January 2013 Archives

SSU Credential Candidate Roxana Leiva Explores and Exposes Salvadoran Immigrant Experiences with Exhibition 'Mourning and Scars: 20 Years after the War'

By Pamela Van Halsema on January 31, 2013 8:41 AM

Roxana Leiva

SSU Credential Candidate Roxana Leiva, 2012-2013 SOMArts Curator in Residence

Roxana Leiva, Single Subject Credential Program Candidate in Art and student teacher in the Art Quest program at Santa Rosa High School knows what it is like to be an immigrant. She has done it herself-- twice. First, she moved to Petaluma at the age of 13 from her homeland of El Salvador. She recalls the experience as terrible--an incredibly difficult cultural transition--and vowed that after she grew up and finished school she would move back to home country. After high school, she earned her B.F.A. in Art/Illustration and her M.A. in Latin American Art and Culture at Long Beach State University and then she followed her heart and returned to El Salvador. She had a great job at the Art Museum of El Salvador, and even worked as the project director to establish a government funded arts school for youth. She was making a difference in the lives of hundreds of children through her arts education program there, but after several years, Leiva felt a need to come back to California and be near family, so once again she became an immigrant.

Leiva recalls the culture shock she experienced both times she moved to the U.S., and how she felt out of place, and marginalized socially. Although she is Salvadoran, she was often referred to as Mexican, and she felt that people she interacted with didn't treat her as an educated woman. Even now, as a credential candidate at Sonoma State she says people that she meets and talks to often assume she is training to be a Spanish teacher, not an art teacher, just because she is from Latin America. Leiva is motivated to break through these stereotypes, and aims to work on building cultural understanding through teaching art and art history--both in the classroom and in the broader community. As an artist and an educator, Leiva understands that art is a powerful medium which can help express ideas and feelings and expose people to new ways of thinking about culture.

Leiva is on a career path for arts education, and realized her employment options would be much wider if she had a Single Subject Credential in art. As she looked for jobs in arts education both in non profits and in public schools, most required that she hold a credential.


Artists installing their work at SOMArts. Left to right: Leiticia Hernandez, Jan Carlos Mendizabal, Tessie Barrera-Scharaga and Rick Victor

In the Single Subject Program, students work directly with young people as they learn the teaching profession. Leiva's field site is the Art Quest program at Santa Rosa High School. She loves the program and the opportunity to work side by side with an experienced mentor teacher and share both art and art history with high school students.

At the same time she was starting the credential program, she decided to build on her graduate school research too. Continuing her exploration of art, culture and civil war in 1980s El Salvador, Leiva applied for and received a grant the SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco to be a Commons Curator in Residence. Her project, Mourning and Scars: 20 Years After the War presents new artwork by Salvadoran immigrant artists and exposes their life straddling two cultures 20 years after the signing the Peace Accords which ended civil war. Leiva hopes that the show, which opens on February 1 and runs through the end of the month, will be a catalyst for dialogue on ethical, political and cultural matters and that it will help the reconciliation process needed after experiencing trauma and war.

Mendizabal 'Black Butterfly'

Black Butterfly by Juan Carlos Mendizabal

The exhibit features work in a variety of media, including paintings, video, textile sculpture and large-scale multimedia installations by prominent contemporary artists, all immigrants from El Salvador, including Victor Cartagena, Carlos Rogel, Tessie Barrer-Scharaga and Juan Carlos Mendizabal and others.

Leiva wants the Sonoma State community to join in the dialogue too, and is partnering with The Hub, our on campus multicultural center, to host a panel discussion on February 28. Three noted cultural scholars Beatriz Cortez, Karina Zelaya, and Douglas Carranza will speak at the noon event. Leiva is exploring the possibility of bringing the art exhibition to Sonoma State next year as well.

The SOMArts Opening Reception for Mourning and Scars: 20 Years After the War will take place on Friday, February 1, from 6:00-9:00 PM. The event is free and open to the public. SOMArts is located at 934 Brannan St., San Francisco (between 8th and 9th streets). The exhibition will be on view through February 28. http://www.somarts.org/mourningopens/

Single Subject Program Candidate Franklin Matthews 'Went the Distance' to Reach His Goal of Becoming a Teacher

By Pamela Van Halsema on January 22, 2013 10:34 AM

Article written by SSU Student Melissa Marengo

Franklin Matthews

Franklin Matthews never thought he would one day become a teacher. At SSU during his undergraduate studies, he originally declared a business major. Eventually, he switched his major to Kinesiology where he began working as a basketball coach and personal trainer. Parents of kids that he was working with suggested to him that he become a Physical Education teacher because he seemed to work well with children and enjoy teaching them. He thought he would give it a try and began taking some pre-requisites for the credential program during his senior year in 2008.

