Express Yourself

Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
--Dr. Seuss

Monday, March 2, 2015

Martha Martinez, Adrian, Omaly Posts

I wanted to dedicate this post to a very cheery, supportive and kind person name Omaly.  I have known and worked with Omaly for probably around 11 years now.  She was my daughter's fourth grade teacher.  My daughter loved being in her class.  We worked together yesterday.  She told me that today would be her birthday and I forgot until a few hours ago.  So then I decided to devote this post to her and publish her first draft of some beautiful Spanish poetry that she enthusiastically wrote along side 4th grade students.  I always have believed that if we model enough of our own writing in front of our students we become their mentor. Omaly does this with great enthusiasm.  Bubbling over with such excitement and pride, Omaly told me what joy it gave her to share her heart with her students through her love of writing poetry.  She must have felt pretty good about what she wrote because she shared with me and her closest friends.  Her joy was contagious yesterday.  She told me that it is a work in progress.  I love to witness the process.  I introduce to you Omaly 1st poem:

En Otoño

por Omaly Sandoval

En otoño el viento juega libremente con las hojas de los árboles.
Una inmensa alfombra de tonos marrones, amarillos y rojos se apoderara de todo.
Los árboles quedan desnudos a la espera del frió invierno.
En otoño, el clima cambia.
Las nubes se entristecen, y el sol decide invernar para entrar fresco y reluciente al comienzo de la primavera.
En otoño los días son cortos.
Las noches largas.
Estrellas, miles de estrellas, pequeñas luces brillantes en el cielo azul profundo,
resplandecen, iluminan, alumbran, dan vida al firmamento azul oscuro.
Estrellas que brillan y brillan y no dejan de brillar.
Nos permiten recordar que aunque el sol descansa a lo lejos, ellas nos acompañan y velan nuestros sueños.

fresco otoño!
Otoño brillante, colorido y alegre.

Frio otoño!
Otoño triste, lejano e indiferente.
Otoño, te espero con ansias.
Te extraño, te añoro, te pienso.
Me recuerdas emociones inexplicables.
Me ilusionas, me iluminas, me inspiras.
Llega, estaciónate frente a mí. No me dejes.
Permíteme entender tu magia.
Celebra junto a mí! Invítame a reír!

otoño fresco,
otoño frio, inigualable, perturbador!
Alegría de muchos, tristeza de otros!

No me imagino si ti!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Football Anyone?

Anyone out there love the NFL and in particular Fantasy Football or The Gridiron Challenge?  Do you watch ESPN incessantly for inside information regarding the latest stats, injuries and possible sleepers? Do you care more about who scores the touchdowns than who wins?  Do you check your smart phone or tablet more than 5 times on Sunday and Monday night?  If you said yes to most of the questions above, then you might just be addicted.

I count myself as one of the above.  I am a part of a league called The Gridiron Challenge from ESPN.  We have 7 in our illustrious group named Crazed Lunatics. It is a quite a fun way to watch the NFL. It also gives me excusesto channel surf multiple NFL games, to see how certain QBs, RBs, Wide Receivers, Tight Ends, Kickers and a Defense are doing.  I usually pick Peyton Manning as my QB, along with Drew Brees because they usually throw multiple touchdowns.  Each person that you pick, who scores touchdowns, earns 6 points.  The defense's scores by fumbles, interceptions, sacks and touchdowns too. I am not sure of the formula for it.  I usually pick the defense, based on how many points they hold the opposing team to and how many turnovers and sacks that they accumulate.  You can actually score 20 points or more on defense alone, on any given Sunday.

