segunda-feira, 12 de novembro de 2012

"Love Will Keep Us Alive"

"Love Will Keep Us Alive"
Scorpions



 When I look at you
 I can see the sadness in your eyes
In these desperate times
We get pushed and shoved from every side
 I can't love you if you won't let me
Can't touch me if you don't try
I can feel you I know that you're ready to take it to the other side
 Love will keep us alive
Let's make the moment right
It's now or never
Love will keep us alive...
Even the darkest night
Will shine forever
Love will keep us alive
Love will keep us alive
Love, love will keep us alive
 When you walk away
There's an empty feeling in my mind
As the days go by
We get caught up in our separate lives
 If you need me
You know I'll come running
Right to you
Just give me a sign I won't leave you
We'll make it together
And take it to the end of time
Love will keep us alive
Let's make the moment right It's now or never
Love will keep us alive
Even the darkest night will shine forever
Love will keep us alive
Love will keep us alive
Love, love will keep us alive
Oh, I've got a lot of loving to show you
You know I'd never want to control you
I only want to be by your side
 I can't love you if you won't let me
Can't touch me if you don't try
I can feel you I know that you're ready to take it to the other side
Love will keep us alive
Let's make the moment right
It's now or never
Love will keep us alive
Even the darkest night will shine forever
Love will keep us alive
Love will keep us alive
Love, love will keep us alive
Love will keep us alive
Love will keep us alive
Alive Love will keep us alive

Post Question 2°E: READ the song and WATCH the vídeo to understand the lyrics (está legendado). After that, write about the meaning of the modal verb CAN in the lyrics.  And remember...love will keep us ALIVE!



sexta-feira, 2 de novembro de 2012

The FINAL Departure

     Grief, how can we deal with it?
Talking about death or mourning may not be a simple task, but definitely it is a topic we should talk about much more often than we usually do. And it's quite amazing that the more we decided to study, read or talk about it, the simpler it become. I confess it has been simpler than I expect. But for sure, "death" is a complex issue and trying to approach it in 50 minutes is, at least, bold! But it's exactly what happened. In the latest "Halloween", we (the high school students - 3ºE and myself), we had a lecture on "Death and How to Deal with it." It was very rewarding! As the author Richard Bach said once: "We teach best what we most need to learn!" - and in this case, it wasn't different. The school is very important in our lives, but sometimes it fails to teach topics more connected to our life and experiences we are going through, no matter what. Nobody knows for sure how to deal with death or any other life matter, but the school would do a lot if it just opens a space to talk about all this topics. Being among friends and with teacher conducting the discussion, it can be a very interesting and supportive experience
And we know that learning is a continuous process, it never stops. So, to continue our studies, I'd like to recommend this movie called Departures (translated to Portuguese as "A Partida"). It is a 2008 Japanese film directed by Yōjirō Takita which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2009. 
Departures - The gift of last memories
The Departure is the story of a young man who was a cellist and after losing his job in the orchestra, he returns to his hometown and starts working as "Nokanshi", a sort of mortician in charge of preparing the body of dead people, put it in the coffin and send the deceased to the other world. He works with traditional funeral rites and acts as a gatekeeper between life and death. Unfortunately, due to a lot of prejudice, his work is despised by his wife and people around him. But it is through death that he begins to understand the true meaning of life. It's a very poetic movie, without being melodramatic. You can watch this movie here. Don't miss it! Ah, and the sound tracking is also really very beautiful!

Post Question: Have you ever had the opportunity of talking about death in your school? Funeral rites are different in each society. If you could change, add or delete some acts we do in our funeral rite, what would you like to modify? Have you gone to the Consolação cemetery excursion with the school? If YES, how did you like it? If NO, would you like to go?

Tip: Read also the post written last November and watch the video with Professor Maria Helena Pereira Franco. She gives us information about the clinic at PUC which provides services to the community in caring for people are grieving. Just click here.

quarta-feira, 31 de outubro de 2012

It's HALLOWEEN...here, in Brazil!


Photo by Doug R. Funny
It's HALLOWEEN! It's HALLOWEEN!
The moon is full and bright
And we shall see what can't be seen
On any other night.
by Jack Prelutsky

     Halloween has roots in ancient Celtic festival which is known as Samhain. The Samhain is a festival which is celebrated at the end of harvest season in the Gaelic culture. The name Halloween is originated from the Old English 'hallowed' which means holy or sanctified and is now usually contracted to the more familiar word Hallowe'en. It derives from All Hallows' Eve which falls on 31st October each year, and it is the day before All Hallows Day, also known as All Saints' Day.  In 1846, due to the Ireland's Great Famine, many Irish immigrants went to North America to settle down and took the Halloween traditions with them to the New World. Nowadays, many people adorn their yards and homes to participate in this autumn celebration, which comprises wearing costumes, bonfires, visiting ghostly attractions, trick-or-treating, figuring jack-o'-lanterns, looking horror movies, costume parties, and reading frightening stories. It's one of the most popular and celebrated festival in America. In fact, it has become popular in almost all the world, including Brazil! The first time I heard about Halloween was in the early 80's, reading a text in the book of my English course in a specific language school. It was hard to imagine a group of kids going from house to house, dressing up as supernatural creatures and asking for candies.
Photo by Doug R. Funny
Photo by Verginia Veloso
But today, probably because of the globalization and the speed that information reaches via Internet, it's easy to picture this scenario. Little by little the festival has become popular down here too and even my husband had already participated (and won) a Halloween costume contest, wearing a very ugly mask! Of course we can't compare it to the America way of celebrating Halloween, but the way that things are going on here, we will be like them earlier than we can imagine! Some years ago, it was very difficult to find objects or things related to Halloween to buy here. But it has changed and you can find Halloween stuff around here. The first picture above (with the pumpkin and ghost toys) was taken in a supermarket in our city two weeks ago. Children go to school wearing costumes and although it's very uncommon, I already received the visit of some neighbourhood children asking for candies! It's another festival that traditionally is not ours but we have imported it. But it doesn't matter now! Besides the opposition of some people because the association they usually do between the festival and religion, more and more activities have been spreading around several places here, from regular schools to restaurants, coffee shops and dance clubs. As a teacher, I like to explain all that to my students and make it clear the difference of celebrating a festival that has a traditional bond with our history and the one that doesn't, I confess that I have been celebrating Halloween for many years, since I was an English student.
I enjoy making some "spooky" food, like my famous spider-sandwich, which has already been awarded in a Halloween contest food. It's made with the big black olives. I also decorate the house to get into the mood and a jack-o-lantern is usually placed in the garden. But there are three things I really like doing and I consider them the most important ones to enjoy the party: buying chocolate candies, reading books about witches and watching Tim Burton's cartoons: The Nightmare Before Christmas (O Estranho Mundo de Jack) and Corpse Bridge (A Noiva Cadáver) or the movie Practical Magic (Da Magia à Sedução). The cartoons and the movie are so nice that it doesn't matter how many times you have seen them, they are always funny and pleasing!

