Dec 19, 2011

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Book Review: Changing You

I came across this book earlier today at a colleagues house. It was a nice take on puberty, sexuality and adolescence. It was a very matter-of-fact book that discussed the stage and it surely would be a good book to use when kids start transitioning to that stage in their lives. Very nicely written in words that kids can understand :) Highly recommended :)

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Feb 10, 2011

Posted by in Advocacies, Teacher's Corner, Teaching Resources, The Library | 0 Comments

When Little Readers Grow

One of my major advocacies as a preschool teacher, despite the fact I don’t read as much as I used to anymore, is to foster a love for reading in my kids. I feel a little guilty, actually, that lately I am not as able to integrate stories to my lessons as much as I used to, or want to for that matter. Before I would have a story EVERY single day. However now, I tend to have about 2-3 a week. Sigh.

What I try to do, however, is set aside book time everyday for the kids to explore the different books in class. I allow them to have free reign of the books they would like to check out and read during this period. I go around and sit with them and together we go through the book. Often times the books that are in our booktime shelf are those that we had read already, so they are often familiar with the story line. However today, as I sat beside one of my little girls, I couldn’t help but be amazed at how far her reading skills have come :)

isn’t she so cute! hehe. yes, those are real prescription eyeglasses.

Although the book in the picture, I think, is being read from memory, she can now read longer words and has a better grasp over sight words. At times, however, she still relies too much on this, but that’s normal :) Her phonetic mastery is also something she is able to rely on in our spelling games. Scenes like these are definitely going to be among those I will miss a lot pretty soon :)

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Feb 4, 2011

Posted by in Lesson Plans, Teaching Resources, The Library, Tips and Tricks | 2 Comments

Green Eggs and Ham Day!

The other day after our discussion about birds, I finally did one of my all time favorite story stretchers…

Green Eggs and Spam!!! Yey!!! For today I decided to have them color the eggs green first and place them on a nest just for kicks :)

It was a joy to see the kids try to figure out how to hold the eggs and navigate through the shape without cracking or squeezing too hard. Some of them were even brave enough to venture designs in their eggshells :)

Before the actual cooking activity, we went through the book, Green Eggs and Ham then we went on to experimenting on how to make our own version of the dish :)

Since most of my kids are readers already, I also let them take turns reading through the book. To further up the academic difficulty of the task, we also listed down the ingredients and procedure we did, then we went on to charting how many kids liked or did not like our little experiment.

As a finishing touch, we also answered some word problems about it :)

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Dec 6, 2010

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Reawakening the Bookworm

TV. If kids are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they'll have with twenty-six. Open your child's imagination. Open a book. ~Author Unknown

Not too long ago, I was tagged by several people over at Facebook with a note entitled “100 Books” (or something like that). The premise of the note was that majority of people would have been expected to read only an average of six books on that list. Me…um…I didn’t bother to see how many I had read haha.

I’ve never kept it a secret that reading is not my favorite thing in the world, right? Well, math definitely ranks number one as the academic thing I hate most, but reading is not too far down the list. To be fair, however, as a child I liked to read a lot, but the task was always a bit of a chore to me. During my middle childhood to early adolescence, though, books were a refuge for me. Growing up as a fat kid, after all, was not very fun. Add to that the fact that I am quite an introvert and quite picky with the friends I hang out with. Also, the books of my childhood were fun and as I grew up, romantic and idealistic. But then the world happened and work got in the way then things I have to now read are no longer fun so the bookworm in me kinda went on hibernate mode.

However, a few nights ago I was invited to the screening of The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader and out of the blue, that little bookworm in me kinda peeked out a bit :) Yes, admittedly I have not watched the first two installments of the film, nor have I read the series, but after watching the movie, I want to! While some of my friends did not enjoy the film (I honestly can’t fathom why!!! hehe…but, we’re all entitled to our own opinions, right???)  I fell in love with it. In the beginning, I wasn’t so sold on it first, but as it went on, I grew to like it more and more until the very end where I found myself drawn to the story. Add to that the theme song, There’s A Place for Us sung by Carrie Underwood, at the end moved me to tears. Well, that and some other things that happened towards the end of the movie :-)

I truly, truly loved the movie, and I rarely ever say that about a fantasy film. Even though I’m into the whole fairy, synchronicity, signs and energy thing, I always liked my movies to be simple and…errr…real? Actually that’s why I never bothered to watch the first two films but since I’ve been working on trying new things, I figured going to see this movie would be a good thing. NO REGRETS I TELL YA!!! :) Oh…this is also one of those that I will say is so worth seeing in 3D (and yes, I don’t say that very often).

