Diverse Books

12/14/2018 9:16 am

As another successful Book Fair winds down today, our students have no shortage of options of books to read, many of which will find their ways into gifts for those who celebrate gift-giving traditions at this time of year. Discovery’s Library and librarian, Mr. Re, and the Arlington Public Library are great resources for books promoting diversity and inclusion, but if you’re still on the search for that perfect gift for a reader or  are simply looking for things to read with your Explorer over the break, we wanted share some resources with you. If you have more to share, please email them to diversity@discoverypta.org, and we’ll be sure to include them on our website.



We Need Diverse Books: This site has book recommendations, resources for ways to find new books, and booktalking kits and support.



Picture Books Promoting Diversity & Inclusion: https://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2018/03/picture-books-promote-diversity-inclusion.html


Embrace Race: Children’s Books Recommendations






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Winter Holiday Traditions

12/14/2018 9:13 am

Winter Time Holiday Traditions

December is here! Can you believe it?! There’s something about this time of year that’s so special to adults and kids around the world. I’d love to share some holiday traditions and activities that you and your family could consider during this Holiday Season 😊 These are sure to bring joy to you and to others!


-Watch a holiday movie (Elf, It’s a Wonderful Life, or anything that makes you think of being a kid again)

-Donate a toy to a child at Children’s Hospital

-Have Hot chocolate and eat a special treat

-Dress up in colors that signify a special Holiday or tradition that you celebrate during this season

-Donate a present to Toys for Tots or donate winter clothing to an organization supporting others

-Read holiday stories to someone in a Retirement community or nursing home

-Make and decorate a special Holiday treat for your child’s teacher

-Watch a documentary about Holiday traditions celebrated around the world

-Read your child a book about Hanukah, Christmas, Diwali, Kwanza, or Eid Al Adha

-Write a letter wishing a service member Happy Holidays

-Wear holiday socks

-Make a snow globe (kits sold on Amazon and at many toy stores)

-Offer a homeless person a blanket or hot coffee

-Make a holiday board of activities and set a goal to participate in a specific amount of Holiday activities

-Spread holiday cheer at work

-Attend a play or recital

-Learn about the history of holidays you celebrate

-Take time to thank someone who has ever helped you in the past

-Listen to a song that makes you smile

-Share a special holiday memory with your child/children

-Make a new tradition and commit to sticking to it each year

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Hispanic Heritage Month

12/14/2018 9:12 am

As a first generation immigrant, my family didn't observe Hispanic Heritage Month.    I can imagine my mother saying, why would we dedicate a month to traditions that were special all year round for us?   Now that I'm a parent I can empathize with her.  But I also appreciate the reminder that this national observation can be for all us.  
It's a reminder to look around at each other with open minds and hearts because we just may learn something new.    This was never more evident than last year at Discovery's first World Heritage Night where our community shone so brightly with an array of beautiful cultural presentations,  performances and cuisines.  
It's a reminder, for our family,  to hit pause on our busy lives every now and then and enjoy the things that make life sweet and interesting -- not just food, but music, art, and history.   For us, it might mean getting our favorite empanadas from Luzmila's in Falls Church, taking a visit to the Museum of the American Indian,  or just digging out the old photo boxes and looking at the pictures of all the cousins,  aunts and uncles.
It's a reminder that the things that make us different are the things that can bind us together. 
For more information and a wide variety of events in our area, visit https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov
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Keeping Arlington's Black History & History Alive

12/14/2018 9:07 am

As a Co-Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee I try to share information that will keep our local black history and overall history of Arlington alive.  Back in April, I conducted a walking tour of the Segregation Wall located in the historically black neighborhood Halls Hill/High View Park.  There are other very significant contributions to the history of Arlington from that same neighborhood, which includes the first four black students who integrated schools at Stratford that came from Halls Hill and made statewide and National news.  Then we have the Fire Station 8 located on Lee Highway that still services that neighborhood that had to be built by the locals in order to even have fire services for blacks back then.  A few years ago, the County tried to relocate this station to better serve a white neighborhood that didn't even want it!  The Halls Hill/High View Park community rallied together to fight this effort and was successful in keeping it in it's existing location.  There's so much rich history that has never been shared or discussed and I'd like to bring attention to it as much as I can because this is where I come from as a native of Arlington - these are my roots!  I am very proud of this and wanted to share with my Discovery community. 
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Ramadan Mubarak

