Friday, December 18, 2009

Research Papers Complete

Lovejoy seniors have completed research papers on the origin of numerous US holidays comparing them to similar holidays in Brasil. One of the areas in which there was no comparison was Civil Liberties holidays. The United States has many such holidays, but Brasil does not. Other titles of the research papers include Celebrations of Love (Valentine's Day, weddings, anniversaries), Christmas, Thanksgiving (which is not a Brasilian holiday) and New Years, and Patriotic Holidays.

In Brasil students are out of school for Christmas. Their holiday will extend into late February because it is summer there. In addition to "Language Arts" at Lovejoy and "English" as a foreign language in Brasil, we have learned much about geography, history, and culture.

Work on the book will continue after the holidays.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A setback...

With the end of daylight savings time, came the end of our SKYPE chats. If you remember, cutbacks due to problems in the economy shortened the school day in Bahia. Now that the time difference is 3 hours instead of 2, our students will not be in school at the same time.

We will continue to blog, work on our book, use TappedIn, and e-mail.

Speaking of e-mail, my students have run into problems figuring out what holiday in Brasil would be closest to some of our celebrations. So I told them to e-mail their other teacher and ask. Their delight at receiving e-mail directly to them from Tyrone was surprising. I don't believe they thought he would really write to just one person. They couldn't wait to share with their classmates.

Friday, October 30, 2009

SKYPE visits going well...

We have had several successful SKYPE visits to the delight of students in both countries. One of my students called to me for help. Another admonished that student saying, "She isn't going to help us. We can figure it out ourselves. Move over." The "we can do it" attitude is what I am looking for.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A new project...

The students will be studying Celebrations. Lovejoy seniors will be writing short research papers on a selected holiday and researching how it is celebrated in both countries. They will submit a synopsis describing the American (USA) holiday of choice. Escola Parque students will research information on their own holidays and celebrations. Then they will translate their work into English.

A book will be printed with the student work. The students are already excited.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sharing the project with other educators...


Today’s Principals’ meeting was a success!!! Bahia State Board of Education Secretary was there, among other education staff. Professor Eni Ribeiro was also there. She is responsible for State padagogic matters. I could present Global Connections to about 144 principals of Salvador. At the end of the presentation, our Project received lots of congratulations.

Our work together has taught the following lesson to everybody there: When teachers have a minimum condition of work, they can dream and such dreams can even make them cross barriers like we have done during this year of exchange.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On Escola Parque's assembly...

Tyrone: Needless to say that our assembly was a real success. I could explain the whole process of the Project Global Connections, since its beginning, a year ago. So, our school community now has a clear idea of who we are and how we have worked. I told the audience about the sites and the themes we have worked with during this period of a year. They could notice that our classes demand creativity, as we have to find solutions to talk about this or that theme with a suitable site. Of course, finding a suitable site to a certain activity is a process that requires willingness of both of us. In this sense, you and I have been open-minded teachers always willing to reach our goals and to improve the interaction between our students.

The special guests were a Board of Education lady, to whom I gave my monograph on Global Connections and Our “Facing the Future” book; and a colleague that works in our library to whom I gave my monograph and copies of our books, in order to allow students and interested people to have an access to our Project. Our principal was also a special guest, and he received the same referred material. People got excited with Global Connections and the book. And today I myself had the most important day of my professional career until now.

I know our partnership will last for a long period of time!!

Lovejoy students to post flags of both countries...

Students wait prior to assembly to post the flags.
Both national anthems were played.

VoiceThread brings students together...

Lovejoy plays a Voice Thread of Susane reading her poem frmo the book. Melanie then reads the English translation of the poem.

On the assembly - outstanding success in both countries...

Cathy: The kids did such a good job with the assembly. Our guests were impressed. I was even impressed. Our special guests were the superintendent, a representative from the St. Clair Regional Office of Education, a pastor from a local church, a technology contractor who has given us much encouragement. All were presented copies of the book.

Everyone loved the VoiceThreads – not just the juniors and seniors, but everyone. Our kids tend to misbehave at assemblies, especially if they are bored. They were so well behaved today. They realize that we have something very special, and not every school has this kind of opportunity.