Post Question: Do you celebrate Halloween? How do you do it? What's your favorite candy? What is your favorite costume? What movie and book would you recommend to be seen and read on Halloween?

Tip: "Yo no creo en brujas, pero que las hay, las hay!" (Eu não acredito em bruxas, mas que elas existe, existem!) It's true...at least it was true in a city of Massachusetts, known as SALEM. Women (and men) were hanged accused of witchcraft. If you go to Salem, visit the Witch Museum. You can start your virtual tour here. 

sexta-feira, 26 de outubro de 2012

Malala - a girl who wants to study...what about you?

          Sometimes people complain about a lot of things...the weather, the traffic, the office, friends, food, etc. The problem is that some people are so used to complain about everything and everyone that they can't realize the good things or the nice people that are also presented in their lives. In fact, they start suffering from the syndrome of "not being grateful for anything".
Students aren't different - complaints about the homework are expressed during the classes, the coffee break and, of course, on the social networks. And there is no problem at all about complaining, but we must know how to complain and we must do it to the right person. It's a pity that some students of our school decided to write his/her negative opinion about it on the social network. 


          The school has always done all it can to offer the best to its students - it has excellent teachers, technology is part of the daily routine, there are tutors to whom students can talk about anything (including the school), it offers several sports and cultural activities and many other benefits. It's really curious that, for some people, write about the bad things is much easier than write about the good ones. And unfortunately what they don't understand is that the social network is exactly that - SOCIAL...so, we must take care about what we write. It's even a matter of education! But we'll talk about it later! And while some complain because they have to do their part, (or simply their homework) on the other side of the Atlantic, a girl is shot on her way to school because she wanted to study. It's unthinkable and, as we have the right of going to school, sometimes it's unbelievable that there's a person in the world that cannot have the same right! Unfortunately, it's true.
Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old Pakistan girl who has campaigned for girls' education, was hit in the head by a gunman from Taliban. She used to write a diary for BBC Urdu to let the world know what was going on in her place. She wrote: "At that time some of us would go to school in plain clothes, not in school uniform, just to pretend we are not students, and we hid our books under our shawls.”
Malala Yousafzai couldn't study, she couldn't even wear her uniform to go to school. And some students complain because they must wear their uniform. Some of them got angry when Delcíria or Janete ask them about the uniform. But it's exactly because there still are people like Malala that we (teachers and conscious students) have to keep on doing our job - teach and study! It's a way to show that her efforts are not in vain. What a pity we can't exchange these students who enjoy complaining about their school for Malala. I guess they would appreciate being there, at least they wouldn't have any homework to complain about... 
           Watch the video below to know a little bit more about her story:


Post Question:
1ºE - Write just one word that could express something you would like to wish to Malala. She used to write about her experiences in a blog. What about you, do you write about your routine too - in a diary, blog or something like that? Of course we know that there are many points we should improve in our school and there are also good points to be thankful. Write, in a simple sentence, to our principal Janice, something you would like to complain or thank about our school.

2ºE - Write a message to Malala using the modal verb that express wishes.

Tip: You can read here some posts that Malala wrote to her blog on BBC online describing how the girl's education ban affected her and her friends.

Extra Tip: Do you want to complain in the right way? Check this example.

And if you want to help her, click here.

segunda-feira, 22 de outubro de 2012

BookCrossing...Have you ever thought about forgetting a book?

      "BookCrossing" - do you know it? What do you think about the idea of a book of yours being "crossing" the world and, although it's not yours properly, you can check where it has been? It's exactly what you can do when you become a member of this movement which besides being funny and interesting, it's also a great way to stimulate generosity and reading anywhere, anytime!
       The BookCrossing.com was created by the Ron Hornbakerin March 2001. He's an American who lives in Missouri.  He already knew the popularity of WheresGeorge.com (it is a website which tracks dollars in circulation in the U.S. by serial number) and it he thought: which another physical object people would like to track? A few minutes later, while he was looking at his own bookshelf, he had the idea of tracking books. Ron Hornbakerin realized that nothing like BookCrossing had been done before (on a significant scale). Then he chose the name and checked it on Google - there were no entries for "Bookcrossing", so he registered the domain. His wife Kaori sketched the logo of the book running on a plate transit. And from that moment on this idea has been spreading everywhere, transforming the whole world in a big library. It has become so popular that "BookCrossing" was added to the Concise Oxford English Language Dictionary as a new word. It has been presented in 132 countries, with over 9.3 million books and 1.3 million registered members so far.
Would you like to join in this group? It's very easy!  All that you have to do is following some simple steps. First of all, buy a book that you have enjoyed reading. Go to the BookCrossing site, register the book to get its ID, print the label to put it in your book (it will help people who are going to get this book to understand about Book Crossing), and release it in a public place. After that, using the released book ID, you can track it wherever it has been. 
Read, register, release and follow - it's all it takes to be part of one of the best ideas ever!

