Monday, September 19, 2022

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

I can't preach inclusion, representation and diversity and not look out para mi gente. ! Este es mi primer boletín en Español! !Disfruta!
Este es un video sobre la importancia de los hispanoamericanos via una "webinar":

Friday, September 9, 2022

Banned Books Week Sept 18-24th!

Nothing like being banned to help a teenager select a worthy book to read!!! :) I'm not saying that I do my part in ensuring students have books that they WANT to read but...I promise you and my kids, they will read stories about them, their lives and whatever other reflection they need to guide and govern themselves with intellectual freedom!

For those of us librarians in Texas, we've been ordered and CENSORED by the GOP party/Govenor of certain Texans to remove 850 books. Never mind the mindset of "putting kids first" and "diversity is the fabric of life," books that represent all Texans are being pulled from the shelves. But guess what? My hometown, the Bayou City of Houston, TX is on to these suckers.
To read more excerpts, click here. Or if you want to hear more of my thoughts on this scandulous, trumped up foolishness, then by all means, here you go.

P.S.A.: The truth doesn't have to censor, hide or deny its mission.
Having said all of that, here's a brief Banned Book Week Mini Digital Escape Warm-up to use for your library or academic classes. Here's a resource to help guide you. Please enjoy this dandy "how to" video to learn how to make a digital escape room using Google Forms and our warm-up:

P.S. Did you know that there's a Banned Comic Book List too? Check out these titles.

BONUS MATERIAL: After teaching all week, one of my students asked me what I am doing to stop books bans. In addition to the purchasing power librarians have in supporting banned books, this blog, my life of advocacy work and this video are my answers:

Monday, August 29, 2022

Welcome Back to Another Year

It's September...where "sweat-hogs" line the football fields and summer scalds us for the last time in Texas! It's also the season of "new beginnings" as it relates to the start of a new school year! Here's our monthly newsletter at Dessau MS. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Zen Den: a calm place for restoration

One of the things I promised myself as a librarian was to offer an alternative to "punitive punishments" so many kids endure. We have to escape the "school to prison" mentality. Sometimes that's showing a student mercy, how to ground oneself, and choose a different response to an emotional and/or environmental trigger. I think this blog post on "Revolutionary Mindfulness and Restoration" hits the nail on the head.

Whether it's a contemplative practice on social justice like the wonderful leaders over at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and their "Tree of Contemplative Practices..."

or something like what I plan to offer my students, kids need a safe, calm space to contemplate outside of academic thinking. Therefore, here's what I will DO: offer the best resource I can...presenting the ZEN DEN!!!

Simply put, this is a safe place for every one. Students can reserve/request this space (scan the QR code) at their leisure for 10 mins recharge session or longer, dependent upon their needs and how they desire to self-soothe in a healthy manner. Also, it serves as a substitution for the infamous bullying, where they can spend 10 minutes grounding themselves and complete one of the activities to wipe out the offense. THIS is what restorative healing looks like for socially and emotionally healthy students! It's just enough to get their spirit nourished in a health manner. Check out our lil' space....

Sunday, August 14, 2022

The Boss & Awaken Librarian Team-up Again!

It's the beginning of another school year! I have the fortunate blessing of working with my literary and spiritual sister, KC Boyd, for the BEST and most ENLIGHTENING professional development any librarian can ask for, hands down!!!

