Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Volunteers needed for Día de los Muertos

We need volunteers and decorations for Día de los Muertos.  Click on this link to sign-up for the various shifts needed. Also, you can leave notes on the spreadsheet if you are interested in donating papel picado, paper flowers, colorful skulls, Día de los Muertos artwork, etc.

Thank you in advance for your time and support!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Personal Story- "A new school, a new teacher, a new language- Oh My"

"How exciting!  The first day of school!!!  As an educator, the first day of school has always been one of the most enjoyable and exciting times of the year for me.   The fresh, enthusiasm and optimism emitting and pure joy of seeing kids eager and ready to learn!   I loved decorating the classroom, making it creatively ready for my new crop of little learners to flourish & grow!

The first day of school for the student can be much different however.  Especially when it comes to your OWN children!

NERVES of MUSH!   My eldest daughter just entered the new Lincoln Dual Immersion Language Program, for first grade, A program that we have helped bring to fruition... talked about A LOT and have been very excited about!   She was excited for the school year to begin but apprehensive about her new environment, new school, new teacher, new classmates.. oh my!  That's a dreaded thought to a shy 6 year old.  and to add in A NEW LANGUAGE!   H O L Y   S M O K E S ! ! !    What pressure!

She went in that first morning with a mix of butterflies and enthusiasm... around 12:30pm we got a call from the school nurse that she was ill!   She had a tummy ache!   AND a low-grade temp!   BUMMER DEAL!

Picked her up and watched her go from being down n’ out to "normal" within an hour.... seemed fine the rest of the day thankfully and then went to bed, nervous about school the very next morning!  She had a difficult time falling asleep.  

She was full of apprehensive question after question about SPANISH!  How will I learn it?  When will I understand what my teacher is saying?  How will I know anything?  Why do we have to learn SPANISH???????

Every child wants to succeed.  It could be at checkers, hopscotch, basketball or piano. But it is not natural to want to fail.  Succeeding feels good!  Praise feels great!!  Feeling lost and out of place does not feel good.  Transition is hard.  Supporting your child in any transition is key to their flow of success.  

We talked to her, asked her questions, let her ask us questions and let her know that she was not alone.  One parent so wisely said to me, “maybe this will humble her, teach her humility and understanding of what other’s have to go through,” speaking of her own daughter’s experience on her first day of DLP Kindergarten.   Every life experience can be a learning experience…. Take these moments to teach…. After all, you are your child’s first teacher!   

With time, patience, understanding and support your child WILL flourish… a flower needs sunlight, soil, water, nutrients… all nurturing support in order to bloom…. So do our kids!

The next couple of weeks of school were like a mini rollercoaster ride of emotions… with a few more tummy aches and demands to not go to school,, our daughter struggled, she succeeded, she laughed and she cried.  And we were with her every step of the way.  Not only did we purchase Rosetta Stone to improve our Spanish, but her grandparents did as well!  My mother is a retired teacher and administrator and understands you are NEVER too old to learn! … modeling is HUGE!

Now in our 9th week of school, our daughter IS flourishing!  She scored at benchmark or above in her assessment areas in Spanish!  WOW!  We were not expecting that, at least not 5 or 6 weeks into the new school year.  She is enjoying her new language, still heavily challenged – which is great!  You always want to strive for something, challenge that little sponge in your head… give it new information to tap that unused grey matter….

While typing an email to her grandfather last week our daughter was explaining how she was the first person to be called up for an award in the awards assembly at school and she typed 'MI CLASSE.   Then she read back to herself what she had so easily typed… it flowed off her finger tips like rain drops in a storm…. “What does THAT say Mom?”  I said  'Mi classe… you typed “my class in Spanish!   She quickly erased it and typed in “my class”.  With a smile on her face she said… “how funny I did not even know I did that.”

Without a thought she transferred into Spanish.  It is working! She does not have any more tummy aches… and loves to talk, sing and try her best efforts at reading in Spanish, this new language that is penetrating her neuropathways!   What a gift!

Our daughter and her classmates are now finding solace in the fact that they ARE learning, and noticing signs of comprehension each new day!    The light bulbs are going off!"

Jamie Panziera
Parent of a fresh new 1st grade DLP student

Saturday, October 1, 2011

How to Celebrate Día de los Muertos

Wikipedia defines Día de los Muertos (English: Day of the Dead) as a Mexican holiday that celebrated annually on November 1st and 2nd. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it attains the quality of a National Holiday.  Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls,  marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts.

El Dia de los Muertos is not the Mexican version of Halloween.  The holiday has been celebrated in Mexico since the year 1800 B.C.   In the Mexican culture, this holiday is neither scary nor morbid.  It is a time of celebration and remembrance. It is a mixture of the Catholic Christian ritual and folk culture.

El Dia de los Muertos honors those whom have passed.  It is a welcomed opportunity to reflect upon one's life, heritage, ancestry and the meaning of one's existence.  Altars or ofrendas are a way to show honor, love and remembrance to those whom have departed.

In Mexico, neighbors gather in local cemeteries to share food, music, and fun with their extended community, both living and departed. The celebration acknowledges that we still have a relationship with our ancestors and loved ones that have passed away.

Many superstitions have been added over the years, but for the most part, this ancient holiday is as it always was - a time of remembrance and love. So, don't be afraid of the Day of the Dead. This is a happy holiday.  
Read a great article on how to celebrate Día de los Muertos on Spanglishbaby.com.

Here's a great, kid-friendly sing-along song on youtube 

Here's a great book for kids (recommended by mommymaestra) Click on the picture to order the book on Amazon.com.

Feliz Día de los Muertos