Post Question: Have you ever heard about "BookCrossing"? Have you ever participated on it? Which book (one you have already read) would you like to release on the BookCrossing movement? How many books have you read during this year? Would you recommend one of them? Why?

Tip: BookCrossing Blogueiro - Let's get involved? It will be in November,  from 8th to 16th. To know how to do it, check this site and follow the instructions! 

terça-feira, 16 de outubro de 2012

Nobel Prize

       The last 2012 Nobel Prize was announced yesterday. But what is the Nobel Prize and who created it? It's a very prestigious award and was designed by Alfred Nobel. He was born on October 21, 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden. He became a famous scientist, inventor, businessman, entrepreneur, pacifist and founder of the Nobel Prizes. He died on December 10th, 1896.  In 1895 Nobel wrote his last will, dedicating much of his wealth to the establishment of the Nobel Prize. Five years after his death, the first Nobel Prize Award Ceremony was held at the Musical Academy in Stockholm and since then, the Nobel Prize has been honoring men, women and  institutions (or organizations) from the four corners of the planet for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and for work in peace. The ones who receive the Nobel Prize are denominated Nobel Laureates. The word "Laureate" is related to the laurel wreath. In Ancient Greece, it was a sign of great honor to be awarded with the laurel wreath. 
Each year, at the beginning of October, the Nobel Laureates are announced and about two months later, on 10 December, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death, they receive their prizes from the Swedish King.  The prize is made up of a Nobel diploma, a medal, and 10 million Swedish crowns per prize. All Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, except for the Nobel Peace Prize, which is awarded in Oslo, Norway. All the prizes are highly valued, but the Peace Prize is one of the most awaited.
According to the official web site of the Nobel Academy, the Nobel Peace Prize 2012 was awarded to European Union (EU) "for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe". The European Union was created after the Second World War. The first steps were to foster economic cooperation: the idea was that countries who trade with one another become economically interdependent and so more likely to avoid conflict. So, in 1958, the European Economic Community (EEC) was created and initially increasing economic cooperation between six countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. It began as an economic union, but since then, it became an organization which includes other areas, such as development aid and environment. In 1993 its name was changed from the EEC to the European Union (the EU). After all these years, the European Union is a unique economic and political partnership between 27 European countries that together cover much of the continent and its importance is evident and relevant, no doubt at all.

Post Question: Do you think the European Union deserved the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize? Why? If you could designate someone (famous or not) to be awarded with one of the Nobel prizes, who would you like to indicate? Why? If you could create another area to the Nobel Prizes, which one would you like to include?

Tip: To learn a little bit more about the 27 EU member countries, check this map.

quinta-feira, 11 de outubro de 2012

Teachers in 1952 and in 2012... are they really different from each other?

     Here is a short film from 1952 about being a teacher. Before you continue to read, I'd like to ask you to watch it first. Besides being very funny (Goofy is the best), it's only about 6 minutes...6 minutes of great reflections!


     After watching the movie, there is a question that crosses our mind, it's inevitable: What is the difference of the teachers in 1952 and the teachers today? Why this cartoon was made? Despite being funny, can we interpret the video as a critique to what was happening at the time? But what was happening in the 50's?
     Children were going to school, drivers respected the children crossing the street, the students were full of energy, the teacher prepared himself to enter in his classroom (with an armature), everybody saluted the teacher singing "Good morning to you , good morning to you, good dear teacher, good morning to you!", the teacher confiscated objects which shouldn't be used in the classroom (it includes a gun), he made the call in the classroom, after that he asked for the homework (children gave him apples), he disciplined a student (George, the terrible), while the teacher was explaining the Geography lesson, in context (he was using the paper of the day), his students were doing everything thinkable, anything but paying attention to the teacher. Students went to the break-time (the patio got completely dirty) and returned from it very reluctant. The class restarted and as the student couldn't answer a very simple spelling question (how to spell the word CAT), he cheated from his classmate and even cheating he couldn't give the right answer because, as the students who don't study ever, he wass not competent even to cheat correctly! The students were avid to go away but the teacher stayed after the period, to organize the classroom before he left. At the end of the day, a father went to school to question the teacher's position, but this father didn't even listen to the teacher arguments because in his opinion the teacher was definitely wrong. So, why, on earth, would he waste his time with a chat? And after all that, the teacher was correcting the student's tests.
     Of course lots of things have changed, such as the school structure and the technology influence, but we can observe that there are also lots of things that still remain the same. If we don't consider the good-morning-teacher song, could we really say that the 50's teachers are different from us? We are always confiscating cell phones in the classroom, we strive to prepare a classes and lessons with a contextualized approach, when it's possible, we give our best to educate (or discipline) the students and many of us work a lot of hours after our class, in the school events. Related to parents, I think I don't need to write a word. It is obvious that we have great teacher who receive very good salary, work in a supportive school and have an amazing relationship with his/her students. But unfortunately we know that we can't generalize, the great majority faces a very different situation. If being a teacher has become such a hard job, how come we still have people insisting in doing it? That's one of the great mysteries of the universe. Inner calling, (vocation), love, promise, lack of choice and others. Each one has his/her own reason, but there is no doubt... children from the 50's are very different from our kids nowadays and if we do want to keep the learning process effective, things must be changed, urgently! But the changes must be done for better, always!  As Nelson Mandela said once: "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." So, taking into consideration the conflicts around the globe and how people are growing apart lately, education is more than necessary...it has become a very valuable commodity.

Post Question: Are you satisfied with your classes in our school? If you could change something about it, what would you like to change? After watching the video and reading the post, write about the similar and the different points between your classroom nowadays and Goofy's classroom.
Tip: How are you going to celebrate Teacher's Day this year? Would you like to have some tips? Take a look at these suggestions - the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th are just great! Get inspired!

domingo, 30 de setembro de 2012

Left or Right - Could it be both?


