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Obama Cholo October 26, 2008

Posted by alwaysjan in Art, Politics.
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My friend Angela had this poster on her front door, and it was love at first sight (a primera vista). She told me her hairstylist, David Cordova, had made it which led to an after school jaunt through the winding hills above Eagle Rock to meet him. He had an Obama event that night, and his supply was running dangerously low, but I bought four posters at $5 a pop ($10 at the event!) and was ecstatic.

David said he came up with the idea for the poster because many Latinos are still hesitant to vote for an African American (the brown vs. black issue that I’ve encountered in my own classroom over the years – though less so lately). But according to a front page story in the Los Angeles Times today, a growing number of Latino voters argue that anyone who has faced discrimination would be good for all minorities. Besides, for most voters, it’s no longer a white, black, or brown issue, or even a red or blue one. It all comes down to green – it’s the economy.

David said he took some of the color out of Obama’s skin, added the Mexican day laborer bandana, and the classic cholo shirt. Que milagro! Barack gone barrio. This way Latinos can see that Obama is not so very different from themselves.

I have to admit that in the poster, Obama looks surprisingly like the Mexican cook who works back in the kitchen at the local sushi bar. So in that sense, Obama Cholo (as David refers to him) IS every man – at least in Los Angeles.

Acronyms Are Da Bomb October 26, 2008

Posted by alwaysjan in Language, Teaching.
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1 comment so far

I’ve recently rejoined the living after a 21-day Teacher Cold, so I’m tempted to say that ASAP stands for Antibiotics Sudafed And Prednisone, but that could be the meds talking. 

Forget Navajo code talk.  When I was growing up my father was a master of acronyms.  My brother and I often qualified as a PITA (Pain In The Ass), a distinction we still proudly claim.  So it’s only natural that I introduce my students, most of them English Language Learners (ELLs to civilians), to the English language’s many acronyms – some which are endemic to a certain third-grade classroom.  

When I first taught my students that FYI means For Your Information and ASAP means As Soon As Possible, you’d have thought they’d deciphered the Rosetta Stone.   My students know the difference between 12 o’clock noon and 12 o’clock midnight because at noon it turns to pizza munching time and Cinderella had to be home at midnight.  My personal favorite is XYZ, which I explain in a hushed tone of voice, means “eXamine Your Zipper.” The boys particularly appreciate this snide aside and quickly zip up.

This year we have a new math program that my students are less than enthusiastic about.  I got tired of their disgruntled mutterings every day when it was time to pull out the math book, so I christened it Da BOMB (The Big Old Math Book).  Now when I say it’s time for math, I simply tell them to take out Da BOMB. When we’re done with the lesson, they “diffuse” Da BOMB and put it back in their desk.  Hey, it keeps me entertained, and if the teacher ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

If you’ve got a problem with that, you need to MYOB (Mind Your Own Business).  When a student from two years ago came up to me the other day and discreetly whispered “XYZ,” I knew my work was done.  My kids might not be able to tell you what NCLB means, but even if their scores aren’t up, their zippers are.  Since they’re only in third grade, I spare them KISS and they can figure out IRS (or in some cases INS), when the time comes.  

If you’d like to decipher cryptic text messages, or catch a glimpse of the English Language which is evolving as I write this, you can go to the Urban Dictionary and find more information than you ever wanted or needed to know.  WTF?  But that’s IMO.

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