segunda-feira, 25 de fevereiro de 2013

Japan is here!

        Yesterday, some students and I could visit Japan without going out of São Caetano do Sul. We had the great opportunity of participating in a event at our school sponsored by Rotary International, the Forum For Peace. The Forums have taken place in Berlin (Germany), Honolulu (Hawaii), and there will be a forum in the city of Hiroshima (Japan) in May. 
          We participate in various workshops, such as:
- Ikebana (flower arrangement), 
- Manga (a kind of Japanese comic book style ), 
- Shodo (the traditional Japanese writing), 
- Furoshiki (the art of using scarves to create a kind of purse (a bag) able to load whatever it takes) and 
- Origami (the very famous Japanese art of folding)
          All of them were very interesting and helped us to learn more about the Japanese culture, one of the richest culture in the world.  I really enjoyed the Furoshiki workshop because it was completely new to me! It's very simple, practical and charming! Today I used it to carry my bottle of water to the classroom! And just by curiosity, did you know that the largest Japanese community outside Japan is in Brazil? The largest concentration of Japaneses are in the states of São Paulo and Paraná. The first Japanese immigrants arrived in Brazil in 1908 and since then, they have shared not only their culture, but also their own way of being - what a great present for us! Each one of us had our names written in the Japanese way at the Shodo Workshop and after that we requested the Japanese elderly lady to write one more sentence for us: "We are family!" She kindly did it and she is showing this sentence in the photo below. I just hope all of us are showing our "names" in the right position too!

Post Question: Are you familiar with the Japanese culture? What aspects of Japanese culture do you like best? If you could choose one of the workshops at the event that was held yesterday (Ikebana, Mangá, Shodo, Furoshiki e Origami), which one would you like to participate in? Why?

Tip: Take a Quiz about Japan Culture and check how much you know about it. Don't forget to write down your score and to check the right answers. Besides the quiz, there are also some very interesting facts about Japan. Just click here.
And if you want to learn hoew to make the Furoshiki knot, Just click here and watch the video. Have fun!

sexta-feira, 22 de fevereiro de 2013

Moodle stands for:


               It's a free software created in 2001 by Martin Dougiamas, an Australian educator and a computer scientist, whose research for a master's degree and Ph.D led him to develop the set of online tools that would become Moodle. This new concept is a system of administration of educational activities, enabling the creation of virtual environments, where teachers and students can interact to each other and to other students in online communities. Developing the collaborative learning, it allows and motivate, in a very simple way, a student or a teacher integrate, studying or teaching in an online course. I can say it's motivating because we used this virtual enviroment during the classes, last year, with students from the 1st grade of our high school level, and we had a positive result. It was so positive that even after the end of our classes, teacher and students kept on meeting and exchange activities, opinons and ideas during the vacation period. 
              I know it can sound a little bit strange, but it really happens. Students  uploaded
their homework, posted the photo of their pets, suggested places to other students go, commented about the end of the world and they even created a campaing entitled "Fica Rafinha" (Stays at school Rafael), because Rafael, one of the students from 1ºE said that his father would change him from school because it's too far from his house. (Indeed, it's really too far!) But apparently the campaign got good results...Rafael is still here, studying with us and using our moodle again! This is the front page of our class-vacation course. (It was programmed to end on December 7th, but it was extended uo to February 18th.
               In coloquial language, the verb "moodle" in English describes the process of browsing for something unpretentious, while other things are done at the same time. We really could certify this definition because it was exactly the feeling that we had...students were browsing on Internet, completed their moodle task while they were doing other for example...being on vacation! After all, you can be on vacation, but education does not take vacations. It was a very grateful experience! Thanks to all of you! 

Post Question: Do you know the Moodle environment? Have you ever used it? If yes, describe your opinion about it. What topics or subjects would like to study in our Moodle?

Tip: To have access to our school Moodle, go to this link (just click here) and have fun! You will need your own login and password. If you have any doubt or problem to start your moodle experience, go to the school  computer lab and talk to Marisa.

quinta-feira, 14 de fevereiro de 2013

Carnival - There are "gringos" in the samba!

