On today’s blog, I share my conversation with Author & educator Silvana Spence had on my podcast last January. She’s got a great energy and I loved our conversation. Check it out below.
You’re listening to the cultural curriculum chat, the podcast that specializes in multicultural education and classroom strategies. I’m your host, Jebeh Edmunds, let’s get started.
JE: Welcome, everyone to the cultural curriculum chat in our guest here today is a wonderful energetic author, mom and stream extraordinaire, Miss SIL, Spence. And just a little background about Silvana Spence, she’s originally from Brazil. She’s an author, like I said, Mom, presenter, and educator who resides in Jacksonville, Florida. With her two daughters, Victoria is portrayed as a character, and Isabella is the co author of her book, Bala, the scientist goes to outer space. She holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education in E S. O L endorse and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. So welcome to the guest chair. So I’m so excited to have you hear
SIL:Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited too
JE:Oh, thank you. Thank you. So Tell us still I love your story. Can you share with our audience, you know, your love of multicultural education, especially interwoven with STEM in your background?
SIL:Yes, my love is started a long time ago, because I started teaching back in Brazil. And I was teaching is all English. as a second language. For me, it’s very important to incorporate your culture and everybody’s culture into your teaching. So that way, everybody feels valued, you know, and they can be more interested in what you’re teaching in what you are doing. And they can participate more. So with this stamp, I have two beautiful girls, as you read over there, they the world to me, and I try to make sure that every activity that we do, it’s engaging, and hands on, and nothing better than science to make things hands on, because science is just a beautiful combination of reading, and hands on experiences. And some of math too, because you have to use measurements and things. Right. So every summer that were together, I tried to make sure that we had educational activities to do for them to be busy and things like that. So we were always doing science experiments. And that’s when they stem was big. So why would they just pick science experiments, I would pick based on their interest. So it’s not something that I impose to them. It’s something that they were already interested in doing. So I would just pretty much kind of cater to what to their interests. And because I also loved it, it was just a beautiful combination. Right? So then we started doing it on Instagram, we did some stories, we didn’t really post on the page when they first started with Bella and VK. But if you go on down the scientists Instagram, you scroll all the way down and you can see a video of the two of them when they were very little, you know, Bella with her squeaky voice like Ambassador scientist picture that we would require everywhere doing things just really poor fun, right, and we will post and sharing, they would dress up in a really like a fun thing. And then it turned into the fun thing, turning to an idea. And the idea turned into a book
JE:That is so neat, and how you and your dad or co authored it. And your second daughter is the main character and just as a family dream come into fruition and following your story and you know, going to your events, your book events that you have with your daughter dressed up like astronauts, that’s just, she’s gonna look back in this moment in her life and just say, Wow, I did this with my mom and I tip my hat to you. That’s amazing.
SIL: What he’s very hard. But I think if we put effort into making good memories we can do. We don’t need a whole lot of shebang before you can, let’s put on it to make beautiful memories, you know, with the ones who mall and I really try to make sure that I do that with my students in my classroom. And I try to make sure that I do with my own children too, because they look at stuff in the classroom that I do with my students. And I can see sometimes they feel kind of little heavy hearted because their teacher doesn’t do that. And then I just explain well, we are So I end up on a different grade level. I have younger children. And I don’t have as much or stress of a testing grade level as your professors, your teachers, because I have one for us right now. And the other one is in high school sophomore. So I said, so things are not going to be coming like that. So they’re like, Well, we really love coming to your class mama. And this time, I usually have a gingerbread house, that I put it together. Every December, I had a couple of parents that donated their house to meet anyone was amazing, because I kind of stood the idea out there, it was like four years ago. And I said, I would love to have a gingerbread house for the kids to go inside and readable. Together.
JE:Oh, that’s awesome.
