As many of you know, my Fulbright is organized around an inquiry project that seeks to understand how to use Chilean children's literature to drive instruction in the American world language classroom.
This week I started my research. The University of the Andes assigned me a wonderful mentor -Zenaida Suarez Mayor-that will be helping me establish contacts and get into schools for interviews and observations. Apart from interviewing and observing classes, I also get to shop. For books!
This week I bought quite a few children's books and started analyzing some of them to see whether/how they could contribute to our curriculum at WAMS and, on a larger scale, to world language curricula across the country.
There are book series that are created specifically incorporate character education into language arts classes. I bought levels 3 to 6 at the bookstore at the UAndes. For example, Level 3 [basico 3] has units that could fit so well with "Soy Unico" unit in William Annin. A unit that is called "Mi identidad: las herencias de mi familia" talks about identity, ancestry, and appreciating one's roots. In the same level 3, there is a sub-unit that talks about "sentimientos" [emotions] -that also can be used in our 6th grade. Here is a sample:
Another sub-theme in this series that can fit our curricula is called "Mi familia, mi casa, mi barrio" [My family, my house, my neighborhood]. Apart from essential vocabulary, it carries overarching messages, i.e. right at the beginning it states for the students: "you will learn about how family helps you, how you needs to appreciate your family, and how your family passes along values and traditions." Another message that resonated with me is "you [the student] not only learn in school, you also learn in your family". This sub-unit can complement our 7th grade "La Familia" unit. Amazing!!
In summation, this series carries messages of character education throughout. Emotional growth and change, mind-body connection, healthy living, being proactive vs. reactive, dealing with difficult emotions, making choices, being a responsible and helpful member of family and community,- all these sub-themes are present. I still have to buy levels 1 and 2 but I think it will complement our curricula nicely!
I leave you with a meme that I found in level 3 - "Ayudas para ser mejor persona"
Back in April, I received some incredible news: I was selected to travel to Chile as part of the Fulbright Distinguished teacher program in march of 2017 to work on my children's literature study.
The first week of August, Fulbright Commission gathered all of the recipients in Washington, D.C. for a three day orientation. A packed three days orientation.
I arrived from Newark, quite promptly, and had no trouble finding the Lowes Madison Hotel. International teachers arrived two days before and the U.S. teachers arrived the day before. International teachers from Botswana, Finland, India, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, the Palestinian Territories, Singapore, and Taiwan met with U.S. teachers who will be traveling to Botswana, Chile, Finland, India, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, the Palestinian Territories, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam to engage in discussions about their countries’ educational systems and their individual inquiry projects which they will develop during their program. Unfortunately, there was no Chilean teacher to touch base with, so I circulated from country to country.
For the three days that we were there: mingling, eating all meals together, creating presentations, bonding, asking and answering questions, and drilling each other on what's it like to work, live, and make a difference in our respective countries. We talked about international education systems, how to serve underrepresented students better, and how to take our projects to the next level. It was incredible, and I am grateful to IIE for organizing the orientation.
In fact, that's the picture we took during culture night. Can't you see, we are having fun?