He then took a brief leave of absence from the school and moved down to the Peninsula with his wife. Wanting to continue his schooling and get his teaching credential he went to San Jose State who would not accept his transfer credits. Instead of starting over with them, he spoke with Dr. Karen Grady here at SSU who encouraged him to do the program up in the North Bay, despite the long commute. Franklin said that all of his teachers worked around his schedule and his busy commute to allow him to get his credential and fulfill his dream of becoming a Physical Education teacher.

Franklin would commute by bus everyday from East Palo Alto to his classes in Rohnert Park. He got his student teaching opportunity at Petaluma High School, which he described as a "blessing in disguise". He was having a hard time finding a student teaching job and Petaluma High was his last hope. He said his experience there was great and he learned a lot about full inclusion for all students. During his time in the credential program what he learned most was classroom management, the importance of gaining student respect and understanding, and developing strong relationships with your students that will leave a lasting impact on their lives.

With the help of all of his professors and fellow students at SSU, Franklin was able to graduate from the Single Subject Credential Program for Physical Education and is now working with kids in the South Bay. Franklin works at a non-profit organization which partners with Stanford University called East Palo Alto Tennis and Tutoring. He works with about 25 students every other day after school as the High School Group Coordinator. He teaches them life experience as well as offers help with college applications. Franklin Matthews would like to thank Dr. Grady, Dr. Marker, Dr. Victor, and the entire Sonoma State faculty and staff for being so supportive and flexible with him through out his credential program experience. He says he would not have made it where he is today without them.

Ed Tech Tips: New Bi-weekly Series of Practical Tools and Advice for Teaching

By Pamela Van Halsema on January 18, 2013 2:30 PM

By Dr. Jessica K. Parker

keyboard with enter key

Welcome to the first in a series of biweekly Ed Tech Tips blog articles from the Sonoma State School of Education. In this platform we will share thoughts and practical advice on technology and ideas for how to use these tools and applications for good teaching practice.

Google Moderator
  • Totally frustrated because you can't get students to talk in class, or still trying to find a way to assess students' (mis)understanding of course content? Try using Google Moderator to have students respond to and post course-related questions before class. Students (and you) can mark the responses that are the most relevant with either a check mark or an "X"--this allows you to prioritize the ranked responses and promote student discussion based on the student-generated questions and responses. How cool, right! Here is an example from a panel presentation I was on--I used the posted questions to guide my talk.
Moodle 2: Tool Guide for Teachers
  • What Moodle resource or activity is good for assessing learning, co-creating content, or promoting communication and interaction? Use this Moodle 2 Guide to help you use Moodle tools such as the wiki, glossary, choice, lesson, and book resource in your course. Download or print this bad boy and post it on your office wall for all to see.
Advanced Power Searching
  • Feeling like Google's search engine just doesn't get you and your search terms? Well, you are in luck! Google Inc. is running a FREE Advanced Power Searching class that starts Jan 23rd. Not only will you be able to learn cool search strategies from "THE" search folks at Google, but you will also experience a MOOC. A MOOC is a massively open online course that Stanford, Google, and even the CSU are testing out these days. I enrolled in Google's first Power Searching class over the summer and had a blast.

Mary Collins Symposium Addresses Math Common Core Standards, Critical Literacy and Technology

By Pamela Van Halsema on January 16, 2013 12:25 PM

mary collins school symposium logo The teachers at Mary Collins School in Petaluma are dedicated to teaching as a profession, one which mentors new teachers and fosters professional growth for experienced ones through collaboration, research and study. Each semester the Multiple Subject Credential Program places teacher candidates at Mary Collins to gain valuable clinical experience from their staff of expert mentor teachers and the guidance from School of Education faculty supervisors and gain direct experience working with children in the elementary classroom.

In step with this belief that a continual learning process is key for professional growth, Mary Collins teachers host an annual Symposium on topics related to curriculum, teaching and learning. The Symposium is not just for their own staff but is open to educators in the North Bay community. Motivated by the belief that parents are key partners in student learning, they include a parent night in the Symposium schedule so parents can listen to presentations by the guest speakers and discuss these topics too.

This year will mark the 11th time they have hosted the Annual Mary Collins Symposium, which will take place on Saturday, January 26, 2013 and features presenters Dr. Vivian Vasquez and Dr. Patrick Callahan.

Dr. Callahan will focus on the changed expectations for mathematics instruction with the Common Core Standards, specifically two of the mathematical practices: "Constructing Viable Arguments and Critiquing the Reasoning of Others" and "Reason Abstractly and Concretely" and Dr. Vasquez will focus on critical literacy across the curriculum--specifically: critical literacy and technology-- and place based pedagogy.

Registration is $25 to attend the event, which includes lunch.  Registration is online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/308125

This a wonderful opportunity to network with teachers and educators from all across Sonoma County.