Monday, May 25, 2009

Birth of a professional blog...

Cathy's thoughts - As you read this blog, it doesn’t take long to realize that the idea came after the process. I seem to operate that way sometime. “Oh, I should have done …” long after I should have done it. So my plan was to resort to our e-mail. Yes, Tyrone and I both used work of both classes and each other as needed. Generally, we uploaded our products through e-mail or Orkut, so that we could share what we might be doing to share the project within our schools and countries. Still, I occasionally I feel the need to ask again – are you sure it is okay that I use it this way. There is much emotion as we share cultures, ideologies, pedagogy, and projects. For both of us, this is the peak of our careers – it doesn’t get much better than this. Then again, who knows what the future will bring.

May 25, 2009

Cathy, I see our work as just one and both of us are the "parents" of the project. So, we both are responsible for their results and products. If I didn't make a good use of them, it won’t be good for both of us. So be free to use everything I write to you or that is produced by my students. I hope you think the same. Regarding the professional blog, for me, it is ok.

Just for you to know, here at Parque School we have been working with Portfolio this year. So, everything that we do in class is supposed to be explained in details: photos, texts explaining the whole process, etc. In this sense, your idea is welcome, as I, for instance, have the need to print some of your e-mails in order to explain the process of our project!! I haven't printed them systematically, but some of them will be necessary to be printed and put as annex in my portfolio.

So, your idea is good and welcome. I agree with a professional blog. Go ahead!!!---Tyrone

May 25, 2009

Tyrone, I sit here with more to do than I will ever finish, but I had a brainstorm -- always dangerous. I would like to have a professional blog where I post some of our e-mails from our early correspondence on up through our more recent -- as we discuss ideas, problems, and plan strategies to connect our students.

It would be a great Professional Development tool that we could make available to our colleagues, our students, the media, or whatever we decide.

We can put our logo, pictures of our schools, and our pictures along with links to our school blogs and orkut, and to our poetry book once it is published.

What do you think? ---Cathy

Saturday, May 23, 2009

In response to video, poetry still coming in...

May 23, 2009

Thank you very much, Cathy!! Your words were so beautiful! I could notice how touched you were when you wrote it!! As I have told you before, working with you has been a gift given by God!!! I work in 4 schools but Parque School has been so special to me!!! Lovejoy is part of my life now and I have thought in ways of getting our project better and better!!! Although we don't know each other in person, we are a proof of educacion in virtual times!!! You are like me: you want to do the difference, you love your job and you are open-minded. I hope nothing can disturb our project!!!

By the way, have you received an e-mail of mine with your students poems? I corrected the Portuguese version of them. Tomorrow I will translate the last poems of my students into English and I will send them to you!!! ---Tyrone

Responding to the video...

May 23, 2009 (Readers, please note that the video is attached to the right.)

Tyrone, At the Class Day assembly, with many parents there as well as the Lovejoy students to celebrate with the seniors, the video was on program. I introduced it, explaining to the audience that the students who were sitting in front of them were not the whole class. I explained that they had classmates in Brasil and another teacher. I explained how unusual it is for students to have this kind of opportunity, to collaborate via SKYPE, to use the blogs and ORKUT, to share their lives, and to discuss their studies with Freedom Writers with students from another country.

I told them how your students and mine looked forward to seeing each other, to talking with each other. I explained that the students in your class wanted to share a special tribute to the graduating class. The students were so surprised (they knew we were up to something, they just didn't know what), they were so attentive, they were so touched -- and they cheered (the seniors and the audience when it was done.) It made their Class Day so much more special and different from any other -- because your classes were an important part of it.

Tell Icaro and Wellington how it meant so much to these kids, such a beautiful ending to their school year, and how important it was for them to be a part of the program. It made it complete.

I read about the financial problems and how time is cut back for your students. I was so sad that education is where the government decided to cut. There is still much the students can do together through the blog and TappedIn and Orkut. I realized how sad I really was about this when I told my friend and cried while we talked about it. Your students are also my students and I make it a practice to love all of my students.

My dream is to be able to go to your school to visit with you and with them. I, too, will make time to talk to your students even though the classes do not meet at the same time. We can also pick topics for the students to discuss and record them for YouTube, so they can see each other and hear each others voices.

I will pray that times get better for both countries financially. It is not right to deprive the children of their education. You and I must overcome the barrier and keep this beautiful relationship between our students going.

Back to the video. I am so thrilled. I will post it on our blog if you do not mind. The students want to keep copies of it. I tried to record their reactions but the room was dark, so the film is not good. I will see if I can upload to YouTube in the next couple of days, at least part of it. Again, thanks to you and our Brasilian classmates. It is so beautiful.

Financial difficulties worldwide...

May 21, 2009

This correspondence is a little out of order. It came to me before Class Day. In the United States budget cuts to education are discussed by our government and fought by our teachers unions. In Brasil, the government starts shutting down the schools. Imagine the distress with this e-mail from Tyrone...

"The international crisis has also reached our country and its effect has been felt in Education. As you know, Parque School is a special one, as students have a full time education here. They have two times for a snack here and the lunchtime. We have almost 5.000 students and government spends lots of money to keep the school. Due to the crisis, federal government has cut the educational money, and our school hasn't had money to guarantee students lunch. This is the reason why, from next Monday on, classes will be from 8am to 10am. After that, students will go to their houses, have lunch there, and go to one of their 5 Class Schools.

I will go on doing my job with you. Regarding the virtual contact, I will try to be in touch with you via Skype about 9:30, is it possible? It is something temporary, I mean, it will last till the day our financial problems be solved by the government. I will let you know everything about it, ok? Don't worry!! We have to have hope as your boys and girls say!!!" ---Tyrone

Students in the United States are so fortunate that education is valued. Lovejoy students have learned that this year.