5/25/2018 10:08 am



May 16th marked the beginning of Ramadan, a month-long observation “by Muslims to commemorate when God revealed the first chapters of the Quran, Islam’s sacred text, to the Prophet Muhammad.” This holy month is marked by one of the five pillars of Islam—fasting, which takes place during sunlight hours and includes not only abstaining from food but from other activities and negative thoughts in order to bring oneself closer to Allah. Ramadan in the United States looks very different than it does in Islamic countries where government offices and commercial establishments have limited hours or may remain closed during daylight hours. Observing Ramadan in the U.S. can be somewhat more challenging, as government, educational, and commercial places may or may not make accommodations for those observing, and it can be even more complicated for students during May, a month of testing in many schools. This month is a great time to sit down and explore one of the world’s major religions during one of their most significant periods of purification, reflection, and celebration and to help your Explorer support their Muslim classmates and friends during this special month.


Five Things You Need to Know About Ramadan

Your Complete Guide to Ramadan, Including the Proper Greeting and When It Starts

How Teachers can support students during Ramadan

How to Study for Exams During Ramadan


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Exploring Brain Health Month in May

4/26/2018 2:12 pm

The diversity at Discovery takes many forms, and as we approach the month of May, we thought it would be a good time to shed light on some different, frequently less visible ways in which we differ in our experience of the world. May is Mental Health Month, and in the spirit of growth mindset, we are acknowledging and exploring Brain Health during the month of May. We can celebrate brain health by talking to our Explorers about how our brains do much more than just retain information—they are like “the bosses of our bodies.” Our brains are not a static organ but rather grow with us and there are things we can do to support that growth like getting enough sleep, continuing to challenge our brains through learning, and making smart, healthy choices with what goes in our bodies. Finally, it is important to recognize that everyone’s brain, while serving the same primary function of managing our bodies, can differ in the way information is processed, which helps us understand that anxiety, ADHD, depression, and other diagnoses have biological roots, and the successful interventions of which range from medication to different forms of therapy and routine.


Your Explorer may see and experience the world very differently from you and their peers, and/or they may have a friend who does, so this is a great time to practice seeing and experiencing the world in someone else’s shoes. Below are some resources to help you talk about this with your child(ren).


Three Things All Parents Should Teach Their Kids About the Brain

ADDitude (Inside the ADHD mind)

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Facts for Families Guide

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MLK, Jr.'s Legacy and Arlington Connections

4/5/2018 11:16 am

Yes, we've already celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. back in January.  But let us not forget him this month as well.  As April 4, 2018, marks the 50th Anniversary of his death.  It is worth noting his message of peace and love, especially in a time when there is a great divide with regard to race and class amongst people in our world today.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down on April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN.  This spurred a rethinking of gun laws and was a cornerstone of Gun Control in the U.S. back then.  Amazingly, fifty years later we are dealing with very similar issues.
Also, Dr. King said that segregation harms us all.  Which leads to something that is very close to home with our Diversity and Inclusion Committee.  Right here in Arlington, to this day, there are remains of an actual "Segregation Wall" located in one of the oldest enclaves in Northern Virginia that was settled by newly freed slaves shortly after the Civil War.  This "Segregation Wall" is located at North Culpeper Street and 17th Road and separated the black neighborhood (Halls Hill/High View Park) from the bordering white neighborhood from the 1930's to the 1960's. 
One of the Discovery Diversity and Inclusion Committee Co-Chairs, Tia Alfred, is set to lead us on a walking tour this coming Monday, April 9, 2018, at 9 a.m.  She plans to lead us from Gateway Park (located at Lee Highway and the top of Cameron Street) down to the "Segregation Wall" and back with a few stops along the way to share about some of the history right here in Arlington.
Now that there has been a forecast of inclement weather, this tour may be postponed.  Regardless of postponement of the walking tour, please feel free to go and view the "Segregation Wall" for yourselves, as there is a historical marker located in front of some of the remnants of the wall.
Though this is a very significant part of Arlington's history, we need to remember that it is our past and be careful to continue to move forward and be progressive in our great city.
Let's take this time to rekindle Dr. King's message regarding love for one another.
Let's hope for great weather, and see you on the tour!
Tia Alfred (mother of Maddox - 4th grader, and Mathias - Kindergarten)
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National Women's Day and Intersectionality

