Saturday, July 30, 2016

JOIN: ¡Bienvenida Elena, Disney's First Latina Princess!

Every Saturday, join me as I CELEBRATE This Week 
with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.

Maybe you've heard, and maybe you haven't, but Disney now has a TV show based on their first Latina princess! The show is called Elena of Avalor and is a spinoff of their show Sophia the First on Disney Junior. Here's more about her debut at

I first heard about Elena when we were in Guatemala and my mom was excited to show me that Guatemalan singer and songwriter Gaby Moreno sings the theme song. Here's a link to Billboard talking about how Gaby Moreno Sings Theme Song for Disney Channel Latina Princess Show 'Elena of Avalor'. And here's the title sequence so you can see it (and hear Gaby) for yourself!

Friends! I'm so so so excited!

I messaged my mom yesterday asking if she would help make an Elena of Avalor costume for me to wear for Halloween...because, seriously, this is the first Disney princess who looks like me!!! My mom was a little confused but willing to help. 

I've always been a Disney fan. Disney World is one of my favorite places. We watch every Disney movie that comes out when it's still in the theaters. I can sing along to almost any Disney song you throw my way. We watch Disney channel more than any other channel. 

I love Disney!

I didn't think it was possible to love Disney more. 

Then they introduced Elena. 

And I'm nine again. 

Who knows? School is starting soon. I'm working on my ESL endorsement and participating in a pretty intense teaching workshop this year too, but I would love to have an Elena dress to wear someday. 

Also, if you aren't familiar with Gaby Moreno, her music and her voice is beautiful. Here's a duet with fellow Guatemalan singer and songwriter Ricardo Arjona. The video is filmed in Guatemala too and you can see places like Antigua and Tikal. 

Thanks for stopping by to celebrate with me this week and every other week. I'm so thrilled to be sharing new of a Latina Disney princess! It just brings the biggest smile to my face. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

JOIN: nErDcamp Michigan 2016!

Every Saturday, join me as I CELEBRATE This Week 
with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.

The Sunday before last, I drove the few hours to Parma/Jackson, Michigan to join my fellow Nerdy friends for nErDcamp Michigan! Later, I told my neighbor all about it and she interrupted me to ask, "Is it really called nErDcamp???" Why, yes, it is!
I've gone every year to nErDcamp since the first one in 2013. It's morphed from one day to two days and has become more amazing every year. This year, we watched Most Likely To Succeed: A Film About What School Could Be to kick off all the nErDcamp fun on Sunday night.
On Monday morning, I helped with registration so I didn't run the 5k or eat the pancake breakfast but it sounded like a great time. I did, however, get a great seat to listen to six remarkable women share their stories and their inspirational words: Kathy Burnette, Teri Lesesne, Raina Telgemeier, Pernille Ripp, Donalyn Miller, and Kate DiCamillo.
Monday afternoon I presented with author Louise Borden on getting real with research and inspiring students to explore their curiosity and to offer opportunities for authentic research because of it. After that I also led a session on living the life of a coach.
And then it was off to the Nerdy dinner and more great conversations with Nerdy friends. Look at the goodies Debbie Ridpath Ohi shared with dinner guests!
Tuesday it was time for the more traditional Edcamp-style unconference at nErDcamp where I threw out the idea for a session on Pokemon Go...and people came! It was super fun to learn more about Pokemon Go with others who were curious too. 
Two years ago, one other teacher from my previous district came to nErdcamp and we met there for the first time when we realized we taught in the same district. Last year, one of my really close friends came. But this year, we actually had six people come and that was pretty awesome. It was fun to be able to share nErDcamp with them! And so I give you...a Nerd balloon picture with my U-46 friends:
After all the sessions on Tuesday and hugging friends goodbye, I stayed Tuesday night to lead a group of students through their nErDcamp Jr experience. It's such a great way to end nErDcamp because everything we do is really and truly about the students.

All the kids gathered together in the auditorium to watch as Jerzy Drozd led Raina Telgemeier, Jenni Holm, Aaron Zenz, and Eddie Pittman through an illustrating challenge. Then they were off with their groups to read and write with authors and illustrators. How cool is that!?
My group was able to write and draw with Erica Perl, Liesl Shurtliff, and Laurie Keller. So fun!
It's energizing to be around people who are part of my tribe! Being with others who are passionate about learning buoys me up as I get ready for another school year. Today I'm celebrating the people near and far who share my love of reading and writing but who also share that with their students.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

JOIN: Celebrating Guatemala 2016

Every Saturday, join me as I CELEBRATE This Week 
with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.

I'm so excited to be celebrating this week! I've been in Guatemala for the last two weeks having a completely blast and soaking up my Guatemalan heritage. It was amazing to finally be able to visit the country where my mom and her side of the family is from and to see where my mom grew up and all that she has told me about Guatemala first-hand. 

Here are a few pictures from our trip when we stayed in Antigua, Guatemala. We visited ruins that were left after big earthquakes destroyed many of the buildings there in 1751 and 1773. Antigua was the capital of Guatemala before they moved the capital to Guatemala City in 1776. 

These men are playing the marimba which is the national instrument of Guatemala. My mom remembers marimbas being played at major events like weddings and my oldest son thought the musicians did a great job. It's pretty amazing how well they play and how they all coordinate with each other. 
One of the highlights of the trip for me was climbing a volcano! I wish we had gone closer than we did but it was definitely a hike to even get up to where I was in this picture, you can see the actual "peak" behind me. We climbed the volcano Pacaya which is an active volcano and one of over 20 volcanoes that Guatemala has.
Another highlight of the trip was getting to meet or reconnect with family. My kids met some cousins they had never met before and had a major blast playing with them. They played Uno and Rock, Paper Scissors, Splits and easily enjoyed each other despite not speaking the same language. It was so cool to watch. 
This next picture pretty much sums up most of the trip. After Antigua, we went to the Pacific Ocean and stayed in a resort on the beach. We played in the waves and loved the black sand. Then we went to a resort that had an amusement park and a waterpark and amazing pools. And after that we went to Lake Amatitlan and stayed at Santa Teresita that had thermals pools heated from the volcano. It was like swimming in a bath and it was lovely. 
At the end of our trip, we stayed in Guatemala City where we experienced some of the city life there. We walked to their big mall which was huge and gorgeous and had a Starbucks! I did miss my Starbucks while I was in Guatemala so I was excited to get to enjoy a Frappuccino there. They actually have a Churros Frappucino which was excellent. 
I'm sure I'll be sharing more pictures and stories from our trip but I'm so filled up with even more love in my heart for Guatemala than ever before and was so excited to at least share some of the highlights. I already can't wait to go back!

Do you have a favorite vacation or traveling memory?
Where did you go? What did you do?
I would love to hear about it!