasm was infectious March 28th on the grounds of Monroe Middle School!  Everywhere parents, students, and teachers from Campbell Union School District explored and celebrated student innovation and creativity in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) at this year’s STEAM Showcase 2018!   Hosted by Campbell Union School District, over 47 exhibits highlighted maker projects and products from TK to 8th-grade students, RAFT, local libraries, and other groups. Those who visited our RAFT table received kits made with the generous support from employees at ON Semiconductor. Over 200 kits (each serving 10 students) were handed out for free to teachers and students, impacting a total of 2,000 students with creative hands-on STEAM activities! The RAFT table was constantly full of curious folks, including students eager to investigate and ask questions about the array of exhibits and kits we offered, which included the following: Motorized Shake Table
Wind at W…