The reception was orderly and beautiful. The kids were proud of themselves, and the younger ones were proud of their friends who were involved in writing the book. Ready for the next book? Let's do it...

A few pictures are up on Orkut.

I feel relieved that it turned out so well. Again thanks to you and your students – you have made a difference in the United States.

Friday, September 18, 2009

An anniversary...


Have you realized that we are completing this month a year together? So, I had to prepare a PPT covering what we have done. You could use mine during your assembly, in case you haven't prepared anything yet, just adding or substituting some information about Lovejoy activities during this period. Please remember: We started Global Connections in September 2008 and the book is a good gift for both of us!!! (It is our anniversary cake.)



I am thinking it is time to get a reception going here at Lovejoy, too. So I call Sam's to see if they can do the logo on the cake. It does not surprise me when they want a letter of permission from Microsoft. I am ready for this. They will accept a printout of their online policy allowing it to be used for school projects. I learned well in June how to do this right!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Coming together...

The assembly is coming together nicely. We are e-mailing several times a day. Our students are recording their poetry to be used in the other school's assembly. Cathy has recorded congratulations to Escola Parque students, and Tyrone has recorded congratulations to the Lovejoy students.

The students will read in their native tongue, and someone will read an interpretation of the poem after it is heard on Voice Thread.

We have exchanged programs. It promises to be an exciting event at each school.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Planning the assembly...

It is getting close to time for the assembly. Much planning is done to make them very similar. We will both use the banner used in D.C. at NECC 2009. We will follow a similar program. The following are e-mail exchanges.

Sept 11


Our assembly will be very beautiful! We are going to...

1- Listen to the Brasilian and American anthems;

2. Greet the audience and guests;

3- Read a welcoming message of yours and mine. (Yours can be via Voice Thread);

4- Call the principal, the coordinator and the superintendent of the State board to take their copies of the book;

5- Call students to read their poems and then take their own books.

6. Have a possible hello meeting with you about 10:30 am (our time), just for you to greet the students and see them with the books;

7. Students will have their names written in sheets of paper. They will be put inside a box; then, 4 sheets will be taken out of the box. Each one of the finding names will get a pen drive. (It was a way we found to guarantee that students will attend the assembly!)

8. End of the event.

PS: Folders on our project will be displayed during the event; there will also be a coffee break at a certain moment of the assembly. I think I will also exihibit your ISTE PPT on our project at the beggining of the event.

Cathy: 9/10

Awesome about the assembly! Yes, I will try to be there for the end with a VoiceThread to use in case the connection doesn't work. I will have Philip and Melanie record their poems on Voice Thread as well -- maybe a couple of others. What an awesome idea for the t-shirts! I will have to check into that too. This next week is so crazy that I am not sure what I will be able to make happen. But I will get Jaye to help and Sydney is trying to get more webcams by the end of next week. Time is getting away and I am excited and a little overwhelmed.

A whole year! Wow! Isn't this the most awesome project ever?

I will get busy. Good job on the invitation! Guess I need to get mine ready today. I think I may use the same picture.

September 9


Today my principal, the coordinator and I went to the State Board of Education. There we talked to the superintendent of supplies, who we invited to our book assembly. Of course, we took the opportunity to show her everything we have done during the period of a year. (Do you remember that we have been together for a year? Virtual contact between us really started in September of 2008!! And nothing will be better than celebrating such an anniversary with our book assembly. I hope you can accept the last suggestion I have made. Although we won’t be able to be online at the same time, at least we could see each other during a short period of time on September 23 as I have suggested to you...

Anyway, I am happy!!! Please see the invitation card we have prepared to send to the guests. I think we will have a beautiful celebration as the principal wants us to have a coffee break during the event; my coordinator wants to have some T-shirts printed on the event and so on and so forth... As you can see, I have lots of reasons to be happy....

Monday, August 24, 2009

A touchy situation...