SIL:And then one day, they came in with this huge house that can fit two or three grown ups inside. And they had like a whole intricate, you know, that’s pure extender house. And, and I kept the house and I took care of the house. Obviously yours is made out of cardboard. But I think the house, it’s all about memories for the kids, the kids look at the house is just like a whole world of magic happens to them. And that’s how I love when the kids come into my room. And then she turned to me and she and my daughter turned to me Isabella and said, well, the gingerbread house is gonna stay here. You stays here every year after you losing the gingerbread for the kids. I say Yeah, usually I transform the house. He says no house, you know,
SIL:Yeah. And then she said, I would like to take the house home this year. And I was like, okay. Oh, X her fondness and Egypt trip, when you should probably gingerbread house home. Oh, sorry. That we were off. You know, the same Friday, I said, I’m putting this house together today had never been or will never get reconstructed.
JE:Oh, yeah, there.
SIL:Oh, she has a little friend coming over, say your friend halberd likes to get up. And she wants a happy camper inside the gingerbread house with her friend and she leaves. There’s some things inside of us that never goes up. We just need somebody to kind of motivate you to just leave that kid that never dies will side of us if we don’t hold on to that, because sometimes we suppress it. Because you know, the world really requires so many things and so many changes in our behavior. And he was feeling that grandpa wanted to go in the house.
JE:Oh, I love that
SIL:I’m not so willing to go in the house. Yes, we have that inside. And we just need kind of a little bush. Redo and at junction feel that to sell when it comes to as educators, we need that little push to step outside of our comfort zone and invite all kinds of different authors like yourself in different perspectives in science, technology, reading, math arts, because I feel like in this space and even following you, in your diverse dream books that you selected
JE:Can you tell us more about how you can give us educators as adults, that kid energy to pursue this work?
SIL:I will tell you based on how I get it. No, thank you for what I didn’t have what I dreamed to have in a classroom based on sources that I can get by the world I don’t believe in working alone. Why? Because this may make us really hard. So somebody or a group of people that we believe in your idea to make things easier for you. They will always have that teacher that people call the crazy teacher Yeah, that will say that will be like come on. Let’s do this. And they will help you put the house back together because alcohol does something to this year was a little different than the other past years that I usually had like a whole transformation happening and just to hear and that will just feel my cup or water or to the grace lead that
JE:Oh we need that.
SIL:We need that because so much is required from us and so much is taken from us so much is taken and nothing is replenished. So since we choose joy does replenish in and we feel our cup being on the right help that it’s this one of the components that helps at You know, when the parents also chip in and appreciate you, and admin, appreciate it and your co workers, it’s a group of it’s a combination of things to keep us going in this profession. Right? So I for me is like, I want the kids to fuel the women in walk through my door. It’s a world of one there is like, I have no manpower, right? To make these into these little world and other teachers or their naysayers. You don’t need all that for the kids to heart. Maybe I mean, yes, yes, maybe our motivation to come in and steal that I am in a world of wonder. So I can make them feel in a world of wonder if they can find out somebody, just one person that believes that is your go to, that will put it together, whatever transformation, whatever house, the whatever idea that you have, or don’t tied to that person and work with it, you know, so you can stay in the professional, a little longer, right? Because we can get the score, as you know, realistically speaking, yes. So for me is like, it’s important to be hands on, it’s important to have a combination of things so they can learn because it’s a lot of things that we need to teach in one day or absorb. So they need experiences, that they can relate to the real world. And if we can provide those experiences in those activities in a fun and beautiful way, why not? We might need a little bit of more work. But it will bring all of us a lot of joy and great language that we will never forget.
JE:I love that so and you do need that colleague, or that teacher team that re energizes you to fill your cup as well. Yeah. When you touched on that, you know, teachers do we take a lot of, you know, the stressors with the job, the expectations, the grade levels, we need them and the objectives we need our students to attain. But we also get depleted and like you said, you need some that’ll get us our cup filled for two quarters just to keep us going and if you see another colleague that is depleting you’re like oh, I got something to fill with you fill your cup to you know,
SIL:That’s needed because we work with humans. Yes, people you know, we work with people, but we are people there’s always going to other teachers they’re gonna be grumpy and say you’re just giving yourself more work. That if we don’t have those teachers, they’re saying, That’s not you. Yes, that’s not you. People this sorry, I got the notion in life that heavy so I had one of them continue said. You have to do what makes your heart spin. Hmm That for me and the way she said it was so sweet and what we need so much in teaching teachers are becoming so port forward with so much of the stuff that beat us down so much and we get 30 on each other sometimes. Where you’re supposed to be charged to support so then she turned to me and said, because the other one said what happened is here with you. I haven’t seen your class decorated and I haven’t seen anything outside. I said I’m depressed. Yeah. People with those sweet and kind voices that come to insane you know what, even if your kids don’t behave, even if your parents don’t appreciate you, too, what makes your hearts make out so often too.