The Chronicles of Narnia, Voyage of the Dawn Treader opened in Digital 3D last Friday, December 3 and opens in regular theaters on December 9, 2010 :)

Yes, C.S. Lewis reawakened my inner bookworm with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader :) Borrow book? :)

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Oct 26, 2010

Posted by in Classroom Escapades, College, Teacher's Corner, Teaching Resources, The Library | 0 Comments

Seeing the Bigger Picture

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs

One of the storybooks I like reading to my undergraduate students is the Scholastic Book The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith. I often use this when discussing the topic cultural sensitivity in my Personal Effectiveness classes. The students love the fact that I read them a kids book in class (although I’d like to think this is an older kids’ type of book :-) ) and I love how the story reminds them to look at the bigger picture when coming up with decisions or making assessments.

I end the discussion by telling them that we are often guided by “traditional fairy tales” we’ve heard in the past, thus we do things mindlessly and draw conclusions that may not be valid or apt for a given situation. Also, I remind them that one reason we always feel so inadequate in our social environments is because of the fact that we allow these stereotypes and assumptions dictate who we are and how we should behave in our world. As such, we fail to see the bigger picture. Perhaps this is why even adolescents now go get plastic surgery and take all sorts of diet supplements and even inject themselves or take pills that have human growth hormones just so they become thinner, taller, whiter, and so on and so forth.What matters most at the end of the day, I like to tell them, is that we like who we are on the inside :-)

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Sep 30, 2010

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What Makes A Family?

One of the topics I don’t really enjoy discussing much in my preschool classes is about family. It’s not that I don’t see the value of family but I feel that at times, I am limited by “traditional” definitions of the family, which is something I don’t feel comfortable with. I remember that as a child (and in the earlier days of studying about the general concept of the family) it would always have the stereotyped description of a family being “Daddy, Mommy, Brother, Sister and Baby”.

Given the changing dynamic of the family structure (and perhaps since I have a non-traditional family myself) I try to be more open about discussing the topic and several kids’ books that have helped my in my discussions are as follows:

  • Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis
  • Amor (Or The Bat Who Thought She Was an Owl) by Mary Ann M. Tobias
  • My Working Mom
  • What Mommies Do Best (back to back with What Daddies Do Best)

Others that I haven’t really read or used myself but are also said to be quite helpful are:

  • Daddy, Papa, and Me (with accompanying Mommy, Mama, and Me) by Leslea Newman
  • William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow

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Sep 22, 2010

Posted by in Multimedia Center, Teaching Resources, The Library | 0 Comments

Story Stretcher: Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See

Yet another one of my favorite preschool stories is Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? written by Bill Martin, Jr and illustrated by one of my all-time favorites, Eric Carle. I have done a lot of fun activities with this, including asking my kids to make their own version of the book after we read it. When I have the chance to, I will scan some of the samples they have done. I love how they can go from real animals to imagined ones and really be able to illustrate this fully.

In the meantime, here’s another video that can surely add to a teachers resources:

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Jul 10, 2010

Posted by in Arts and Crafts, Teacher's Corner, The Library, Tips and Tricks | 2 Comments

My Concept Wall

It’s been over a month since classes started and I realized I still have not posted what my classroom concept wall looks like. With no further ado, here it is!
The caterpillar is actually a recycled one from my Toddlers days but I love it so much I decided to keep it, even if my students don’t really need it. For the calendar, I decided to up the ante by having the kids master the concepts of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

My favorite feature, however, is the reading train. My co-teacher painted that over the summer :-) There are a series of pockets which currently hold our various word lists. An alternative I was thinking of is tracking titles of books we read throughout the month. Fun idea, huh? :-)

Join in and jump aboard the reading train!

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Jul 3, 2010

Posted by in Multimedia Center, Teacher's Corner, Teaching Resources, The Library | 2 Comments

Learning Position Words on P.E. Day

One of the highlights of this week in the Seniors Class was P.E. Day. However, rather than it being a typical P.E. day, I decided to integrate vocabulary building into the activity. Keeping in mind the song “Going on a Bear Hunt”, the kids and I played games that let us go over, under, through and around things!

The kids had a blast! I guess I can say I did too…even though I was dripping with sweat the whole time through since it was quite a warm day. I was huffing and puffing my way through it too, especially since I know I’m not very fit nowadays! The activity was quite a workout! Admittedly,  activities like these sure can beat even the best weight loss supplements in the market! Maybe I should do a little more of these and soon I’d see results…imagine that…teaching kids plus losing weight! Woot!

Anyway, for those not familiar with the song “Going on a Bear Hunt” , here’s how it goes (it comes in different ways, but here’s what I often use)

Going on A Bear Hunt
I’m going on a bear hunt
I’m not afraid!
What’s that?
Tall grass!
Can’t  go under it,
Can’t go over it.
I guess we will have to through it!

