Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Reconnecting through Freedom Writers, TappedIn, blogs...

March 25, 2009

I will have the students look at your blogs. Wednesday, they joined my school blog ( and wrote about themselves. We have not put the pictures in yet. I should have them there by Monday. I hope to get back with you about the Tapped In site tomorrow (Friday). I will try to set up a spot for us to get on and chat. All of the students can be on the computers at the same time with us to discuss the movies real time. I will tell you more tomorrow.

The kids are very excited about reconnecting with you and your new students. Today we start Freedom Writers. ---Cathy

Sent: Wednesday,
March 25, 2009 7:57 PM

Subject: About my classes and the DVDs to be sent
Cathy, I have worked a lot with my new students. Last week they watched the movie, Freedom Writers, and some of them have already used the blog to write about themselves and to upload their photos. Today and yesterday they answered a questionnaire about the movie in pairs; their questionnaires can be read by your students in our blog, by using a translating tool such as the Google one.

They have been creating their own blogs and as soon as possible I will create a list of their blogs so that your students can add them and talk to them when they want.

My students are very responsible and attentive: Thank God they are high graders !!!! They saw your album on job shadowing!! They liked it a lot. Now they are not only able to know more about how Afro Americans live in the US; but also they are able to make a comparison between their expectations towards their professional future and your students'.

Listen, I will ask the coordinator tomorrow to send you the copies of the two movies I have told you: the 1st one is related to our public educational system in towns of the countryside of Brazil; the other one is related to a documentary on teen pregnancy. It is very good because they show the real life of 4 girls from Rio de Janeiro. By the way, they both are subscribed in English.

I am still waiting for your explanation on how I can use the the TappedIn site. Although I created my own account there, I don't know how to use it properly...

I hope your problems at school can be solved as soon as possible. I know how terrible it is working in a violent and stressing environment....

Please ask your students to have a look at our blog. There they will be able to see our students' profile and questionnaire on the movie watched.

God bless us all!!! --- Tyrone

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Back in the swing of things...

March 11, 2009

Tyrone, The students loved the cards. They were very proud of them. Mine is pinned up beside my desk.

Job shadowing is when students are set up with someone who does the job or career they hope to do. For example, if they are interested in a medical career they will go to the hospital and see the different kinds of jobs or perhaps just one if they already know they want to be a nurse. They spend time with a person who does that job and they can ask questions. We are so fortunate that at Scott Air Force Base they have most jobs that are also available in the civilian world. Because we are partners with the African American Association, they set it all up for us. I just turn in a list of students and the jobs they want to follow or “shadow.” This time they were with medical, legal, engineering, and graphic arts. I believe I told you only 12 went.

This weekend I will upload the pictures to Orkut. I will also have my students introduce themselves at one spot. That is a good idea. Are you going to add to the old blog or start a new one? Let’s plan on the introductions in the next week. The seniors have been very lazy and are behind on their work. So they are not happy with me right now. Then we can start with “Freedom Writers.” I have to find a copy of it. It has been on TV, but I am not sure where I can find it. I will though. The teacher portrayed in the movie is a keynote speaker at the conference in Washington DC. I will already be on the way back home. I will have to see if I can contact her somehow to get to meet her.

If I remember correctly, there was a two hour time difference from Brooklyn to Salvador when we first started. My seniors meet at 8:20; so that would be 10:20 your time. Your students would be back from their break. I only have mine until 9:15 and Monday through Friday.

I am so happy that we will be working together again. It is the bright spot in my day. ---Cathy

March 11, 2009 12:45 PM

Subject: About my new students and ideas

Hi, Cathy!! It is so good being in touch with you!!! I have started working since February. But, as Parque School is a special one, classes started there last Monday...

This year, the majority of my students will be from high school. They are more responsible than those ones of last year. I have told them about the Project “Global Connections” and they are very excited about knowing you. I will use the blog next week for them to upload their photos and texts about their lives.

I will try to find the movies you have suggested. I think we could start by watching Freedom Writers. Afterwards, we could decide the other ones to be watched. Do you agree with me? I will try to send you the Brazilian movies I have suggested to you. Yes, they have subscripts in English. “Meninas” is a documentary about teen girls from Rio de Janeiro that get pregnant at the age of 13, 14 to 15...It is very good! The other one is about our public educational system. It shows how students struggle to study in 3 towns of Brazil, in different regions: one in Rio de Janeiro; other ones in the state of Pernambuco and in São Paulo. They also show students of private schools. It is very good to establish a comparison between both systems: public and private.