3/7/2018 9:29 am

"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."—Gloria Steinem

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Black History Hero of the Day: Wilma Rudolph

2/14/2018 6:06 pm

Black History Month Hero of the Day

 Image result for Wilma Rudolph images

Today's featured hero for Black History Month (timed perfectly for the Olympics) is Wilma Rudolph. Born prematurely on June 23, 1940, in St. Bethlehem, Tennessee, Wilma Rudolph was a sickly child who had to wear a brace on her left leg. She overcame her disabilities through physical therapy and hard work, and she went on to become a gifted runner. Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals at a single Olympics at the 1960 Summer Games in Rome. She later worked as a teacher and track coach.

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Lunar New Year

2/14/2018 1:58 pm

Image result for Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year, celebrated by roughly one-sixth of the world’s population, begins this Friday, February 16, 2018. Depending on the country, these celebrations can last anywhere from three days to two weeks and are family-centered celebrations filled with honoring ancestors and deities, firecrackers, gift-giving (red envelopes filled with money or hongbao throughout China), and an abundance of delicious food. To read more about the Lunar New Year for yourself and to learn a little bit more about what the Year of the Dog means (hint: It’s not as lucky as some of the years that preceded this one!), check out this link. And to read more about Lunar New Year with your explorer, check out the following titles:


Or check out the Kennedy Center's Family Lunar New Year Celebration this Saturday! Our Discovery community will celebrate the Lunar New Year in a variety of ways, based on country of origin, family tradition, and other factors. Continue reading to hear from a couple of our Discovery families!


In Mongolia, “Lunar New Year” or “White Moon”  is one of the oldest and biggest celebration. Not only Mongolians, many Asian countries celebrate Lunar New year including China, Korea, Singapore and so on. The date of the celebration is determined according to Lunar Calendar every year and people start to prepare many days before the actual celebration day. Every family prepares thousands of dumplings called “buuz” and freeze them for the guests. During the festivity, people wear Mongolian traditional costume called “deel” and visit the elders in the family first and exchange gifts.

Urangoo Bat-Erdene (mother to a K/Montessori)


For Chinese New Year, we celebrate by making and eating dumplings. In Chinese, dumplings (饺子—jiǎo zi) sounds like 交子(jiāo zi).  (Jiāo) means exchange and (zi) is the midnight hours. Put together, jiāo zi is the exchange between the old and new year.  By eating dumplings, you are sending away the old and welcoming the new.   There is also the traditional exchange of red evelopes with money inside.  By giving the money to children, elders are hoping to pass on a year of good fortune and blessings. Another version is given by the younger generation to their elders as a blessing of longevity and a show of gratitude.


Happy Chinese New Year!!

Benjamin C. Chou (father to 2nd and 4th graders)



The beauty of being a multi-cultural family is that we form our own traditions, blending the new and old. For the Korean Lunar New Year, we will be eating the traditional dduk guk (soup with glutinous rice cakes that symbolize prosperity), just like my mom used to make, and we will honor our ancestors and give gifts of money in crisp new bills to the boys. We will also be making lucky mandu (dumplings). (Sharing some recipes, in case you want to celebrate in your family!)

Lisa Harper Chang (mother to a 2nd grader and a Pre-K 4/Montessori)

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