The Uses of Right-Brain, Left-Brain Theory
     In 1981, the Nobel Prize in Physiology (or Medicine) was divided and one of its winners was Roger Wolcott Sperry (August 20, 1913 – April 17, 1994) for his discoveries concerning the functional specialization of the cerebral hemispheres. His split-brain researches contributed greatly to understanding the lateralization of brain function.
     Have you ever heard people saying that they tend to be or to do things more in this than in that way? So, according to the theory of left-brain or right-brain dominance, each side of our brain controls different characteristics, different types of thinking and although everybody uses the two hemispheres, one predominates over the other. 
     Some of the abilities that are popularly associated with the right side of the brain include:
being passionate, expressing emotions, music, color, images, intuition, creativity. On the other hand, the left-side of the brain is associated with other abilities, such as: language, logic, critical thinking, numbers, reasoning. Knowing which one is your predominant side could be very helpful, because understanding your strengths and weaknesses in certain areas can help you develop better ways to learn and study. For example, according to the educator Kendra Cherry in her article written to about.com.psychology, the students who have a difficult time following verbal instructions (often cited as a right-brain characteristic) can benefit from writing down directions and developing better organizational skills.
Felipe and his twin brother, Bruno - both are scientifically musical.
     But can both sides work together to enhance our abilities at the same time? Can people be very good at left-brain and right-brain abilities? The answer is a huge YES. Logic (from the left side) and music (from the right side) has been working together for a long time, it has being connected to the scientific temperament. The 18th century French mathematician Joseph Louis Lagrange proclaimed that he work best to the sound of music. Einstein’s vocational devotion to the violin is legendary. And we can have some very good examples at our school - the teachers from the exact subjects are the most music gifted, for example, teachers Dilza (Physics) and Rose (Math) sing very well, teacher Felipe (Physics) plays classic guittar so beautifully and teacher Wagner (Chemistry) sings and also plays guitar very well. Recent research has shown that abilities in subjects such as math are actually strongest when both halves of the brain work together. You can read about it here. So, being left-brained or right-brained is just a detail, the most important is keeping your brain thinking positively, working and being healthy. it was made to be used...well used, by the way!

Post Question: According to your opinion, are you right or left brained? Why? Which are your talent(s)? Which talent(s) don't you have but, if you could, you would like to have?

Tip: Are you sure about your characteristics? Are you left-brained or right-brained? If you want to know, try to do this test and get your result.

quinta-feira, 27 de setembro de 2012

The 10 Strengths of The Soul - by Leo Fraiman

     Completing the school series of lectures, Leo Fraiman presented the 10 Strengths of The Soul speech, which was very inspiring (and funny too!). I loved when he said that some time ago, the little girls used to play with their mother's clothes (I remembered myself doing it), but nowadays the mothers are the ones who want to wear their daughter's clothes. Unfortunately it's true! On the long run...it won't be a good example to our teens and chances are that they are keep reproducing this and others inconvenient behavior! As he said, teenagers want their parents to be parents, the ones who will be their friends but will also give them limits and support for the problems they will face during this period. They don't want parents to be their BFF (best friends forever) because they have tons of them in the school and in the social networks. Parents influence in their children's character.
The character and integrity are not born with man, they must to be formed. Both, school and parents can contribute to this formation, but parents' role is absolutely crucial. To help our teens, he suggested we could follow the 10 strengths of the soul, which are:
1st - Intuition = faculty of knowing or sensing without the use of rational processes. It can be a very good guide when we allowed it. Deep in our heart, we know what we have to do, we just need to listen to it.
2nd - Reason = the basis or motive for an action, decision, or conviction. We go and we do...we act...but we must complete the sentence: "I do it because of...." - of what?
3rd - Attitude = the way a person views something or tends to behave towards it, often in an evaluative way. Attitudes can be positive or negative, the choice is yours. 
4th - Love = is what brings sense for all our attitudes and actions. If love is not involved in your daily basis, nothing will have a true meaning and it will be a waste of time and energy.
5th - Steadfastness = to be firm in belief, determination. You will find obstacles, but they are there just to be overcome.

6th - Harmony = agreement in feeling or opinion; accord. It's a pleasing combination of elements in a whole, which brings peace to our soul and the nice feeling of being doing the right thing.                               7th - Initiative = the power or ability to begin or to follow through energetically with a plan or task energetically. It's an introductory step towards the direction you decided to take, an opening move.
8th - Perspective = the proper or accurate point of view or the ability to see it. It brings objectivity to your project and promotes analysis.
9th - Action = an organized activity to accomplish an objective. It's necessary to do something to keep you in the track of your objective.
10th - Spirituality = relating to the spirit or soul and not to physical nature or matter. It's the connection to a high purpose of life.

Post Question:
What topics would you like to have a lecture about? Is there someone you would like to invite to be a guest speaker in our lecture series? Did you attend the Leo Fraiman's lecture? What did you like most in the lecture? About the 10 strength of the soul, which one do you think is the most important? Which one are you good at?

Tip: Take a look at the Abhay Kulkarni's presentation about his "10 strengths". Do you have something in common with him?

terça-feira, 25 de setembro de 2012

Entrepreneurship and The Girl from Silicon Valley

The students of the financial education course from EducaFin, some teachers and the principal of Colégio Eduardo Gomes attended the Bel Pesce's speech "How Entrepreneurship Can Change Your Life".  Her testimony and her career is a great example that when we really want, we can!
Among many examples and situations narrated by her, I'd like to highlight two important points for both: your financial life and your student life.