            Carnival is a very popular celebration in Brazil. Indeed, Carnival, is the most famous holiday in our country and it has become an event of huge proportions. As people use to say, it celebrated from Oiapoque to Chuí (our two most extreme cities). Maybe a great contribution for that is the fact that the country stops completely (even the banks) for at least 4 days (from Friday to Tuesday) and celebrations and parties are really intense, going on day and night, night and day. Carnival should finish on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday because this Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent (= the traditional forty-day period before Easter. As Brazil is a big country, the way people celebrate Carnival varies from region to region. Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and other cities organize parades made up by the samba schools. People get together, compose the main samba-song, (the one that everybody from the school will be singing during the parade), create the costumes, make the choreography and rehearse months before the oficial presentation.
This year, the samba school called Rosas de Ouro, composed a samba song to honor the celebrations around the world...and guess what? Ireland is Ireland is represented by the celebration of St. Patrick's day. The song says:

"By land, sea and sky
Come to travel in this magic
I want to celebrate traditions
(I want) Get lost in the realms of revelry!"
People sang it during the school presentation and the avenue was coloured with green shamrocks and leprechauns. So, as I've written before here in our blog, St. Patrick's Day has become increasingly popular, even here, in Brazil.  So popular that this year is being celebrated in our the "gringos" (foreign people) are officially in the samba!

Post Question: Do you like Carnival? Do you have a favorite samba school? What do you usually do during this four-day holiday? 
Have you ever participated in a Carnival parade? Would you like to participate? What costume did you (or would you) like to wear? 
Tip: Carnival has become a very typical Brazilian party, so sometimes it's difficult to explain it to someone who is out of the context. But how would a "gringo" explain our Carnival? Watch this video (Just click here) made by Discovery channel for a special series "Atlas" and find it out!

sexta-feira, 8 de fevereiro de 2013

We are family, aren't we?

          "We Are Family" is a song that got famous in the Sister Sledge's voice! During our first year, in 2012, the 1ºE was a class made by 9ºD and 9ºE. As the year went by, we had the great opportunity of learning that together we are much stronger! If we want to have a good group, a good class, a good school and even a good nation, we must learn that what we do can affect much more people than we can image. Watch out what you say, what you do and mainly what you think! Your thoughts influence your attitudes. I'm very proud of noticing that after one year, I can see (and feel) that we've been learning that lesson! And now, for our first quarter work, I'd like you to listen to the song and read the lyrics. After that, rewrite the song, adapting the lyrics to our class and our experience of being together. Remember to check the spelling and to upload your work in our Moodle room! And by the way, as you are going to use all your creativity to rewrite the song, what about creating a new coreography? Be bold! (After the "Chicken Dance"...nothing could be more embarassing, believe me!) Enjoy!
(chorus 2x)
We are family
I got all my sisters with me
We are family
Get up everybody and sing

Everyone can see we're together
As we walk on by
(fly!) and we fly just like birds of a feather
I won't tell no lie
(all!) all of the people around us they say
Can they be that close
Just let me state for the record
We're giving love in a family dose

 (chorus 2x)

Living life is fun and we've just begun
To get our share of the world's delights
(high!) high hopes we have for the future
And our goal's in sight
(we!) no we don't get depressed
Here's what we call our golden rule
Have faith in you and the things you do
You won't go wrong
This is our family jewel

