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Reclaiming Social Emotional Learning with Children’s Literature, Part I

By Angelica Serrano, 4th Grade Teacher, Van Buskirk School, Tucson, Arizona

A young child sits in the center of multiple circles like tree rings.

“Tú eres mi otro yo, si te hago daño a ti me hago daño a mí mismo; pero si te amo y respeto, me amo y me respeto yo”

“You are my other me, if I hurt you then I hurt myself too, but if I love you and respect you, then I love and respect myself too”

Award-winning playwright Luis Valdez’s poem captures a foundational teaching goal of mine, focused on reclaiming time for social emotional learning during my school day. Clearly the 2020 pandemic continues to impact children’s learning, including how children regulate their emotions and social interactions with others in the classroom. Over the past two years, teachers across the nation have expressed challenges they face through social media and other outlets. Many still see ripples of the pandemic as both students and teachers struggle to create spaces for learning, communication, cooperation, and community building. Continue reading

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Rompiendo nuestra burbuja: An International Perspective on Culturally Specific Literature from the United States

Carmen M. Martínez-Roldán, Teachers College, Columbia, New York, Dámaris Muñoz Cataldo and Katherine Keim Riveros, Universidad de O’Higgins, Rancaqua, O’Higgins, Chile

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales, cover art“Rompe nuestra burbuja” were the words that Mariposa (self-selected pseudonym), an eight-grade Chilean student, used when giving her opinion about the benefits of reading stories that explore how people from different cultures live. She revealed, “Porque uno aprende nuevas cosas y rompe nuestra burbuja, nos muestra diferentes realidades de la vida diaria [because we learn new things, and it pops our bubbles. It shows us different realities from daily life].”

Teachers in U.S. classrooms are continuously looking for ways to engage their readers with children and young adolescent literature from various cultures, not only to support students’ reading but also to promote cross-cultural understandings needed to cultivate solidarity. Muhammad (2020) captured this concern in her question: “How will my instruction help students to learn something about themselves and/or about others?” (p. 58). Continue reading

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Marching Towards Justice for All: Part I

by Daliswa Kumalo and Charlene Klassen Endrizzi

Four young people in 1950s fashion lead a parade of protestors.Two years ago, Daliswa “Didi” Kumalo shared a compelling picturebook, Let the Children March, with third graders during our School of Education’s annual African American Read-In. She recently revealed the impetus for crafting this engagement. “When I was younger, my dad always told me that ‘history tends to repeat itself.’ As much as I wished that wasn’t the case, as I get older the connections to the past have never felt closer.” Through our blog post, I (Charlene) reveal Didi’s ability to connect 8- and 9-year-olds to the Civil Rights child foot soldiers featured in Monica Clark-Robinson and Frank Morrison‘s award winning book. We believe this literature engagement highlights the value of building bridges to our nation’s past. When teachers initiate hard conversations surrounding unresolved racial struggles, children can begin to consider their power to create much-needed change today. Continue reading

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Imagination Fridays

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

Each week in November, WOW Currents will feature an online resource that teachers and families can access to support literacy instruction in their virtual learning spaces. This week’s post features Imagination Friday hosted by Worlds of Words: Center of Global Literacies and Literatures and Tucson Festival of Books. WOW offers many amazing resources for teachers and families, and Imagination Friday is no exception. Continue reading

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Creating Literature-Based Digital Classroom

By Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District, Tucson, AZ and Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

In our school district (Tucson Unified School District (TUSD)), in this unusual time, “Bitmoji Classroom” is one of the hottest educational tools among teachers, especially Grades K-5, for distance learning. A bitmoji (personal avatar) classroom is an interactive virtual classroom that bridges virtual and hands-on learning to keep students engaged. It makes resources, such as a school calendar, books, and activities, easily accessible to students and provides them with a sense of virtual familiarity and stability. Continue reading

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Inquiry into Global Nonfiction and Informational Literature: Student Learning Outcomes and Reflections

Judi Moreillon, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

This post summarizes IS445 Information Books and Resources for Youth graduate students’ learning outcomes and reflections. I also included my brief reflection on teaching the course at the end of this post.

Small Group Collaborative Inquiry Projects
As noted in last week’s WOW Currents blog post, IS445 Information Books and Resources for Youth graduate students brainstormed topics and formed five inquiry groups. Topics for two of the five groups made natural connections to global books and resources: immigration and refugees. These topics grew out of the prejudice and discrimination pathfinder I provided as a model for students.

Decorative image of a blue wall featuring a world map with silhouettes of people walking past. Continue reading

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Guided Inquiry Design: Explore and Identify Phases

Judi Moreillon, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

The Explore phase of the Guided Inquiry Design (GID) offers learners resources to browse, read or use to stimulate their thinking and prompt sub-questions related to the overarching inquiry question. A hands-on text set of books is one option. Students may also be guided to online resources that may further increase their interest in the overarching inquiry question. A combination of print and digital resources can be especially effective for today’s youth (and graduate students, too). This dip-in strategy is designed to deepen students’ background knowledge before they identify inquiry questions of their own.

Book Jackets for We Are Here to Stay, Enemy Child, Racism and Intolerance, and The Unwanted. Continue reading

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Guided Inquiry Design: Open and Immerse Phases

Judi Moreillon, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Before beginning our whole-class Guided Inquiry Design (GID) experience, I shared information about the eight phases of the process. Students also read a chapter from my latest professional book that describes the process in detail. I shared my experience of using the GID with K-12 students and in professional development activities for educators and librarians. I explained the purpose for modeling the process and let students know they would engage in small group inquiry projects later in the course and could also select an inquiry process for a choice project assignment.

Open: Prejudice and Discrimination
The “Open” phase of the GID is designed to stimulate learners’ curiosity, pique their interest, and invite them to join in the inquiry process. Educators often launch this phase by posing a question, problem or dilemma. The Open phase may begin with a read aloud, a selection of media or a short text that hones in on the inquiry topic or theme. The overarching or essential question for the inquiry can also serve as a prompt for connecting learners to the topic and opening and engaging their minds.

I launched our inquiry into prejudice and discrimination by sharing a photo montage of global current events images and brief print from newspaper and website headlines focused on children and teens who currently experience prejudice and discrimination. My goal was to focus students’ thinking on how global prejudice and discrimination impact today’s youth.

Opening slide of Judi Moreillon's presentation Prejudice and Discrimination in the News, link below image
Slideshare Link: Continue reading

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Inquiry into Nonfiction and Informational Global Literature Focused on Prejudice and Discrimination against Children and Teens

Judi Moreillon, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

This summer, I taught an 8-week online course, “Informational Books and Resources for Youth.” The students participating in the course were practicing school librarians or preservice school or public library children’s and teen services librarians. We “met” virtually face-to-face in the online classroom 2 hours each week. The primary course objective is for students to identify, curate and present purposeful, relevant, current, accurate, authoritative and inclusive print and digital resources to support collection development and provide curriculum and programming support. Continue reading

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Teaching about the Refugee Experience

By Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico and Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District

In this month’s WOW Currents, Yoo Kyung Sung and Junko Sakoi talked about their project, “Read, Write, Review for Us (RWRU)” and how it is helping to educate local Tucson children about the refugee experiences of kids just like them. This week we will focus on the positive developments that came from the students’ pen pal experience. We will also discuss what teachers can do through classroom instruction to cultivate awareness of the diversity of people and cultures in the community.

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