Checklist for Love

In the aftermath of these first nine days, as saddened as I am by the decisions of a powerful few, I cannot help but be so inspired by and proud of the collective many.  The message from cities and airports across the world has been clear; love is worth fighting for.  With a history that proves that this has not always been the case, I feel hopeful for the side of love.

Here’s what you can do to continue the inspiring actions of so many:

  1. You can #StopSessions.  The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions’ confirmation for US Attorney General on January 31st. Read this letter, written by Coretta Scott King, about why he was not an appropriate vote even back in 1986.
    Contact your Senator to let your voice be heard.  Not sure what to say?  Here’s a template for your phone call, e-mail, and tweet.  (They even provide a link to help you locate your respective Senator.)
  2. You can voice your support for public education, the foundation of democracy. There’s a class of Kindergarteners more qualified to lead public education than Betsy DeVos.  Use the phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and twitter handles you already located above to call/e-mail this message to your Senators.  (They also provide a link to help you locate your State Representatives.)
  3. Protect the powerless.  Print out and distribute this flyer, “Everyone has basic certain rights, no matter who is president,” to those who you know are undocumented.  Knowledge is power.  Pass it on. (English, Chinese, Arabic, Korean, and Spanish translations available.)
  4. Spread the word that “Hate Has No Home Here.”  Click here to join the movement and download the below sign. Display them in your front windows, classrooms, or get them silk screened onto a t-shirt (and then promptly contact me for my shipping address).



Books have a lot to contend with for time in my life: Instagram scrolling, TBS network binging (Big Bang Theory re-runs, duh), Snapchat story watching… you get the idea.  It’s not that I do not enjoy reading; I think that the written word is one the most powerful and inspiring tools we own.  The issue lies in the fact that life is busy and tries its very hardest to make me believe that I am too busy to sit down and read.  For that reason, I set a goal for myself this past January that I would set aside all my distractions and read one book per month.

Six months and one to two books later, I realized I had a problem.  I decided to make up for all my months of missed books by reading as many as I could during the summer months.  Yes, goals can bend and work like this, don’t yours?

I ended up reading seven books, all of which I would recommend to another reader in a heartbeat!


American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Graphic novel. Brilliant, creative tale of three very different worlds that come crashing together in the most twisted ending you’ll ever read. A very short read!


Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa

You haven’t read a more perfect description of what it feels like to be the loneliest of lonely, struggle with depression, or feel frustrated with life until you read this.  Feel those things and need to feel less so?  Read this.  Don’t know what those feelings are like?  Great, read this to know how to walk in the shoes of 99% of the people around you.


Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Want a romance story?  Read this.


The Truth Commission by Susan Juby

How many times have you looked at someone long enough to actually see them for they are?  How many times have you asked someone how they are doing and deeply cared about listening to the response?  How many times have you listened to understand, not to reply?


I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Want an even better romance story than my above recommendation?  Read this instead.


Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

So witty, so hilarious, so deeply and incredibly sad.  An easy read.  An absolute must.


The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse

Romance, murder, queasy descriptions of twisted violence.  I read this on the way to Colorado and was so engrossed that the flight attendant scared me to death when she interrupted me while passing out in-flight cookies.


Teaching Immigration Finds!

Teaching immigration is not just an ESL issue.  Teaching immigration could easily fit into the curriculum of ANY classroom if we think about the issue in terms of government policy, human rights, activism, human stories and narratives, movement, migration, economics, jobs, taxes, and cause and effect.

Here are a few links to get you started thinking about the topic in general.  Even if you do now see yourself teaching this topic, I highly recommend a read of at least the first link!

Comic Captures What it’s Like to Spend a Decade in Immigration Limbo Do you know what it takes to become a citizen in the US the legal way?  Scroll down to the bottom of the article to watch Juana describe the experience in cartoon.

The Sound of One Immigrant Clapping by Adrian Castro

What Part of Illegal Immigration Don’t You Understand?  Obtaining legal citizenship is more mysterious than the Bermuda Triangle.  This infographic attempts the best explanation I have seen, and in the very least, you get a sense of the experience so many are faced with.

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Edcamp Downingtown Finds!

As part of my professional learning this summer, I attended my first EdCamp at the Downingtown STEM Academy last week.  My take-away is that every educator should be REQUIRED to attend an Edcamp once a year.  I walked away so inspired, energized, and valued and I want to share a few of the highlights with you!

EdCamp Calendar & Sign-Ups  If you have never heard of EdCamps before, I recommend you start here to read about them.  This link also contains a list of upcoming EdCamps and links to sign-up.  I recommend checking back this fall for more local dates.

EdCamp Downingtown GoogleDoc  During each EdCamp, attendees take notes on a collaborative GoogleDoc, which allows those who couldn’t attend also benefit from the collaboration!  Click on the link in each session you are interested in to read the GoogleDoc notes on that session.  This is a resource that was discussed in my Makerspaces session.  It not only gives you great recommendations for how to utilize Makerspaces, but it also provides projects that tie to your area of curriculum.

The Extraordinaires Design Set  If you are new to Makerspaces, like me, this design kit was recommended to me as a great place to start.  All of the planning and preparation is in the box, and is relatively cheap (hopefully you have a modest teacher budget from your district!).

Worlds of Making  This is a book that was spoken very highly of by both teachers in the Makerspace and PBL sessions.  I have not bought it yet, but it looks like a fantastic starter guide for Makerspaces and project-based learning.

Authentic Audience Finds!

KQED DO NOW  Allow students to explore and answer controversial topics, and give their responses an authentic audience through the KQED DO NOW activities.  I linked to the KQED #2nextprez DO NOWs because I think it is best worth your click.  I learned about #2nextprez in Arcadia’s #ED677 course.  This website allows users to upload multiple Word or PDF pages and it publishes them to look like an online magazine.  This FREE service is another perfect way to publish your students’ work for a greater audience.

Unique & Equal  This past semester, I used to publish my ESL Intermediate’s classroom magazine.  The magazine was completely student-driven and student-created.  We shared the link to the magazine out on social media and got meaningful, positive feedback from all over our district!

Twitter in the Classroom Finds!

Twitter to Connect and Collaborate– a professional development presentation

Twitter in 60 Seconds– YouTube video

How to Create a Twitter Account 2015– video tutorial

Hastags in 60 Seconds– YouTube video

Cybrary Man– List of education related hashtags and a calendar of all hashtag chat sessions

33 Education Twitter Accounts You Should Be Following

Using Twitter or Facebook for collaborative learning activities

Educators on TweetDeck

Guide to using Twitter in Your Teaching Practice– a resource to expand your knowledge on using Twitter in the classroom