WOW Currents

Culturally Relevant Materials: Building Community In the Classroom

By Lauren Hunt, Lori Deese, & Lisa Stockdale, Kershaw County School District, Camden, SC, Julia López-Robertson, University of South Carolina

In The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, Manzano captures the struggles that are often part of mother-daughter relationships. Yet, in the end, the three females (Evelyn, her mother, and her grandmother), all gain better perspectives of themselves and each other. This story would most likely resonate with many teenagers because of the struggles teens face as they move from adolescence to adulthood. This book could be potentially more powerful for English Learners (ELs) who struggle not only with this rite of passage, but also having to face it in a country that is not their first home. I especially think of the Dreamers whose parents came to America searching for better lives for their families. I wonder if these students have difficulty understanding their parents desires to hold tightly to the ways of their country while they are fervently seeking to become a part of American culture. As a teacher, I wonder how I can best meet these students’ unique needs. Continue reading

WOW News

Globalizing the Common Core State Standards Exemplar List

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and their variations influence K-12 curriculum, particularly in the teaching of literacy, across the U.S. and internationally. With funds from the Center for Educational Resources in Culture Language and Literacy (CERCLL), Worlds of Words (WOW) in the University of Arizona College of Education offers an alternative to the CCSS text exemplar list to assist educators searching for ways to globalize their classrooms and libraries.

Globalizing the Common Core State Standards, Odyssey Graphic Novel

Tucson High Magnet School senior, Parrish Ballenger, reads the graphic novelization of The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds based on Homer’s epic poem. Worlds of Words pairs this book with the CCSS exemplar The Odyssey by Homer, along with Here Lies Arthur by Phillip Reeve, Sita’s Ramayana by Samhita Ami and Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis.

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WOW Currents

Girl Young Lords: Literature as Mirrors

By Teri Davis, Robin Sowell and Lisa Stockdale, Kershaw County School District, and Julia López-Robertson, University of South Carolina

Girl Young Lords!! Yes, for the first time, there were girl Young Lords.

This quote is the most relative to my classroom today. In The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano, Evelyn is almost set on fire for the revolution’s cause after seeing girls like her who were Young Lords. It gives her something greater to connect to other than the needs of her people. It gives her a “hero”, someone she relates to and admires. One general strategy for ELLs is to ensure our classrooms are welcoming places that represent all cultures. Having texts in my classroom to support ELLs is a positive and necessary part of my instruction. Continue reading

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MTYT: Drum Dream Girl

By Jean Schroeder, Holly Johnson, Prisca Martens, Mary Fahrenbruck, Tracy Smiles, Jeanne Fain, Rebecca Ballenger, and Celeste Trimble

This year, the Tucson Festival of Books celebrates its 10th anniversary. In a short period of time, the festival rose to become the third largest book festival in the U.S. drawing crowds in excess of 130,000. Each year the festival hosts 60-70 authors and illustrators of books for children and adolescents. This month My Take/Your Take features four books by this year’s festival authors to provide a personal take, starting with Jean and Holly on Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle and Rafael López.

Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle Continue reading

WOW Currents

[Re]visiting Evelyn Serrano

By Elizabeth Burr, Kershaw County School District, Camden, SC, Julia López-Robertson, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, and Lisa Stockdale, Kershaw County School District

For the next month we, a university professor, a district ESL teacher and a classroom teacher taking a course on English Learner Assessment, invite you to join us as we think about and make connections to The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano. The story is about a young Puerto Rican girl, Evelyn, coming of age in Spanish Harlem, NYC, in the summer of 1969. A part of our class is reading young adult novels and making connections to the theories we read about and to our life experiences. Some of the cultures represented in these books are familiar to us but the majority are new. The new ones provide the opportunity for us to learn about a new culture and adapt it to the children in our classrooms. This first week, we present Elizabeth [Betsy] Burr’s, thoughts and connections to Evelyn Serrano. Then, we provide a mini-text set for your consideration. We welcome your responses and connections to our post!

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Freedom Over Me

Freedom Over Me by Ashley BryanIn Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life, Ashley Bryan created a treasure of a book that deeply moves the heart, informs and influences our humanity. Following the January publication of Teaching Hard History: American Slavery by the Southern Poverty Law Center, multiple articles looked into the need for students to learn more about the experience of slavery. Bryan’s book, which appeals to ages 11 and up, helps accomplish this. Continue reading

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MTYT: Six Dots

For our last My Take/Your Take discussion of Schneider Family Award winning picture books, Mary, Christopher and Leslie share their takes on Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Boris Kulikov. “Too small. He won’t survive!” cluck visitors looking into Louis’s bassinette. Readers follow along with Louis as he grows from a small baby into a healthy, curious toddler. Tragically, Louis’s curiosity leads to an accident that eventually results in him being blind.

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WOW Currents

Insignificant Events In the Life of a Cactus: Young Women Demanding to be Seen and Heard

By Dorea Kleker, The University of Arizona

As an educator and parent, the recent shooting in Parkdale, Florida rattled me. Again. Preventable, senseless deaths. Again. Mourning families and communities. Again. I scroll through the photos of 17 beautiful faces who walked into school on the morning of February 14, 2018 and didn’t come home. I read the details of the survivors’ accounts of a nightmare they will never shake. I hug my son a little tighter and think of all the mothers who are afraid. Again. Again. Again.

Insignificant Events In the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling Continue reading

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MTYT: The Pirate of Kindergarten

Mary, Christopher and Leslie have chosen another picture book with a young protagonist for this weeks’ My Take/Your Take. George Ella Lyon’s The Pirate of Kindergarten tells the story of Ginny and her struggles with double vision. Avril’s illustrations help readers experience for themselves what Ginny sees when she looks out into her world–two of everything. When she tries to read the words in a book there are twice as many words. Frustrated, but determined, Ginny desperately wants to read.

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WOW Currents

In the Shadow of the Sun: Understanding Complex Identities

By Dorea Kleker, University of Arizona

Google “North Korea” right now and a flurry of presidential tweets and news stories of missiles is surprisingly absent. This week, the Olympics overwhelmingly trump (pun intended) impending war and dangerous egos. The top three hits include an Australian Kim Jong-Un impersonator, the North Korean Olympic delegation and 229 members of the North Korean cheerleading squad. On the surface, they’re light stories. Read beyond the headlines and the deeper issues persist: dictators, brutal regimes, extreme human rights abuses and nuclear threats.

In the Shadow of the Sun by Anne Sibley O'Brien Continue reading