Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hooray For the Internet!

For the past 5 years or so I have been trying to find a long lost friend of mine that I met when I lived in Chile. We went to school together when I was in 6th and 7th grade. We stayed in contact for sometime after I left by writing to each other. I don't know when we stopped writing to each other and fell out of contact.

About 5 years ago I looked on our former school's website and found an update on her and an e-mail address. Sadly, the e-mail bounced back. A couple years later, I tried again but with the same luck. Yesterday, I went back to the site and found an updated e-mail address. Guess what? This time it worked! I got a response from her yesterday. How cool is that???

I am happy to be back in contact with my long lost friend!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Travel Booked

Viva Panamá
Tonight we booked our summer travel. Mom and dad are off to Spain. Later on, Sabi and Mom are off to Baltimore. After that, Sabi, Mom and I are off to Panama.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

El Potrillo Cumple 37

In honor of Alejandro Fernandez's birthday today I am posting two videos. The first one was filmed today,in Venezuela, at an A.F. concert. A.F. was surprised in the middle of the concert by being sung to by the audience as well as being sung to by his children on video. I was suprised to see him wearing pants that were so tight! :-)

The second video is one of my favorites that he sings with Gloria Estefan.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Please Parents...Talk With Your Kids!

Last week my aunt gave me a book on puberty in young girls to read with Sabi. I hadn't taken the time to sit down with her yet and read through it. This morning, Sabi discovered the book and asked me about it. I told her that she could go ahead and read it if she wanted to. She grabbed it up and was reading in intently on the way to school. We had a short discussion on what she read this morning. She was kind of embarrassed about the book was clearly happy to have the book to answer some questions. I think it made it easier to ask me questions too since she could use a quote from the book to talk about. We will continue to work through the book.

I am so happy to be able to comfortably discuss the topic of puberty with Sabi. I was worried that she would be to shy to talk about it but she is really quite comfortable with me. I hope that we can always be so open with this and other topics.

* * * * *

On my way to lunch today, I told my student teacher the above story and she too agreed with me about how nice it is to have open communication. She then went on to say that if parents don't have these conversations, there will be many confused kids not to mention the risks of teenage pregnancy etc.

Not less than 5 minutes later we ran into a former student of mine. She is now about 14 or 15 years old. I didn't have to ask her why she wasn't in school. It was painfully clear...6 and 1/2 months clear. She is pregnant and has dropped out of school and will most likely not return.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Reader Appreciation Day

Happy Reader Appreciation Day!
Dear Readers of MsAbcMom,
Thank you for the following:
* Making me smile
* Making me laugh
* Making me sigh
* Making me cry (sometimes)
* Including me in your lives (via blog posts)
* Uplifting my spirits
* Making me feel loved and important
* Providing me with new friends/acquaintances
* Inspiring me to write
Thank you for visiting...please come again! :-)
p.s. Thanks to The Other Mother for this cool idea!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Great Challah Recipe

A perfect challah
I found a great recipe for challah online. I followed the recipe for the ingredients but changed a bit in the process. Check it out.

Here is how I made it:

2 cups warm water
2 packages dry active yeast
6-7 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup oil
1 eggs (1 for the mixture and one to brush on at the end)


Dissolve yeast in water. Temp should be between 75-120 degrees. Stir in sugar and salt. Add 3 cups flour and mix well in a mixer. Add remaining flour. Dough may be a little sticky. Mix until it forms a ball on the dough blade of the mixer. Move dough to a greased large bowl. Cover and place in a warm place. (I put mine on the dryer!) When dough rises long enough (twice the size) punch it down to let the air out. Knead for a few minutes and then cut in pieces, roll it out and then braid. Place on baking sheets that have been lined with parchment paper. Lightly brush a beaten egg over the top of the challah. Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown. Enjoy!
round challah

Friday, April 11, 2008


None of these people look like me!

Learning While Listening

My daughter is in the Suzuki violin program. The program is very structured and somewhat rigid. There are a series of books in the program that are leveled to the ability of the student. All students start at the first book and then move up as they demonstrate mastery of all the songs in the book they are working on.