1º) The question of error. Bel Pesce is a successful entrepreneur nowadays, but as she said, there is still a lot to learn and to do. She managed to be admitted at MIT, she studied Engineering, Business and Economics there, she worked at Microsoft and Google and she owns a company in Silicon Valley.
But to get to where she has been now, it has taken a lot of willpower, commitment and above of all, a great desire of learning from the mistakes made. Unfortunately the error is still seen as a mortal sin. This attitude brings such a heavy burden for the person who committed it that there are some people who are not even able to recover themselves. Others can not learn from their own mistakes and because of it, they can not move on. Mistakes are just a learning opportunity, an important lesson to be assimilated, an obstacle to be overcome, an obstacle that will no longer be a hindrance when you come to face it again. The error shows what should be improved by giving you the opportunity to correct it and do better next time.
Financially intelligent people know that the problem is not losing your money when you invest it, but it will be a big trouble if you don't know how to come back to the game and recover your money. Robert Kyosaki said "Don't be addicted to money. Want to Learn. Don't work for money Work for knowledge. Kids leave school addicted to money. Shouldn't they be addicted to learning?"

2º) Think creatively. Be an entrepreneur. How? Start being a good observer. First identify a need and then think about why it is a necessity and how this need could be remedied. Create a product or service to meet that demand. Make any necessary adjustments to an increasingly wide acceptance. Dare and stay tune to opportunities. According to Robert Kyosaki "When preparation meets opportunity, the result is success." So, be prepared! Bel Pesce was and you should be too! She got the opportunity when she met her partner and both founded "Lemon". Study and think out of the box. Do your lessons but go beyond it, do more! Bel Pesce started her speech saying that she likes to study and called herself a nerd. And she is proud of it and again, you should be too! So, it's easy to understand the reason why she got where she is now and for sure, much more is yet to come!
Remember: Don't be afraid of making mistakes, think creatively and move yourself!

Post Question: What are you most afraid of? Being totally sincere, are you addicted to get good marks or are you addicted to learning? What's your favorite subject? Why? Are you creative?


Tip: If you want to read Bel Pesce's book, you can get it in the school library (just ask Rosa or Rita) or you can download it here. Enjoy it! 

terça-feira, 18 de setembro de 2012

Forgive...and forgot - can you do it?

And why should we forgive? I like this explanation:

      But we know that on our day by day things are not so easy and maybe the forgiving process can take a while. The singer Adele went through an experience where forgiveness was required. By the way, forgiveness was only necessary if she took into consideration what was told about her. If she didn't bother about what Karl Lagerfeld said, there was absolutely nothing to be forgiven.
     The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as "to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offense or debt". In other words it means free pardon and forget it! 
      Forgiveness has been a topic largely studied by religions and most recently, by medicine.  Studies show that people who forgive are happier and healthier than those who hold resentments. So, if you want to forgive someone (and for your good health, you should do it) but don't know how to start the forgiving process, don't worry, you're not alone. And there is also the other side, people who want to be forgiven. Some of them want it so badly that try to do something to make it up. Sometimes it can work, but unfortunately it can also make the situation getting worse and worse. 
So the big doubt is: what should I do - to forgive or to be forgiven? 
     To help you and lots of people who are interested in this process, Dr. Ned Hallowell, psychiatrist and author of the book "Dare to Forgive" developed four basic steps to forgive others. Have you got interested? Take a look at the tip below.  After that, click here to read this story about the singer Adele and the fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. Enjoy your reading and answer the post question. 

Post question: First of all, answer the question at the end of the article you read about Adele and Lagerfeld. If you were Adele, would you forgive him? Why? Could he make it up? Have you developed any strategy to forgive people? What is it?

Tip: Read about the Dr. Ned Hallowell's four basic steps to forgive and give it a try, why not?

quinta-feira, 30 de agosto de 2012

Are fairy tales too scary for today's children?


       "Are fairy tales too scary for today's children?" That question was asked in the British newspaper Daily Mail and it was also answered when they wrote "Parents admit they refuse to read classics to youngsters". (you can read the complete article here)
        According to the article, parents are not reading the tales of Rumpelstiltskin or Rapunzel to their children because it includes kidnapping. Goldilocks and the Three Bears tolerates stealing, Little Red Riding Hood is too upsetting for children because the Big Bad Wolf eats the little girl’s grandmother and Cinderella, a young woman who does the household chores, is considered outdated. 
        Maybe Hans Christian Andersen, Brothers Grimm and even Monteiro Lobato are being misunderstood. I'm quite sure that when they wrote their stories, they didn't mean to cause any kind of disturbing feelings. Andersen said once that the tale "The Ugly Duckling" in fact was based on himself. Andersen was a tall, ugly boy with a big nose and big feet, and he was cruelly teased and mocked by other children. But, as an adult he become the most famous Danish writer, beloved for many children all around the world until today, respected by the royalty and his legacy is priceless. His life, as well as the tale he wrote, is an extremely motivating story, demonstrating that it is worth moving forward despite difficulties. Nowadays parents can be in favour of more modern books, but we can't forget that the old ones were written in a different time, reflecting the mores of that society. And for sure, they must be respected. Unfortunely it seems that some people have not taken this into consideration. Monteiro Lobato was accused of being prejudiced and in the opinion of the National Education Council (CNE), the book "Hunting of Pedrinho" should be banned in public schools because of its racist content. It's absolutely unbelievable! 
Depriving our children of these books for being too disturbing but let them watch the current TV programs seems a big contradiction. What a pity!

    
     Post Question: What's your favorite Fairy Tale? Why do you like it most? Should parents keep on reading the Fairy Tales for children or not? Why?