I am the owner and am given a certain amount of money to spend on players for the week.  I cannot spend more than what I have.  Then I have to decide who  really will give me the most potential for points.  The better players cost more money than the not so great ones.  I put a premium on quarterbacks.  They really control who gets the ball or not.  It also depends if my players are playing on the road or at home.  Drew Brees is money in the Dome, as Peyton Manning is at Mile High in Denver.  I also consider the defense that they will face, along with potential match ups.  If Derrell Rivas is healthy, then I won't necessarily pick the wide receiver that will battle with him.  Chances are that that receiver won't be catching any passes that day unless the receiver is Megatron.  Megatron or Calvin Johnson didn't do so great this week.  Revis got hurt early on in the game against Megatron, but Calvin wasn't targeted enough by his QB.  I kept telling his quarterback Mathew Stafford to throw it to Megatron, but I guess he couldn't hear me.  So I didn't do so well this week.  Originally, before I heard the forecast for Gillette Stadium, I had Peyton, Demarius Thomas and Knowshon Moreno.  I changed it up today, after watching Countdown on ESPN. I thought that with winds in excess of 25 mph, that Peyton's passes wouldn't be on the mark. It was also supposed to be 5 degrees Farenheit at kickoff.  This game, in my opinion, wouldn't be an normal aerial spectacular show from Peyton or Tom Brady because of the wind and cold.  I should have considered the run game and selected Moreno as one of my runningbacks. I thought that they would have to ground and pound the ball.  Instead, I picked a lower priced Ivory from the Jets and I earned only one point! That was a great oversight on my account.   The last three weeks I chose some phenomenal players and they did very well. I have San Francisco 49ers tomorrow for my defense.  I hope they show up in a formidable way in Washington, D.C.   We will see.

I have played this Grid Iron Challenge for about 5 years and each year I recruit more of my friends to play this fun game with me.  Most of the people who play  in my league are women.  We know our football.  We have a few guys who pick too.  Right now I am in first place and another women is in second, with a guy in trailing us in third.  Not too bad, right?

Even though I didn't pick Peyton or any Broncos this week, I am still watching the battle between the Broncos and Patriots on Sunday Night Football.  I am happy to say that Denver is winning 24-7.  The Patriots haven't taken care of the ball in the first half.  I hope the Broncos win this one.  I want Peyton Manning to go to another Super Bowl and win his second ring.

So as my Sunday comes to an end, I  will watch over the highlights and pay attention to injuries and stats.  Who is hot and who is cold?  Knowing this information will, I hope, help me to pick some great players and teams. I thought about putting Phillip Rivers on my team this week but went with Brees instead.  Rivers went off on the KC Chiefs. Brees didn't do bad but played on the road.  I need to check where he will be playing next week. Gridiron Challenge is something fun to do and converse about on Monday mornings with my Crazed Lunatic friends.  I can't wait until next week. Uh-oh, the Patriots just scored again!  This one might be a nail biter!

Adrian's Poem in Spanish

Adrian's mother sent me the poem he is working on in Spanish.  I wanted to post it in the wild.  Some people believe that only the typed version or most perfect version should be published.  I see some merit in that argument, but I respectfully disagree.  I think there is great value in studying and seeing the process of writing.  I consider seeing his raw notebook version and discovering the thinking behind his draft priceless.  To me, it is a masterpiece in action.  So I have decided to release his writer's notebook version before the typed version.  It is similar to hearing a singer "unplugged" and live.  I know I love the unplugged and raw versions more than the totally polished versions because I want to know what happened along the way and how things finally came together.  Certainly there is great value in seeing the polished version and seeing the process as well.  I believe you can learn so much from the process and the final product.  Each tells the story and surely we can learn from both.  So here you will see his drafting of the Spanish version. Notice how he was going to write about his team but then focuses in on the umpire.  It would be interesting to find out why he switched from one topic about beisbol (baseball) to another.  I liked that he focused on the arbitro (umpire).  That is original.   I may also publish his finished product.  I hope you enjoy!  I love to see student work.  It is great to peer into the thinking and writing of young, brilliant minds.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Persuasive Writing Resource via

I just received this email from Gretchen Bernabei. I know some of you read this blog and may be looking for resources for English I and II  STAAR Writing Resources.  This information may help you.  I copied and pasted this from the email that she sent out.  I hope this helps.

I went to her workshop in October in Houston and highly recommended it to all educators.  It was informative, collaborative and encouraging.  You really don't want to miss out on Gretchen's workshops.

Trail of Breadcrumbs, LLC
Exclusive Fall Savings!
Hi Friends,

STAAR  Persuasive Writing Packet Posted
Know any STAAR English II re-testers?  Or any teachers working with them?  We have just loaded help for you.  It's a packet of live essays by Texas students, persuasive essays which all scored 8 on the 2013 English II STAAR.  Download it here.