I received the lapel pin. It is very beautiful! I hope it brings luck for you in Washington DC. It is marvelous to know about your Daylight Savings Time! At least we will be able to connect our classes without that hurry. I will have classes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. They start at 8 am and finish at 11:30. You used to be online at about 11:15 or 11 am. So, we didn’t have much time to be in touch, but I think with your Daylight Savings Time things will be better. By the way, we have a break from 9:30 am to 10:00am. It would be just a matter to make an agreement about the time of connection...

As I told you, the majority of my students are high graders, but there are some of them in the 7th or 8th grade. So, if you want to introduce your juniors to our projects will be a pleasure.

I hope all of the students are fine. Say hello to all of them. Tell Y--- and D--- that I wish good luck for them and their babies!

Could you please tell me how they received the Christmas cards? Did they like them?

I am sorry but what is “a job shadowing day”?

I will suggest my students to create their own blogs at BlogSpot, but I think it is a good idea to keep the first blog as it gives them a sense of belonging to a group. What do you think about it?

Although I don’t know the Tapping in, I will try to use it. Afterwards, I will give an answer about it.

By the way, please don’t forget our Orkut and blog. My students will be updating these tools.

I am here, back to work!!!! Tchau! ---Tyrone

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A new year for Lovejoy and new school year for Escola Parque...

March 10, 2009

Tyrone, Bom dia. It is good to hear from you. I hope you are rested after your vacation.

I have not had much time to view movies; but now that you have given me a list, I will take a look at some of them. I know Freedom Writers and Coach Carter. Both are good – definitely Freedom Writers – the kids can discuss them and share some of their own writing. Please also consider Sister Act 2 (very motivational), Drum Line, Remember the Titans (with Denzel Washington), and for a comedy, Coming to America (from the viewpoint of breaking with traditions and pursuing your own dream – a difficult thing for many of my students).

I would love for you to send me some of the Brazilian movies. Will they have subscripts in English?

We are back on Daylight Savings Time so it will be easier to connect our classes. What grade will you be teaching? What time do your classes meet? I would like to get my juniors involved during May and through June 12 when we let out for the summer. Right now they are preparing for the state testing. Meanwhile, I will try to get the students of the same grade as yours.

News on the seniors: The basketball team made Regional Champs. Y--’s and D--’s babies are precious. H-- is due any day. A few of the students went with me to Scott Air Force Base for a job shadowing day. I am attaching a picture for you to see them. Only 8 of the seniors went. The plane we are in front of is a VIP plane like they carry the Secretary of State and other dignitaries in.

I am excited about our new project. I think it will be beneficial for the kids to actually have a guided discussion. Perhaps they can all have individual blogs at Blogspot and make each other friends – but they could have one main partner. For large group discussion we could use Tapped In. It is designed for educational real time discussion – not with the use of video like SKYPE, but I expect that still to be a problem since we have not updated our bandwidth yet. What do you think?
Tchau! ---Cathy

From: Tyrone Santiago []
Sent: Sunday, March 08, 2009 10:41 PM
To: Cathy McDonald
Subject: The beginning of our classes and suggestions

Hi, Cathy! How are you? Hope you and your family are fine! Finally, classes will start at Escola Parque this week! I will have high school students there! It will be much better for both of us!
During my vacation, I watched several movies: most of them are American. We could use some of them, if you still want to work with me using movies to establish an interaction among our students.

Below I will give you some suggestions of movies we could work with. If you want, I can send you DVDs of some Brazilian movies such as Meninas, that deal with teen pregnancy and Pro Dia Nascer Feliz, a movie about our public educational system. If you have any suggestions of other movies, it will be a pleasure to see your list! If you find some of the movies below interesting, please let me know, ok?
Take care, ---Tyrone

Movies that could help us improving students’ self esteem:
1. The Tuskegee Airmen
2. Freedom Writers
3. Akeelah and the Bee;
4. Coach Carter
5. 30 Days, 2006
6. Something the Lord Made
7. Pride, 2007
8. The Great Debaters
9. Gridiron Gang

Movies about respect of diversity and/or social problems:

1. Radio
2. All the invisible children
3. The Mighty
4. Mandela
5. Sometimes in April
6. Hotel Ruanda
7. Meninas
8. Pro Dia Nascer Feliz
9. Nowhere in Africa
10. Mandela
11. Malcolm X, with Denzel Washington

Movie about the American Health system: John Q. (By watching this movie, our students could make a comparison about your health system and ours).