     Tip: Take some minutes (8') and watch the Disney's 1939 version of Andersen's Ugly Duckling.

quarta-feira, 22 de agosto de 2012

Mediocrity - a lecture by Mario Sergio Cortella


      According to the Oxford Advanced Learner's Encyclopedic Dictionary (p. 559, 1992):
- mediocre: /adj./ not very good, second-rate. 
- mediocrity: me·di·oc·ri·ty  noun pl. me·di·oc·ri·ties
1. [U] quality of being mediocre    
2. [C] person eho is mediocre in ability, personal qualities, etc. ex. a government of mediocrities
      The school is sponsoring a series of lectures to promote not only a reflection on the topics presented, but also for the integration of the students' families and the school itself. The professor and philosopher Mario Sergio Cortella was one of the guest speakers of this lecture series and he spoke about "Educação e gestão do conhecimento - um desafio urgente" (Education and knowledge management - an urgent challenge). 
         I was very happy to have attended the lecture because what was said by Professor Cortella is exactly what I had said to the students at the beginning of this semester. He said that we should always do our work, whatever it is, with great passion, zeal and care. We must do the best we can, always. It doesn't matter if it's a household chore, a noodle dish with a leaf of basil for garnish (example that was made by his mother) or the homework. The best should be done, in any situation!
         People, who are not used to do their best, are usually doing the tasks just for the sake of having they done, nothing else. And doing it, they are not feeling completely satisfied because their work is not being appreciated, they are not inspiring others to do their best and the worst, they are not even being a good example for their family and friends. They are being mediocre, they are just acting like the average. Don't let that your attitudes make you trapped in mediocrity. People who do their best, sooner or later, are always rewarded for their efforts. And remember, worry about doing your best because you are your greatest adversary! If there is competition, it is you against yourself! Right now, the world needs people who care about doing their better to improve the quality of living of the whole planet.

Post Question: What activity are you really good at? What topics would you like to have a lecture about? Is there someone you would like to invite to be a guest speaker in our lecture series? Did you attend the Cortella's lecture? What did you like most in the lecture? 

Tip: Read the Donald Latumahina's blog, from Indonesia. He wrote the post "Avoiding Mediocrity: Do You Dare to Be Different?" with five questions to help you to check if you are trapped in mediocrity or if you excel for excellence.


terça-feira, 14 de agosto de 2012

To lie or not to lie - that is the question!

       Besides the Anglo booklet material, the 3ºEM students are also working with texts from one of the most prestigious American magazine, Newsweek. The great advantage of being using this material is the fact that we are always reading about current issues, connecting us to what is happening in the world. One of the chosen articles was written by Samar Halarnkar and it offers information about a study of Cornell University and University of Wisconsin-Madison coauthored by Catalina Toma that examined the lying of individuals on online dating websites. (You can read it here).
      Some lies are considered very inoffensive and are called "white lies". A white lie can be excused because it does not cause great harm. For example: you praise the dinner that your aunt made for you with love just to make her happy, even if not so tasty.
   Lies have always been present in human's life but nowadays people usually feel more comfortable to lie on Internet. The others can't see you or they can't properly check the information you have given. There is this hope that when the truth comes up, they will be involved a lot to care about the "details". 
        But we must take care, lying can also bring lots of confusion and sometimes even pain. What can be a simple lie for you, may be something more complex for others. When in doubt, always tell the truth ...because sooner or later, the lie will be revealed.

Post Question: What was the last "white lie" you have said lately? Have you ever lied on Internet? Do you agree to the idiom: "All's fair in love and war" (No amor e na guerra, vale tudo)

Tip: Do you know what the most common "white lies" are? Check this website and find out.

terça-feira, 7 de agosto de 2012

Back to school and the challenge of a creative period!


      Back to school! The second semester has just begun and for some of you will be the last one here in our school.
      Let's do the best we can to really make the most of it! This period is a little bit shorter than the first semester, so it demands us more efforts to do the same things (or sometimes even more things) with less time than we had before. And if it sounds kind of scared for some ones, I'm sure that for others it's a pretty good challenge.
      Challenges can be very motivating. Instead of being complaining about the lack of time and the great amount of work to be done, we can use all our creativity to develop strategies which will help us facing this period without so many worries and stress.
     Planning our day, asking for help when it's necessary and when we don't know exactly what to do, exchange your ideas with our friends, getting up a little bit earlier and have an agenda to take note about all the homework, activities, tests and excursions you will participate, are also good tips to keep things on track.
     All your dedication and hard work will be rewarded later, for sure! Study now and on the first week of December you will be in our school just to start celebrating all the festivities of the end of the year, wishing Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas to your friends and teachers.
     Many resources are available at school to help and mainly inspire you to do your best, so there is no excuse for a sloppy work! Dare to be creative! Use your creativity and don't be afraid of being wrong! "NOW" is the time and "HERE (the school)" is the place where you can be wrong and make mistakes because you are here exactly to learn. And we can learn a lot through our trials and errors; we just need to have the good will of keep on learning, always!

Post Question: How do you study? Do you have any strategy to improve your performance? What subject do you like to study? If you could, what would you like to change in our school that you think it would help students to study more?

Tip: Read the post (click here) written here some months ago. You will find a link to some very good tips from the ACE (Academic Center of Excellence) of the University of Illinois, at Chicago, to help you to study better and better! 



segunda-feira, 30 de julho de 2012

Project: 365-day Vacation


     Our vacation is coming to an end... and I do hope you have had a great time. If your "great time" was really so "great", maybe the thought on the left is exactly for you! After being in a let's-to-do-all-in-three-day trip in Brasília, after working in the winter festival in Campos do Jordão and after being in a one-week congress in São Luís, in Maranhão...I think this thought could be perfectly mine! I do need a vacation from my vacation! But as this option is totally off the table, I'll try to do the better I can to recover myself. A good night of sleeping, a massage and some time with my family will do the trick!
But there is something that will really make a difference this year. I got a very nice tip and I'll pass it on to you. Would you like to be on a 365-day vacation? I know this sounds good, although you could get a little bit bored, but...
So, if you think it's a good idea, you could do it! And please, again, don't get me wrong...I'm not telling you to be absent from school...not at all. It just means that during the period that you are not on vacation, you could do something you would do if you were on vacation, even if you do it for just some minutes. You could walk barefoot, drink some typical beverage, listen to some local music from where you have been (on vacation), eat special food (try to cook something), dance a different rhythm (even if you do it alone...in fact I think that's better) or do some activity that brings you joy. Doing it, no matter that it will be for just some minutes, it will be the "vacation" from your day. You will have a feeling that the vacation period may have come to an end, but it will be with you every day...just waiting to be all day again!