If you also need the English I packet, you can download it here. It's loaded with STAAR score-point-8 expository essays from Texas ninth graders.

Feel free to pass this on to anyone, in the spirit that the more we know, and the more we share, the stronger we all become.

October Sold-Out STAAR Workshops to be Repeated in January
Did you miss the October workshop?  Because of the overwhelming response, we'll be offering repeats of the Fun-Size Academic Writing STAAR Workshop in January in three Texas locations, including Houston, Dallas, and Austin.  For details, please visit  

Have a great Thanksgiving and warm holidays,

Martha Martinez-Mentor and Friend

Mentor and Friend Martha Martinez

There are certain people in our lives that really make the difference.  Sometimes it might be a kind word, listening ear or a simple act of kindness.  At other times it may be an encouragement, words of wisdom or laughter through some tears.  I can say that this is what one of my models and mentors has done for me.  In sharing this post I hope to encapsulate all that she has done for me professionally, personally and inspirationally.

 Her name is Martha Martinez and I have known her for 16 years. What can I say about her?  She is truly someone who has made an immense difference in the lives of those she touches.  She has a great passion for our children, bilingual or not.  Her desire is that all students are successful in all that they decide to persue from pre-k to adulthood.  I can say that she also cares deeply for all educators.  She has supported numerous teachers in bilingual, esl and mainstream classrooms for years.  I am one of them.

 I remember my first year at HBE.  She had come to staff develop us in the area of reading and writing.  She showed us how we could learn from mentor texts and share that learning with our students.  I remember her sharing some imagery using Owl Moon.  Every time I read Owl Moon I think of Martha and Pat Millerick. I invited Martha into my classroom.  She came into watch me do a lesson using mentor text.  I don't think it was such a great lesson. I was trying out what she showed me but I used text that was too complex for the task.  I knew things weren't going well in the lesson but Martha stayed there watching and writing me the nicest note.  She applauded me for trying new things.  I know that she could have really pounced on me because it was a flop of a lesson.  Martha didn't do that.  Instead she encouraged me to keep working hard and continue being a risk taker.  I really appreciated that.  I continued to grow as teacher of writing, under her tutelage. That was 16 years ago

Fast forward to the last 7 years. Martha and I have collaborated on many projects involving Science and Literacy. We presented at state conferences too.  Then we conducted staff developments involving writing. Martha loves to write and so do I.  She is truly my bilingual kindred spirit. We are bilingual pairs!  It has been such a thrill working and staff developing teachers with her. I have learned so much from her.
Because of her influence, I want to continue to work very hard for all students and teachers.  She has a heart for biliteracy.  She has taught me to be proud of being a bilingual/biliterate person and educator.

Now it is time for Martha to pursue other interests.  She has some beautiful grandchildren to celebrate and visit.  I hope that, after a while, she will have a little time to listen to some ideas rolling around in my head and help me out with some problems that may arise.  I need her support and wise words of encouragement. What is that saying?  We stand on the shoulders of giants or something like that?  For me, Martha has been and will continue to be that gentle, inspirational, angelic giant.  I stand firm on her experiences, passion, and love for learning!  Mil gracias Martha! Te voy a extranar muchisimo!  Great things come from El Paso!  You are appreciated so much and may not realize all the people you have touched in your life.  You definitely have a huge impact in mine! Thanks!

Student Poet Adrian

It is my pleasure to introduce to you Adrian Isaaccura.  He is a student poet who enjoys playing baseball.  He wanted to share his poem with you.  He told me that he did this for a classroom assignment.  He wanted to make it a free verse poem with some repetition.  I will interview him in a video sometime soon.  His mother, who is a close friend of mine, showed me his poem.  She was very proud of his work too!  So, without further adieu, let me introduce to you, Adrian's poem!  Enjoy!
Proud Poet Adrian Isaaccura

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What To Post?


My mind is
like the color
on a cold, dark
kinda day

halted firmly
at the door
no entrance
nothing more than


To write
give in?
the urge
to purge
my mind
so so

inch by
the dismal obscurity
my soul
some semblance
ya know?
sort of
quite possibly

no meaning
no words
to the lowest

split second
something down

Fort Knox-like

my being

let it fly
give some more

side door left


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