As teachers we were ready to discuss the film, Meninas (Teen Mothers), a documentary made in Brasil. Tyrone and I had exchanged much information about attitudes and lifestyles of teen mothers in our countries. As the SKYPE call proceeded, my students were very much offended by some of the questions. This came as a surprise to both Tyrone and me.

Today at Lovejoy was a lesson in sociology and statistics. They soon realized that there was simply a misunderstanding. When you have teen mother among a small group, the percentages shoot upward. I think we are ready to re-engage in discussion.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In the teachers' lounge...

Cathy: Obviously, Tyrone and I can not sit in the lounge and talk about where the kids are -- college, jobs, etc. But the bond is there. We each care about the students at both Lovejoy and Escola Parque. It was important to share their successes... and we do. It is time for Fall Semester to start, and together we rejoiced that some of our Lovejoy students were going to Southwestern Illinois College, Mizzou, Harris Stowe, Lincoln, ... something that we both played a role in helping them to achieve.

We also share thoughts about education and teen pregnancy so that we as teachers understand what is happening in each country. Tyrone is shocked by the number of students that have babies. He has many questions to ask about our education system and our culture. I also have many questions to ask. This is truly a professional collaboration that exceeds any expectations either of us ever had.

Tyrone is planning an assembly to celebrate the book. I think it is an awesome idea, and I would like to do one too. What's more, why not the same day? His administrators would like September 23 or 24. If only the same time would work, but time zones prohibit that...

Can we make this work? We will keep you posted...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Planning the next movie and collaboration...

Cathy: Tyrone and I continued to share information throughout the summer. Some was personal, getting know each others' families We also started planning for the next movie. Remember that my students are not back from summer break, but it is winter in Brasil and their students are in school. The following e-mails were exchanged before my students returned to school. Notice how the timing has to be coordinated to make up for language barriers. You will also notice that sometimes things just don't go as planned.

8/8/09 I have also started a list of questions on Meninas. I will send them to you this weekend. Then you can add or delete questions. My students will need to use some research skills to locate statistics. Many of the questions are opinions and could be addressed in Tapped In. Others may be projects – PPTs, posters, charts, perhaps video where the girls (at least those here) can comment on how they feel.

Tyrone: (8/10/09)

Have you printed Menina's poster the way you wanted? I hope so. I think I will start working with Meninas tomorrow and on Wednesday. We didn't have classes today because today is Students' day. I am going to use part of your questions before and after their viewing of the movie. Don't worry about the time your students will watch it. If they watch the movie at the beggining of September it will be ok. I want to have my students watching the movie now, because there are several questions to be answered; in addition, they will have to make surveys in the net to do so. Afterward, they will have to translate what they wrote. So, I will need to have time to do everything. Tomorrow We will watch the movie and anwer about 12 questions in Portuguese. Part of the next week class will be used to go on answering questions on the movie. And then, they will translate what they wrote into English. I will think about a way through which my students can show their surveys; maybe we use PPT or a movie maker to do so. After your students having watched it, mine will be already able to discuss about Meninas. As I have already seen Meninas several times, I know the Meninas girls'. I think I will print their pictures so that my students can't forget their images, histories and names. As it is a true story, the girls of the movies won't be forgotten so easily and they will be able to talk about them via Skype, blog, Tapped In when it is the occasion, ok?

Cathy: There was some anxiety as to whether the connection with the new class would be as effective as that of the old group of Lovejoy seniors. Not just on my side, already knowing the next classes had a very different personality, but from Brasil as well... What if they don't click?

Tyrone: 8/12/09 I hope your new students and the juniors can interact with us, as Fetemma, Maurio, Paris, Brandi, Freddie, Damion, Latosha and other ones did. In fact, I miss your ex-seniors and I would love hearing from them in case you know about them, regarding his professional life, college etc.... I think I had to postpone the viewing of Meninas as I didn't find the copy I have. Anyway, tomorrow I will ask a colleague to lend me hers so that I can make a copy. In last case, I can go to a video shop, take the movie and make a copy for me....You see, it is so stressing when you are ready to do something and you realize that an important detail has been forgotten or not found, mainly when you are tired and want to go to bed!!!