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MTYT Bonus: Looking Ahead to a Puerto Rican Read In

René Picó and Charlene Klassen Endrizzi close their inquiry with a bonus post looking ahead to their upcoming Puerto Rican Read In, scheduled for Fall 2018. We hope our read-in helps children connect to cross-cultural experiences through common everyday interactions and ponder cultural misunderstandings some mainlanders hold about a group of American citizens from another region in the United States.

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MTYT: The Role of Women in Puerto Rican Culture

Many layers of idiosyncrasies lie within the books that allow readers to explore the cultural complexities of the Puerto Rican experience. This week, My Take/Your Take looks at the role of women in Puerto Rican culture as evident through a contemporary, well-known role model in Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx and a quieter, equally crucial role model in Grandma’s Records.

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MTYT: Sights and Sounds in Puerto Rican Picturebooks

This July, René Picó and Charlene Klassen Endrizzi explore the cultural complexities of the Puerto Rican experience. Many layers of idiosyncrasies can be uncovered within these books by the reader. The aim is to reveal how Puerto Rico “is a human archipelago… self-assertive, puzzling and contradictory.”

Our search for Puerto Rican picturebooks continues as we focus on the rich eco-diversity of our Caribbean island. We hope to fascinate readers with the sights and sounds of the distinctive Puerto Rican wildlife (including parrots, coquís and iguanas) through our discussion of The Coqui and the Iguana and Parrots Over Puerto Rico.

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MTYT: Roberto Clemente and Tito Puente

This July, René Picó and Charlene Klassen Endrizzi delve into the cultural complexities of the Puerto Rican experience. The books are selected to allow readers to uncover more layers of idiosyncrasies. We want to reveal how Puerto Rico “is a human archipelago… self-assertive, puzzling and contradictory.”

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MTYT: Schomberg: The Man Who Built a Library

This July, René Picó and Charlene Klassen Endrizzi explore the cultural complexities of the Puerto Rican experience. Each book allows readers to uncover another layer of idiosyncrasies. We hope to reveal how Puerto Rico “is a human archipelago… self-assertive, puzzling and contradictory”
(Arturo Morales-Carrion, 1976).

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Responsible Citizens, Workers and Activists: Uncovering Informational Text Trios

By Charlene Klassen Endrizzi with Karen Matis

text trios
Open minds Operate best.
Critical thinking Over tests.
Wisdom can’t be memorized.
Educate! Agitate! Organize!

Nagara, 2013

Innosanto Nagara’s ambitious declaration parallels Eel’s change of heart which initiated Karen’s and my month-long investigation into Responsible Citizens and Workers. A is for Activist embodies an edginess designed to encourage teachers and students to contemplate action. Our classrooms need to include more moments of agitation where teachers and students are nudged to evaluate their current lives and ponder civic responsibility. Continue reading

Responsible Citizens: Considering the Power of Words

By Karen Matis with Charlene Klassen Endrizzi

the power of words
“I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race.”
from The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, 2012

Death, an unconventional narrator, contemplates this final thought in Marcus Zusak’s historical fiction novel The Book Thief. In the context of World War II, these words offer a blunt description of a citizen who stands up for what is right and the possible unfortunate consequences of becoming an advocate for others. This week we continue our investigation of Responsible Citizens alongside a different seventh grade class studying The Book Thief. I offered this rhetorical question to help students contemplate Zusak’s thoughts related to their lives: “With which group do you want to be associated? the overestimated, popular opinion, or the underestimated, who labor against the grain to enact positive change?” Continue reading

Responsible Citizens and Workers: Nurturing Ethical Viewpoints in Seventh Grade

By Charlene Klassen Endrizzi with Karen Matis

examine civic responsibility“Instead of looking with my eyes, I decided to see with my heart.”
(Eel, mudlark in The Great Trouble by Deborah Hopkinson, 2013)

Eel, an adolescent protagonist, along with larger than life teens like Iqbal Masih and Malala Yousafsai from Pakistan, became central figures in a four week exploration of Responsible Citizens and Workers. Overarching questions like “What makes a responsible citizen?” and “What makes a responsible worker?” initiated a collaborative inquiry between Karen’s 45 seventh graders and 12 secondary education minors enrolled in my literacy course. Previous interactions with Deborah Hopkinson led us to contemplate various social justice themes in her books. We set out to create opportunities for middle school readers to explore their place in the world and consider avenues for making meaningful contributions. Eel’s ethical outlook of “see[ing] with my heart” invited adolescents and preservice teachers to examine civic responsibility in their present day lives. Continue reading

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Israeli Children’s Books: Forming a Bridge Between Cultures?

by Charlene Klassen Endrizzi, Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA

forming a bridge between culturesI can’t wait to get back to a country where they speak English,” announced my exhausted eleven year old son, while we stood in line at El Al, the Israeli national airline, preparing to board our plane back home from Tel Aviv. This natural human desire to remain within familiar territory is an emotion I frequently experience along with Bryce. Spending days eating none of his favorite foods, navigating multiple hotels and historical sites, missing baseball tournaments… could cause angst for any pre-teen. Nonetheless his statement urges me to continue exploring the learning potential from our family vacation for years to come.
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Israeli Children’s Books – A Parent Perspective on the PJ Library

by Charlene Klassen Endrizzi, Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA

familylsraeli, a parent perspective on the PJ LibraryMothers and fathers have equal duties to read to their children. My daughter-in-law is a lawyer so she comes home from work very tired. My son, who currently stays at home with the children, reads every day at bedtime to his children. He is very close to them through reading.” –Hadass, a trilingual native of Jerusalem, offered these insights into Israeli parent-child reading habits during our bus ride from Tel Aviv to her hometown.

Across generations and cultures, families create these intimate yet equally intellectual literacy moments with children. The PJ Library, http://www.pjlibrary.org/, is a North American Jewish Family Engagement program designed to perpetuate the parent-child reading tradition. The parallel Israeli version, Sifriyat Pijama, emphasizes the same dual goals of supporting literacy and reaffirming Jewish values. Preschool teachers enrolled in the program receive Jewish literature and music to share with their three to five year old students’ families. One parent must speak Hebrew since all of the books and the Parent Reading Guides at the beginning of each text are written in the official language of Israel.
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