(chorus 3x)

domingo, 3 de fevereiro de 2013

Back to School

               Tomorrow will be our first day at school, classes will started and it will be our first step toward to a good year! We know that there are a lot of factors that matter to make this year a really good one, but the majority of them depend on us, exclusively of us! There will be new subjects (for some of you), new topics to be discussed, new technology to be incorporated, new friends, new teachers, new activities and excursions...the only thing that is not new at all is how you are going to deal with it successfully. The key of this success is a good and well done planning. Basically you must have a nice, quiet and clean place where you could study, focused on what you are reading and writing and you must define you study period - just don't forget to alternate it with periods for relax e for other extra-school activities.  If you are going to study for long hours, be sure of having some pauses, even short ones, to refresh your mind and renew your thoughts. Besides that, some tips (like the ones on the rigth) are classical, mainly if you are an English student: "Practice Makes Perfect".
To improve your reading comprehension, you must read and read, you must practice it! And when you do it, you should make the most of your reading, reading it more than once, at least twice. The first one you ca skim the text to get a general idea of what it is about ignoring the details and looking for the main ideas. The second one, paying more attention, you can scan the text, which involves moving your eyes seeking for spefific information, phrases and words, such as the new words that could help you to  make up your own glossary. Doing that, for sure, your "A, B, C" lessons will be easier and even enjoyable. And as Des'ree sings in "You Gotta Be", to face the new challenges of this year: "You gotta be wiser, You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger, You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together... Time ask no questions, it goes on without you, leaving you behind if you can't stand the pace, the world keeps on spinning, you can't stop it, if you tried to." That's true! You must adjust your pace to keep the balance in your life among your studies, your free time, your health and your rest! 

Post Question: Being completely honest, do you like to study? Why? What's your favorite subject? Why do you like it? And what is the subject that it's harder to you to study? Why do you think it's harder than others? Is there anything you think that could be done (in our classes and/or in our school) to improve the learning process? Do you plan your study?

Tip: To get more ten useful tips to help you in your studies, check the ones that the governament of the Autralian state of New South Wales is providing to its public schools. (Just click here).

sábado, 2 de fevereiro de 2013

Parent and Teacher Conference

Last Saturday we had the first parent-teacher conference (reunião de pais e mestres) at our school. A parent-teacher conference is usually a meeting  between parents and teachers of students to discuss their progress at school, to exchange relevant information that may interfere in the student learning process, talk about student's specific strengths and weaknesses and even discuss solutions, together, to behavioral problems. The meeting is important to supplement the information registered on the reported cards.   But this one was different from the other meetings during the year exactly because it was the first one. This meeting is divided in two moments - during the first period, the teachers and all the school staff were presented to parents by our principal. After that there was a lecture about how important is the physical activities and the sports in the academic life of our students. During the second period, parents went to one of the classrooms to have a more specific talk about how school works, what is expected for this year that is just beggining, the school rules, the evaluation system and to answer Some parents' doubts. This one is a many-to-one meeting, in which a group of usually three teachers present the meeting points and it's conducted in a general base. The next meetings will be one-on-one meetings, in which parents can talk confidentially to teachers, allowing a more specific talk about a student in a particular subject.
These meetings are crucial for the helping our students the achieve their best and mainly for us, teachers, to understand the reason some kind of students' attitude. I remember once I got very worried about one student who used to be a very nice and studious girl and suddenlly she changed completely. I tried to talk to her, but it was in vain. Other teachers tried too, but they couldn't get anything from her. Two weeks later, during the Parent-Teacher Meeting, her mother told us that her grandmother had passed away and she was going through a tough period because she didn't accepted that. We, teachers, started working as a group to discuss the topic about death in a very informal and indirect way. After three months, the student came to one of us and opened her heart. Six months later, she was allowed that lovely and studious girl come back again.  The right information at the right time is one of the most powerful tools we have, no matter the area we are in.
So, I'd like to thank all the parents who participated in our first meeting and if you couldn't make it, don't worry, we are going to have at least more three meetings during this year.
Thank you very, very much!
Parents at Eduardo Gomes School
Photo by Katia Veloso

Post Question: Being totally honest, have you ever got very apprehensive, nervous and worried because your parents (or one of them) were going to attend a Parent-teacher Meeting? Why?
If you parents were going to a Parent-Teacher Meeting TODAY, what would you like them to hear from you teacher(s)?

Tip: Read also the school manual. It's very useful and explain many instructions that must be followed by parents and students. Just click here.