JE:are not just thinking or feeling that they ever
SIL:And told her. Oh, I need to go get the house today. I only have today because the house is just gonna be here for two days. Because usually when I know Christmas is coming, Thanksgiving is over. My entire class is already alter Yes. Oh, yeah, I would bring a good friend and I needed a push. I need one to kind of motivate me. Because all the heavy voices have just shot, no. Too much work, or other negativity. It touched me so much that I kind of started to become introverted. And when I’m not even introverted, right, but then these two people said what happened? I had one that is like all over it was what happened? Why is this though? So I turned to the other ones that listen, you come with me to the storage business, you have the audacity to change your mind? Yeah. of it. And like we brought in, we quickly put everything together because I’m perfect. Because it’s not really complicated. So so. So we put it together, I organized the tables. And I already had activities that were made copies I already had, because I played a urine head.
JE:Oh, yes. Especially with the jobs I can get your stuff ready, open there. And
SIL:That’s all I had to do was to put it on the table, and five centers for the kids. That’s it. And just open the door and let them in.
JE:And I bet that major heart to sing. It’s like you need that message at that time to go, Wow. I also need to fulfill my heart to sing and tune in to see the eyes of wonder, like you said in your students eyes and search makes it worth it each
SIL:Because of joy. I teach because I love children. And I love to make children happy. Yes. Why I teach in this way teach little kids?
JE:Yes. And you also know how to sell the responsibility. We as educators are putting in that future human workforce, they’re going to come back to you when they’re adults. They go wow, I remember that gingerbread house. I remember doing this Senator with you. And, you know, I feel like even with the late Maya Angelou, I remember when I was going into undergrad and teaching in grad school was when she said they’ll never remember all the lessons, but they’ll remember how you made them feel. And that was my biggest motivator as being a teacher in the classroom. Well, wow, you know, I can do the best lesson I can. But how did it make that student feel? Did I make them feel welcomed? Did it make them feel seen and valued? That’s when I knew I did my job? You know?
SIL:Yes. What? I remember when I had a parent conference, I talked to the parents and I said, I am not here to disappear. I will don’t do that. And they looked at me like you are crazy. I said you might think that I’m crazy. I might be but I’m just saying I don’t want to do that. Because then they don’t want to come here. And they don’t want to spend a good day with me. I want to have fun with your kids. I won’t teach them of course, academics and set great members. That’s just really what I’m Yeah. So you do that part.
JE:You do that part? You are that parent? Exactly. Let me be the teacher off. I like this, Sal. I love it. I love it. I love it. So here’s a couple questions before we get ourselves going some more share with me to have strategies that educators can do to continue this stream. You know science, technology, reading engineering, arts and math. What strategies do you have for us educators out there in space
SIL:Child, have the parents to donate things to you household ICT, paper towel, tubes, everything that you can think that you can build, of course, you’re not going to just have random stops by you’re going to look in your pacing guide. And you’re going to see according to the standards that you have in your county, what are you teaching, for example, if you’re teaching forces in motion and things like that, and it’s a cool thing to make, we made a car, right? And so we made a car out of plastic water bottle, and we had the axles and they were in the wheels. I had the parents I had a little wish list from Amazon and the parents donated, right. If you are in a neighborhood the parents can’t do that. So you just ask them for the household items. If you have little wooden sticks that you want to caps you know what a bottle caps, you can just throw a rolls through that And that can turn into the axle and the wheels of the car that you need in your water, and cardboard and things like that. So you just need to be very resourceful. And think of resources that parents that do not have the means to purchase things that they can contribute to your classroom, you know, in somehow that you can put it together and help each child to have a kit for them to build their car. Right. So that is one thing. So just, you know, use the village that you use the resources that you have from the village that you can, and be aware of the village like to have the economics, the status of that village, so then they can actually help you and us, Donors Choose us, you know, places that they can donate to us grants that they can donate to your class, so you can have the resources that you need in order to make these fun activities with the kids. Right. So I think that is like you look at your pacing guide, you look at, you know, what are the standards that you’re going to be teaching, and then you look at the resources that you have, and what you will need, you put that together and you’ll make it happen with the kids, because that way your kids are learning in the hands on manner. And then the manner that they are understanding process thinking, you know, creating, thinking, all the parts for a stamp will be there, all the standards for stem will be there. And they will never forget, I forgot when my godmother helped me build a castle. Right out of that it wasn’t cardboard, but it was a paper poster that is ready to rock up paper poster that was already pink. So I just had to call a few details to make the details of the castles, because I used to read a whole lot.