I’m going on a bear hunt
I’m not afraid!
What’s that?
It’s a great big tree
Can’t  go under it,
Can’t go through it.
I guess we will have to climb over it!

I’m going on a bear hunt
I’m not afraid!
What’s that?
It’s a bridge
Can’t  go under it,
Can’t go through it.
I guess we will have to walk over it!

I’m going on a bear hunt.
I’m not afraid.
What’s that?
It’s a river!
Can’t go over it
Can’t go under it?
I guess we will have to swim through it!

I’m going on a bear hunt.
I’m not afraid.
What’s that?
It’s a deep dark cave!
Can’t go over it
Can’t  go under it
I think we are going to have to go in it.

I feel something furry!!
It has a big nose!!
What’s that??? (pause)


Run out of the cave
Swim back through the river
Climb back over the tree
Go into the house and slam the door. BAM!!
I wasn’t afraid. Were you?

Check out You Tube too, there are lots of fun versions of it. This is my favorite:

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Jun 18, 2010

Posted by in The Library | 0 Comments

Giving credit where it’s due

In the past few days, I have been thinking about the constructs of being fair, integrity and justice. Strange as this may seem, it is through teaching kids that I am reminded of these. Because of their innocence and bright-eyed optimism, I am reminded to not be jaded and to be open minded about things around us.

That started out as a random thought that came to mind as I drove to school but later on today, I read a Plurk thread from a friend celebrating the quick service he got when getting his NBI clearance and other government issued cards. I jokingly replied: “it’s a PGMA legacy”, a sarcastic throwback at the television ads touting President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s legacy.

I will admit: every single time I see those ads, it riles me up. It makes me sick to my stomach thinking about how her people have the audacity to claim such things.

But then all emotions and disdain for a leader that I dislike aside, I realize that when credit is due, it must be given. Perhaps right now I don’t appreciate it, but maybe somewhere in her administration, she did something right.

While it is hard to see the benefits of the Arroyo administration, more so to appreciate it, it should be done. In the same manner, all the failures must not be overlooked. Although books on public policy and politics aren’t really up my alley, it would be interesting to check out Beating the Odds, a book that takes a look at the state of policy making, decision-making and action-taking in the last nine years under PGMA’s rule. The book gives readers a close-up analysis of several key issues surrounding the country and how the President responded to these challenges.

One of the biggest issues the Presidency faced is the growing budget deficit that continues to debilitate our economy. While issues of corruption and endless evidences of funds gone awry, such as the ZTE broadband deal and the infamous Le Cirque dinner will always haunt her legacy, the book will give readers a look into how she was able to make positive strides in the economic growth of the country.

Another issue tackled by the book is the Mindanao Peace Process and concerns surrounding it. Through her leadership, she was able to forge talks with Moro rebels that contributed to ceasefire agreements that still are in place today. She likewise tried to make strides towards the rehabilitation of war-torn Mindanao.

Other issues tackled in the book include terrorism, threats to her leadership by attempted coup d’etats, the SARS outbreak, and increasing drug threats.

The book promises to be an insightful look at what it is like to be the Chief Executive of a nation and how the Philippine beauracracy works. Readers of this book will likely see a new side of the presidency, governance and our country and perhaps be more aware of the nitty-gritty details of the job.

As for me, I will try not to smirk anymore at the legacy commercials, but I’m not really promising much. I will, however, recognize that when credit is due, to GMA or anyone else in her governance, it should be given.

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Jun 3, 2010

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Books for the Preschool Classroom: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

One of my favorite kiddie books is Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It’s vibrant colors and cute drawings always bring a smile to my face. My kids love it too! It teaches a whole range of concepts from sequencing, days of the week, and in this case, even colors :-) I made this poster a few school years’ ago and it’s still one of my favorite classroom decorations till now :-)

There are a lot of video adaptations of the story on You Tube,  which my kids also love. We were lucky two years ago because right after discussing the story, we chanced upon a real live caterpillar in our school garden and we actually took care of it until it hatched into a butterfly! Talk about a hands-on learning experience! Read about it here.

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May 31, 2010

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Books for the Classroom: William’s Doll

When I first started this blog, I wanted offer various resources and materials that would be helpful to teachers like me. I haven’t really had time to focus on that but starting today (especially since a new school year is starting, I will try to be more consistent with that! Hence, here is a new category that will fall under the library section of this blog, Books for the Classroom

The storybook William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow is a great book to use in class when talking about gender roles and breaking stereotypes attached to it, especially if you have kids who like playing with toys that appear to be gender inappropriate.