Post Question: What did you really enjoy doing this vacation? Do you think you could do it again, even not being on vacation anymore? Could you adapt it to be done again while you are studying at school? What do you think you could do during your day to feel that vacation is still around here?

Tip: Talk to your friends or family about it. You will be surprised with some curious and creative suggestions they will give you!


quinta-feira, 26 de julho de 2012

64ª SBPC - a ciência como ferramenta contra a pobreza


      "Teve início na noite deste domingo (22), em São Luiz do Maranhão, a 64ª Reunião Anual da Sociedade Brasileira para o Progresso da Ciência (SBPC). No momento em que o Brasil celebra a última década com 28 milhões de pessoas fora da margem da miséria, o mais importante encontro científico da América Latina tem como proposta para o debate, a ciência como ferramenta contra pobreza que, no país, ainda acomete 16 milhões de habitantes". (Por Daiane Souza).
      Com esse tema, não é à toa que o estado escolhido foi o Maranhão. O Nordeste brasileiro tem a maior concentração de pobreza extrema, sendo que o estado com o maior índice de pobreza é Alagoas, seguido de perto pelo Maranhão. Os dois se alternam na primeira posição. Mais da metade dos habitantes de ambos os estados sobrevivem com menos de 12,5% do salário mínimo por mês. Levando-se em consideração que nesse país, "tudo o que se planta dá", trabalho e comida deveriam ser fatores mais que presente diariamente na vida do povo brasileiro. E é claro, tudo isso acompanhado de uma boa educação, para conduzir a população a um crescimento contínuo e duradouro. Quem sabe um dia... Por isso a importância desse encontro e tantos outros que já foram realizados e que ainda realizar-se-ão. Esperamos que as ideias possam sair do papel e das apresentações e beneficiar de fato quem tanto precisa delas.
     Mas nem só de discussão sobre ciência, tecnologia e combate a pobreza será feita a SBPC de São Luís. O conhecimento cultural também está em pauta! Visita a lugares históricos, música regional, dança e teatro fazem parte de muitas das atrações que serão apresentadas no UFMA.
       Entre uma palestra e outra, uma mesa redonda e outra, nós conseguimos um tempinho para visitar o centro histórico da cidade mais francesa do Brasil e conhecer suas famosas casas com as fachadas feitas de azulejos portugueses. De fato é muito interessante porque não estamos acostumados a ver azulejos em fachadas e sim nos banheiros das casas. Diferente, porém bonito e harmonioso. Graças a sua história, importância e beleza, em 1997, São Luís foi tombada pela Organização das Nações Unidas para a Educação, a Ciência e a Cultura como Patrimônio cultural da Humanidade. 
Porém não é só o lugar que se torna um patrimônio, as pessoas que compõe o lugar exercem uma grande influência também! São elas que determinam as cores, os cheiros e os sabores do lugar, dando vida à cidade e chamando nossa atenção para detalhes que se tornam relevantes em nossa memória. Aqui experimentamos o "abricó" (o nome me lembrou de damasco em inglês - apricot) mas definitivamente não era damasco. Acredito que ambas as frutas sejam da mesma família. O sabor é gostoso e nem foi preciso insistir muito. Foi só provar e eu já comprei algumas para levar. O sabor doce da fruta se misturava com o amargo causado por perceber um certo descaso do poder público para com uma cidade tão importante. No caminho de volta pra casa, fica a esperança de que de fato a ciência e a tecnologia possam colaborar para trazer o cuidado e a atenção que São Luís merece!





terça-feira, 10 de julho de 2012

Computer X Vacation

     Do you shut down your computer when you go on vacation or you are the ones who believe that computers don't go on vacation?
      Some people go to travel and they can freak out if there isn't a Wi-Fi available at the hotel or if the service is available but it doesn't work very well. 
      In fact, it is one of the decisive factors to choose a hotel for them. Going on vacation without your cell phone is absolutely unthinkable! (how could people go on vacation later...it is a mystery!)  And I know your mother maybe is keep saying to you to turn down your computer and go out to have some sun. And don't get me wrong...I totally agree to her. But just for a while, read this excerpt of the article that was published in The New York Times in 1982 (yes, in 1982...this topic is as old as computer invention).

"WHAT did you do on your summer vacation? It's the sort of question most of us still ask each other despite its banality in the hope that we will receive an interesting reply. It rarely happens.
On the other hand, there are summers like that of David Bolocan and Raymond King, both 18 years old. They were graduated from high school in June - Mr. King from the Bronx High School of Science, Mr. Bolocan from Hunter College High School - and it would not have been amiss (inappropriate) for them to swim, loaf, take trips and prepare lazily for college, Mr. Bolocan for Harvard and Mr. King for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
What they did instead was create, promote and operate computer training courses, earning $6,000 in about six weeks. As for the money, Mr. Bolocan said, ''Some of it we'll use for school, but the rest we'll put back into the business.''
Their summer plans developed in late May and early June, according to Mr. King. ''We began thinking about what we wanted to do when we left school,'' he said. ''We had taken computer courses, and we knew enough about them to know that we could develop something.'' Both young men had Apple II computers, a total of four between them, in their homes."

So, you can read the complete article here and tell the story to your mother...perhaps it will not convince her, but it's a starting point, isn't it?

Post Question: What have you done so far in your vacation? Could you be able of spending your vacation without being connected to your computer or internet? How would you feel if you have travelled to a place where there wasn't a remote possibility to access internet?