In addition to regular practice it is recommended that the students listen to the music from the books on a regular basis. This technique helps them to be familiar with the music, rhythms, etc. Sabi is currently finishing book 3 and moving into book 4.

Today, we are home sick. I am having Sabi work on test prep. I thought it would be good to play the CD for Book 4 while she was busy working away. It was a bit of a distraction to her at first. I didn't tell her that I was putting the CD on. She immediately recognized it and asked if it was the Book 4 CD. As the music continued, she reacted very interestingly. At first she was a bit worried because she said it sounded hard. I didn't say anything and just pretended to work away at my computer while I watched her. She then started tapping the music out and I could tell that she was trying to figure out the technique for the song that was playing. When the next track on the CD came on she was excited because it was a song that she really liked. We are on
the sixth track of the CD now. She has returned to her test prep but is much more focused on her work . Every now and then though she will conduct with her pencil in between solving another math problem. I love it!


We have a handful of kids at my school that have been identified as GATE. (gifted and talented) Most of our GATE identified kids don't go to the GATE schools in our district though. Why? The parents don't send their kids to the program. The district I work in doesn't, in my opinion, do enough to promote the program to the Latino parents in Spanish. They also don't promote it at our site. Many of our parents don't speak English, or speak it well enough to understand it in an academic setting. They also are not very mobile so having something out of walking distance won't fly.

This year my daughter is in the GATE class at the school next to mine, the school where our GATE identified kids should go. There are at least 4 other kids at my school, in her grade, who should be there with her but they aren't. Two of them are former students of mine. I contacted these parents personally to ask them to send their children to the GATE program. I tried to explain the benefits of the program to them but they were worried that there would be no teachers at the other school who could speak to them, the parents, in Spanish and that it wouldn’t be in walking distance. (The kids would get bused but the parents, understandably, like to be in close proximity to their kids in case of emergency, etc.)

My concern here is that we have this handful of really bright kids who are mixed in with the rest and are not being pushed to the fullest extent of their capabilities. With our current test driven state in education, most teachers are trying their best to make sure that the kids are ready for the test. This means really focusing on the kids who are below grade level. We were in fact told by a workshop presenter, who was there to help us get our scores up, to “not worry about GATE kids. They already have what they need!”

Now I am not saying that classroom teachers don’t have a responsibility to their GATE students because we do. We need to work just as hard for them as we do for our lowest students. However, whatever we do for them in our regular classrooms, doesn’t even compare to what they can get from a class comprised of like minded individuals.

Every day that my daughter has been in her new GATE class this year has been just amazing. I just melt inside when I hear the things they are learning, the way they are learning or just the casual conversations that she is having with her friends. What a difference and change. What an opportunity!

When I walk around my school and see the GATE identified kids at my school, I feel so sad. I wish that they too could have the same opportunities that my daughter has.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Just a few questions...

Why did I let me sick daughter sleep with me a few nights ago?

Why are ALL of my students at school with drippy noses?

Why, despite the MILLIONS of boxes of Kleenex that I buy, and my students go through, did that not stop the germs?

Why did the constant use of Germ-X on both my students and myself not work?

Why did I not start using this a few days ago?

I hate being sick. Hate, hate, hate it.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

It's Never Too Late To Learn

Did you catch the story in the news today about the 70 year old first grader. That story made my day. I am sharing this story and the video clip with my students tomorrow.

Here is the video and here is the story.

Paid in Full

I am still riding the Yo! MTV Raps nostalgia train. I just found the Paid in Full video by Erik B. and Rakim. Where else can you find such well crafted and eloquent rhymes such as:
"Me and Erik B. and a nice big plate of fish
which is my favorite dish
but without the money it's still a wish"


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A Blast From the Past

Remember the show Yo! Mtv Raps? Guess what? April is dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the show. I used to LOVE that show. Ed Lover and Dr. Dre were cool hosts. Let's not forget Fab 5 Freddy either. Here is a picture of me with Fab 5 Freddy and Malcolm Jamal Warner!

I am looking forward to all of the foolishness and fabulousness that will be coming this way via MTV this month.

Let me leave you with an "oldie" but "goodie" by one m=of my favorites...Heavy D! (I was lucky enough to catch him performing btw in Indianapolis with Janet Jackson!