The story tells of a little boy named William who asks his mother to give him a doll. Given that he is a boy, his father tried to encourage him to play with trains and other toys for boys, but much as he liked these toys, he still asked for a doll. Finally his grandmother conceded and gave him a doll and when asked why he wanted a doll, William replied that it would be so he can practice being a father.

I’ve used this story several times in my teaching career, and I have even extended the use of this to my college classrooms where I teach social psychology. It is a good way of looking at socially accepted norms and allowing kids to feel accepted despite being “different”.

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May 25, 2010

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On Make-Believing and Pretend Play

As a child, I never once imagined I would become a teacher. If you had asked me what my ambition was, I would have answered it differently every single time, but not once do I recall saying I wanted to teach. I would play dress up and pretend I would be my future self: from my mom’s white blazers as lab coats to lugging around her leather briefcase in pretense that I was a lawyer, I did it all. I even wore tutu’s that were too small for me and imagined I would become a prima ballerina! Whatever it was, I was allowed to explore and try them out. Pretend play and make believe are important learning tools for children that should be harnessed and encouraged. Be it playing with a Barbie doll or wearing high heels, these should not be criticized, limited or ridiculed.

What if it’s a boy who wants to play with a doll, you might ask? Well, the typical response is an adamant “NO!”, right? However, check out the story WILLIAM’S DOLL by Charlotte Zolotow and you might have a new take on it :-)

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May 16, 2010

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OMF Lit Bookshop opens in Quezon City

OMF Lit Bookshop opened it’s latest branch at the upper ground level of the Il Terrazo, Tomas Morato cor. Scout Madriñan, Quezon City last Saturday, May 15. Enjoy up to 20% savings on local and imported titles.

OMF Lit Bookshop can also be found in the following locations:

Mandaluyong | Makati | Parañaque | QC | Cebu (F. Ramos and Banilad) | Davao | Cagayan de Oro | Pampanga

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Apr 16, 2010

Posted by in Teacher's Corner, Teaching Resources, The Library | 0 Comments

Giving books a new life

One of my favorite places to shop in are those Book Sale kiosks or stalls. I love how old books find new homes through these kinds of  stores, especially since brand new books are quite expensive. This is especially true for text books, more so when we are talking about college text books. I know that for the early grades, it’s a little more difficult to recycle text books because of the fact that there are answer sheets that have to be completed after each chapter.

My bookcase is filled with all sorts of old books. A lot of them are textbooks. From Physics to Statistics, Psychology and Biology, the list is endless. My brothers also have their share of old textbooks, and in fact, next week they will be getting a new set for the upcoming school year. There is a solution I can think of, however: Sell textbooks! By selling these old textbooks, I can free up space as well as make money out of something I am not using anymore. Perhaps, donating can also be an option.

Come to think of it, Book Sale also has a  lot of text books available at much lower prices. However, the hassle with Book Sale is the way books are organized in the shelves. It’s kind of hard to see the titles and a lot of times, you only get books by chance. I wish there was an online book center, such as the one here . By going online, it’s easier to find what you are looking for. This site actually gives you the opportunity to sell books too. For more details, check out the faq page.

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Apr 2, 2010

Posted by in Multimedia Center, Teaching Resources, The Library | 0 Comments

Notes from a Wimpy Kid’s Diary

Teaching self-esteem and social skills are probably two of the most difficult concepts to impart. I guess, even learning these two can be tricky at times, what more for a tween or a young adolescent, right?

The movie The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, based on the book with the same title by Jeff Kinney, is a fun and insightful look into a middleschoolers world. It highlights issues and concerns that children between ages 10-16 face, especially as they navigate the tumultuous world known as school.

The struggle for autonomy and establishing one’s identity are two crucial issues that occur at this period of life. Often times, this causes a lot of stress and pressure to a young child’s life. It causes one to question who they are and what they will be in the society they live in. As adults, we tend to think that they are resilient enough to make it through this period, especially if they too went through similar experiences.

Watching that period of life through Greg and Rowley’s eyes, the lead characters who are best friends, reminded me of struggles I went through as a fat kid in 6th grade. I remember how puberty started kicking in then and I was not a very pleasant sight to behold! I recall being the butt of jokes to many of my prettier and slimmer classmates, and though I took it in stride, I realized that this had a long term effect on my life, both in positive and negative ways.

Although I haven’t read the book yet, I believe both the film and the book can be valuable resources for your tweens who are entering that crucial place in their life to help them learn to recognize the value of being true to yourself and loving who you are.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid opens on April 3, 2010 in local cinemas.

photo credit: Wikipedia entry on Diary of a Wimpy Kid (film)

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