Tip: Remember to take all the necessary components to keep your computer working. The battery can not last for all your vacation... if you will take it on vacation too!!!

segunda-feira, 2 de julho de 2012

VACATION TIME!

      Finally our vacation period is just starting... 30 days to rest, enjoy, do nothing (or everything), spend some great and quality time with family and friends and keep mind in all the subjects that are very interesting to us! Beach or countryside? Reading or going out? Spending money or saving for later? Studying or forgetting? Whatever you have decided, keep in mind that planning your vacation will help you to get the most of this period so awaited. Some people are going to travel; others are going to be around here, going to the cinema or visiting some exposition. No matter what you are going to do, since you have a lot of fun in doing it. Vacation is a period for having good moments which will become very good memories. And to be sure you are going to remember the details, all forms of registering it is indicated. Take many photos, write a special vacation diary (there are some useful notebooks which were made especially for you write down about your trip. They even bring some good tips for your traveling plan), write a blog about it or start a postcard collection. Again, whatever you do, remember:
- don't forget to register it;
- it will help you (especially some time later), to remember your nice experience.  
        Some teachers (Armando and Patrícia) and I will attend the 64th SBPC in São Luís do Maranhão. I'll write more about it later. And, if by any chance, you decide to study a little bit and some doubts come up, don't worry! You can contact me by e-mail or a message in the blog. So, have fun and see you on August!

Post Question: What's your favorite vacation activity? What do you intend to do during this month?

Tip: Visit Campos do Jordão and attend one of the most important, famous and elegant  winter festival we have in Brazil. 

sábado, 30 de junho de 2012

Once upon a time...

...a long, long time ago, in the far away kingdom, there were a queen and a king... or should I say THERE IS a queen and a king!
We have already listened many fairy tales which started like this and all of them are still in our imagination. But this is very real for some countries around the world. It may have started a long, long time ago, but the queen or the king still keep on being a very important (even political) figure.
Some kingdoms and monarchies of the world include Belgium, Brunei, Cambodia, Japan, Kuwait, Monaco, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Thailand and others. But no one is as famous around the world as the British kingdom. The royal family is always on the news and they have a fascination which attracts everyone's attention. Why it happens? Nobody knows for sure and probably there isn't just one reason for that, but one fact may have contributed a lot greatly to approach royalty and their subjects.

In September 1939, World War II broke out and the Royal family kept on living in England during the war. That time, the two princesses, Margareth and Elizabeth (who is the queen today) were suggested going to Canada. But they’d rather stay.  Elizabeth's mother made the famous reply: "The children won't go without me. I won't leave without the King. And the King will never leave the country.” She couldn’t help being in England, so the Royal Family remained at the Windsor Castle. In a very difficulty moment in the nation history, his sovereign gave an example of courage and consideration for his people.
Unfortunately, we didn't have the same example...and we aren't a monarchy anymore! Of course the royal family doesn't have 100% of approval, (hardly any government has 100% approval), but the ones who like the royal family, truly like  them and show their feelings. A good example of it was the celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Lots of people celebrated it (and are still celebrating it) in England and around the world. How possibly could it be explained? I really don't know, but it reminded me the famous Abraham Lincoln's quote "the government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." When the ones who have the power over a nation (political, moral or any other kind of power) do their homework, the people learn not only to respect them but also to have faith and hope in the future.

Post Question: Brazil is not a monarchy anymore. Would you like that our country had kept the royal family acting until today in our country? Why?
Who is (or was) your favorite British royal family member? Why?

Tip: To learn more, visit the official website of the British Royal Family. (Just click below)

The offical website of The British Monarchy


quinta-feira, 21 de junho de 2012

It's TEA TIME!


We all know that a little pause in the afternoon for a cup of tea and some snacks (sweet and salty) is a nice and delicious habit. In our school, students and teachers have a 20-minute break in the morning and in the afternoon. In the morning; milk, coffee and chocolate are served in the teachers' room. But in the afternoon, at half past three (15h30m), the milk gives way to tea and between one chat and other, the teacher can enjoy a good cup of tea and whole-wheat bread with butter, jam or cream cheese.
But having tea in the afternoon is not only a habit among EG teachers. A good cup at tea, precisely at 5 o´clock, is a well-known British tradition – the famous 5 o’clock tea.
According to the site Historic UK, the afternoon tea was introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840. The Duchess would become hungry around four o'clock in the afternoon. The evening meal in her household was served fashionably late at eight o'clock, thus leaving a long period of time between lunch and dinner. The Duchess asked that a tray of tea, bread and butter (some time earlier, the Earl of Sandwich had had the idea of putting a filling between two slices of bread) and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon. This became a habit of hers and she began inviting friends to join her.
As time goes by, this pause to the afternoon tea became a social event, which was considered very fashionable. Tea was served with very dainty sandwiches and special sweets and cakes, in a very exquisite silver tea pots and delicate chine cups.
Although the healthy habit of drinking tea still persists nowadays, it has changed through the decades and the afternoon tea in the suburban home in England (or at teachers' room in our school) is just a mug of hot water with a teabag (it is usually an herbal teabag, here) and some biscuit, bread or a slice of cake. For the Duchess of Bedford, it would be a sacrilege!
But if you want to have a genuine 5 o’clock tea, don’t worry, you can get it. The London’s finest hotels offer the most unforgettable afternoon tea experience you could have. Some of them are: Claridges, the Dorchester, the Ritz and the Savoy, as well as Harrods and Fortnum and Mason.
Indulge yourself!

Post Questions - Do you like to drink tea? Which one is your favorite? How often do you drink it? If you could, who would you like to invite to have a 5 o’clock tea with you in one of the London hotels or tearooms? Why?

Tip: There are some nice places around here where you can drink some tea or coffee (our most traditional beverage). It's not a 5 o'clock tea in a London's Hotel, but you can have some fun, for sure. Click here and you'll have a list of these places to visit with your friends or family (or both).