Monday, February 10, 2014

Multicultural Reflections for EDU 639

I'm deviating from my usual Mommy-and-son posts to create a multi-media Guidance for one of my online classes: EDU 639. Even if you're not one of my students, I hope you enjoy the insight :-)


For our final week of class, there will only be one discussion forum assignment, initial response due on Thursday. You will also have your final paper, Reflection, due by Monday. Please remember, this assignment is worth 20 points, almost a quarter of your entire class grade. The required elements are clearly listed in the assignment instructions. You can also glean some additional insight from the Grading Rubric, so please take a moment to read through it. Also, please remember I will not accept assignments beyond the last day of class. Plan your time accordingly.

Weekly Objective:

By week’s end, you will be able to:

Synthesize and reflect on learning and real-world applications. 


Diversity in American schools includes race and ethnicity, gender, language, sexual orientation, culture, religion, social class (income), new immigrants, learning styles, and abilities/disabilities. Many students and their families possess a rich combination of several of these characteristics. Each of us fits somewhere in this wonderful mosaic; each of us is multicultural in our own unique way.”

~Wardle, 2013, “Ch 1 Introduction”

Over the past six weeks, we have applied teaching techniques and strategies that incorporate respect for various cultures, illustrated socio-historical impacts on language and culture in education, considered the contemporary contexts of prejudice, examined educational practices of the school system as it relates to different groups, and justified the importance of parent and community involvement in the school (Student Guide, EDU 639, Ashford University).

To reflect on these aspects of multicultural education, I’ve reviewed some of the resources that have left a lasting impression on me, both as an educator and as a learner.
I would like to open up with this very inspiring video from the "Kids React" YouTube series in which students are asked about biracial families:

"Out of the mouths of babes" doesn't even begin to describe these amazing children! I could quote so many of their innocently poignant responses but I'll let you watch for yourself!

To share some of my favorite multicultural education quotes from our course readings, I created an eMazing Presentation:

Multicultural Education Reflections

I hope you enjoyed reading some of these timeless words that all teachers should strive to emulate! If there are any quotes from our course materials you feel are timeless, please take a moment to share them in the comments below!

To close this week's Guidance, I compiled some of my favorite inspirational quotes in a Prezi Presentation:

Inspiring Change

Thank you for taking this inspiring, transformational journey with me!

Warm regards,


Horton, M., & Freire, P. (1990). We make the road by walking: Conversations on education and social change. Temple University Press. 

Ovando, C. J. & Combs, M. C. (2012). Bilingual and ESL classrooms: Teaching in multicultural contexts (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Pate, G. S. (1981). Research on Prejudice ReductionEducational Leadership,38(4), 288-91. Retrieved from

Wardle, F. (2013).Human Relationships and Learning in the Multicultural Environment.  San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.*This text is a Constellation™ course digital materials (CDM) title.



Sunday, February 9, 2014

How We Turned My Son's Room Into an "Epic" TMNT Room!

Ever since my baby shower, I knew I was going to be "one of those mothers" as I felt "theme-obsessed" cells coursing through my blood! We planned my entire shower around sea turtles, the theme I had chosen for my soon-t0-be-born son's nursery; which we only had the pleasure of enjoying for his first three months, as we had to move in with family shortly after his birth. Every birthday party since has embraced its own theme, reminiscent of my son's interests at that point in his life:

1st Birthday:    Trains
2nd Birthday:  Curious George
3rd Birthday:   Superheroes
4th Birthday:   Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

After living with family for my son's first three-and-a-half years of life, we finally found ourselves in our own home; and, he with his own room :-) I was so ecstatic to finally give my son his own space, I told him we would decorate his room however he wanted and here's what we came up with....the ultimate Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle room that my son describes as "EPIC"!

Before you even enter his room, you are greeted with a TMNT wall plaque:

Inside his room, we started with the bed. As a single mom, supporting our little family all on my own, I couldn't afford to buy him a new, or even used, bed, at the time. So, my niece (who gets credit for much of this room's inspiration) put together his crib minus one side, turning it into a Toddler bed. I didn't want to over do it - this was early in the planning stage and you'll see later why I'm glad I toned his bed down - so my niece bought him a TMNT comforter but I kept the sheets and pillow cases simple. I bought the pillow cases to correspond with each color of the Ninja Turtles: Orange for Michelangelo, Blue for Leonardo, Purple for Donatello, and Red for Raphael. Then, after months of searching and accumulating, we added the TMNT pillows to finish off his bed:


As an only child, he finds comfort in knowing he has four "turtle brothers" :-)


After his bed was all set up, I went to work on his changing table. Since I was no longer changing him, we now use his changing table as a book shelf/display case/listening center. My son has a love for books so I wanted reading to be an important part of the room design. Not only does he have his favorite books lined up on the bottom shelf of his changing table (the rest have found a home in our spare room, which my son endearingly calls "The Library"), he also has a TMNT CD player and a slew of books on CD, which provide hours of entertainment! Adorning the wall above are original elements from his nursery; a light-up moon, a metal sea turtle, and a hand-made wood sea turtle given to us by one of his older cousins:

I also created a little reading corner where my son can sit and quietly read his collection of TMNT books:


Then, of course, my son needed a dresser but instead of a traditional dresser, I wanted to personalize where we put his clothing so I bought a shelving unit. Not wanting it to topple over on him, I placed it on its side; we still get use of all eight sections but he now also has a play surface. My niece had the brilliant idea to use the TMNT masks that came with each set of toy weapons to decorate the bins we bought for his clothes. I staggered the bins and filled in the remaining squares with TMNT toys:


Once we got all the "necessities" out of the way, my son and I started on the d├ęcor and accessories! One of the first TMNT toys he got, aside from each of the turtles, was the Shellraiser, one of Donatello's many inventions. It has so many cool features that it keeps my son busy playing and using his imagination! Here he is demonstrating the kick feature:

Then, there's the Anchovy Alley Pop-up Pizza Play set! We love this play set because it reminds us of our favorite :-)


And, of course, we had to get the TMNT Secret Sewer Lair! It took me forever to put the darn thing together and mere seconds for my son to take it apart :-) We have staged many a fierce and epic battle on this play set! Here are some highlights:


He also has the TMNT Patrol Buggies:

Raphael's Stealth Bike:

And, a TMNT Dart Board:

...which can also be considered wall art! Speaking of wall art, the room's decorum fits the TMNT theme with posters and life-sized wall decals of each turtle:

Of all the TMNT-themed toys, accessories, and decorations in my son's room, my absolute favorite TMNT-themed item wasn't purchased in a store but rather captured in the brilliant imagination of my niece: she hand-painted a pair of plain slip-on shoes:

So, whether he's role-playing as Raphael with his "salad tongs" (that's another story :-)...

...or playing in his TMNT tent...

...or, battling his favorite villain, Spider Bytes... son is right at home in his Epic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle room...