4.12.2008

Traveling Life 3

Yesterday, I flew in and out of San Antonio for a talk at the San Antonio Area Association of Bilingual Educators (SAAABE) where I met with Mr. Ornelas and Mrs. Pacheco who'd organized the event, a day-long conference attended by San Antonio's best. My part was the easiest: I got to talk for 45 minutes on the need to enlist the much-needed help of parents in the home and on campus, as literacy and language advocates. Never mind them just fundraising or making copies (though those are great ways to participate), we need parents to become active in children's academic success, face to face, day to day. And ours, as school educators, is to teach them the language of academia and academic success for use in the home. In other words, kids should know to expect to hear in the home what they're hearing in the classroom (and vice versa). For example, in an ELA class TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) requires a reader to identify, say, main character, plot, and setting. It's not enough for me to send a note home (in English and Spanish) asking parents to check their child's home work for proof of understanding when the parents may not know themselves how to identify main character, plot, and setting. That home work assignment will likely be futile. So we need to, in mini-workshops with parents (held on campus (best place for this would be the library), but why not better yet at a community's church, the Y or Boys' and Girls' Club or other community center, at a book store, or in one family's living room or porch) let them in on this traditionally private (ours) and specialized (academic) language. Show them how to use it to help their children reach for that academic success we all wish for every student. Anyway, it was awesome talking with these folks, and cool to listen to an elemetary school's rondalla (Esparza Elementary School). Those kids were great playing and singing. What futures these kids have as a result of participating in a music program.

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