SIL:And she used to really nurture that reading with me soft, you know, fairy tales, and things like that. And then she brought these resources and we put that together with tape. Right? So this is one of the things I did in my class, I had tape. And we were going over a unit that was about technology. And it was technology at work. So I said we want to make a robot, you know, kind of like a robot, he was not going to move, but let’s do this, I am able to write everything together. So they had to do an expository writing, telling me explain to me what kind of robot they would do. And what would the robot do to help people what kind of skills would them home robot has, and then they would have to draw the robot and the robot that they would draw on their riding driver. And they would have to use looking like that. So um, for them to do that they had to bring or soda cans or word sparkling water can whatever, you know, can they could bring, and they brought it and they’d be like that. And it was really, really right. And they were really excited. So then the next piece would be a little more expensive because to make the robot move, right. And they said, You know what, you can make the robot move in your house with your parents, if you really want to do that. Right? I didn’t run
JE:a real extension lesson to for them to go in and do that
SIL:project to do that at home with their parents. And that is is a life lesson and memory that they are building with the parents. In the past one of the parents turned to me and said, You know, when they were talking about reading at night, that they were just going real over it really quickly because they were tired and things like that. And then he turned to me and said, Well, when we changed the way we were doing things. And because they are twins, we had each a time with them. And I was asking them questions. And it was good, not just for the improving their comprehension, but was a great quality time that we had together, basically, so you can have memories with your children while you’re helping them learn.
JE:Yes, I just love how you touched on still the parental involvement by contributing whatever they can economically, whatever they can to bring to the teacher and then also contributing their time with their child after school that I feel is so important that grudging stream stem technology, all of that component in school and at Hall is a simpler bridge than we actually think about you know, even with my two boys. I used to call it Edmonds camp.
As a teacher mom you get it often got them all summer so we got to make it work right. summer camps, the whole summer camp and you know two boys and they’re busy boys and I just remember my youngest would just be crying. I don’t want to do Edmonds camp but then when you put mental same that in the soda pop in the backyard. Oh, this is fun. What can we do next one was trying to experiment are we going to do next mom? So things like that I like what you’ve shared already. So it’s simple, but it’s these memories that you’re creating with your kids. You know, that is so important as an educator, and as a parent, this is just great, great knowledge. Oh, my goodness, thank you so much. So, yes, you tried to tell your kids what are your needs that Tomorrow is not promised.
SIL:So we have to do our best for the time that we spend together with the chapters. So as we never know when is the last when we can make sure that every moment that we are together is a great.
JE:Before we go, so can you share with our audience where they can find you online?
SIL:You can find me on Mises.s4success on Instagram and is the same thing on tick tock. But I would say more Instagram, because I’m there more often. In Bella, the scientist on Instagram.
JE:So I ordered your book Bell, the scientist, I cannot wait. Because on my show to on my YouTube channel, I do book reviews of bipoc authors like yourself and so to showcase to get more of your copies in our classrooms so they can see that representation.
SIL:Yes, they appreciate the invitation.
JE:Oh, thank you.So I had a wonderful time with you on the show. And yes, thank you so much for listening to the cultural curriculum chat. Feel free to like and share and subscribe this episode with a another teacher or parent who is interested in Sam with our students. And thanks again. Sil, I will have all of your information in our show notes so our audience can follow your journey as well. So thanks again, everyone and have a good one.