The above slides are just the creative and visual graphics of the same titled lesson I wrote for PBS NewsHour. Please click on that link because I worked hard to ensure those primary resources were well researched and representative of two icons that used their platforms to change the world: Mrs. Ida B. Wells and Billie "Lady Day" Holiday!
Art has always been a passion of mine. Whether I'm painting, drawing, playing my cello, cooking, I will always interpret and release what is inside of me or provoking a response. That, in essence, is art in its multitudes of forms. I believe everyone has a bit of artist in them. It can be in a craftmanship like old school blacksmiths, sculpture carving like Michelangelo, or fashionable art like Beyonce's Lemondae or Renaissance album (Gotta show my fellow H-town girl some love on her banging new release!)
I hope you enjoy today's presentation, but more importantly, I want to leave you with this piece of choral artistry, as a musician myself:

Enjoy the full-length video and please support Caroline Brewer's riveting and healing picture book, #SayTheirNames.
Also, I wouldn't be a librarian worth her salt if I didn't at least give you a sneak peak as to what you can expect from such an engaging and wonderful expression of healing.
******************** Here's the recap, in case you couldn't attend:

Monday, July 11, 2022

NAMLE 2022 Conference

Hello friends! I'm happy to report that I will be speaking at the wonderful NAMLE 2022 Conference (National Association for Media Literacy Education) this upcoming Sunday, July 17th at 12:30 EST. I'm in the 1st blue column.

I will give a more in-depth explanation behind my PBS curriculum content lesson, Using Art as a Response to Racial Injustice!

Stay tuned because there's an interactive video with this presentation that I will post afterwards. Thank you for supporting me as always. Peace be with you.

Thank you to Kate Stevens, Andrea DeGetts and Victoria Pasquantonio for including me in this presentation! *The lessons presented in this video are linked to the appropriate presenter. Just click their name above.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Teachers are not OK and my plate is full!

Let me begin by saying, this school year has done a number on me. I moved from my hometown to the capitol of Texas. That alone was a task, because I moved during the pandemic and after being unemployed for 14 months.

As if my plate wasn't full enough, then my state leaders wanted to attack librarians for having books that discussed the truth in American history--(sidenote: The removing of books and news related to racism, unprovoked violence, and the plight of Black and Brown Americans by willfully ignorant folks...THIS is how 90% of the nation didn't know about the burning of Tulsa, OK (Greenwood)--which, without a shadow of the doubt, had my stress levels on high because any person of color knows: "we are the last to be hired and the first to be fired."

As if my plate wasn't full enough, the powers that be determined inflation was the way to go, after a global shellshock of a pandemic. Rent went from $1800 to $2250 while my salary went from $61k down to $53k. I bring the same 20 yrs experience, but such a huge discrepancy from Houston suburb to Austin suburb. My oldest had to drop out of school just to help me make ends meet, which sets his education behind...systemic burdens.

As if my plate wasn't full enough, the year ended with the 2nd worst of BANGS: The Uvalde Shooting. The unspeakable horror, just a few hours away...just like the Santa Fe shooting was 20 minutes from my house when I lived in Houston...just like the horror that flooded my soul when I heard gun shots at my own school while standing in the cafeteria, after a young man decided death was his best option during an arrest.

As if my plate wasn't full enough, I started fainting in May for no apparent reason, aside from stress...which last I checked is a killer. THAT is the 1st worst of BANGS. My heart is supposedly fine, gratefully, but I've reached a point of infraction as an educator too soon again: it's taking a toll on my health...and quite honestly, our medical professions is plagued with racism too. Can I trust my doctors to diagnose me effectively, while I surrender to the "maybe it's this" elimination game?

For those of you that follow my blog, you know I've battled every bit of discrimination, racism, name it. The double-down on my fears of workplace violence resurfaced yet again. I'm not okay. Every last educator is not okay. I won't be armed in class. I am a responsible gun owner that believes the school-house isn't the, I don't want my Black body to be holding a gun during a school shooting for an officer to fear for his/her life and shoot me. I want to be paid a living wage, plus the 20 yrs I bring to the table in experience. I want to inspire kids. I want to be unburdened.
Thank you, PBS Newshour, for allowing a small bit of release in the pressure-cooker that is public education. Take a look y'all and advocate for true change...while I recover and clean my plate this summer.

P.S. I made my birthday this month. It's significant because last month, all my loved ones were concerned that I wouldn't see it. Asé.