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Nov 17, 2010

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The Long Wait is Over! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1) Opens this Week!

By this time, I’m sure Harry Potter fans all over the world are all eagerly awaiting the opening of the latest installment to one of the most beloved tales of our time, Harry Potter. As always, while the film is eagerly anticipated by audiences, critics will undoubtedly point out what the film lacks, especially in comparison to the book, but for viewers like me who truly enjoy the eye-catching spectacle of films, this is something to truly look forward to.

photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1” will be released worldwide starting November 18, 2010, and “Part 2” starting July 15, 2011.

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Nov 12, 2010

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The Downside to Mobile Connections

A few days ago I almost fell off my chair when I got my bill from my mobile subscriber. Um…I have a relatively high budget plan as it is but because of the terrible connection I get from my ISP lately, and the fact that I have gotten so used to going online via mobile, I exceeded my plan a little bit…correction: a lot! Hehe. This got me to thinking about how “dangerous” mobile connections can be. In class, for example, I don’t think I have a single student who does not have one of those mobile phones that has internet capability. Lucky for the students (I guess you can say lucky), the school is wifi-enabled. However, I’m sure many of those who don’t have wifi-capable units will still log on via whatever provider they have.  Not only is this a distraction to their studies (and for us working people, to our work habits!), but it can be a slippery slope to be in, financially that is.

While prepaid options are quite popular for students, I know of some who have those locked-in plans (i.e. T-Mobile cell phone plans or one of those that come with free units,  like those of Sprint mobile phones. Local providers Smart and Globe also give out free phones and packages to subscribers).  In my experience, no matter what you say, it’s difficult to really manage and maintain your spending habits when it comes to mobile telecommunications because one, it is such an essential part of everyday life, and two, it is just way too accessible for all. What I have done, however, to maximize my plans and minimize my expenses is to shift from a regular plan to a consumable one that allows for more flexibility in the way my fees are used (I think this is similar to those Billshrink cell phone plans my sister was messaging me about). Others I know have shifted to the whole Blackberry service thing so they can utilize the BBM feature that (as I understand it) allow you to have unlimited messaging to those with the same service. It does cost a little more though, I think.

While I recognize the value of the whole mobile connection thing, and I honestly don’t see myself becoming less reliant on it to be honest!, I do recognize that there is definitely a downside to this. Again, other than the money thing, it does cause disruption in many ways to our everyday functioning. I guess like any other thing, the key would really to be more aware of it’s pros and cons, and to take things in moderation. Being aware of the downside, for example, will allow us to be more conscious of what we should or should not do.

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Nov 10, 2010

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When Class Projects go Beyond Just the Classroom Walls

One of the things I always try to push for in whatever I do in my classes, be it in the preschool or college levels, is to make sure that what we do in class doesn’t just end there. I try to make it a point that the kids take something away from whatever assignment, project or task I give them. I think this mindset comes from my personal training as a child, where my mom always made sure that I didn’t just do my work for the sake of doing it. I remember one time I had to do a cross-stitch project for my home economics class and I really jumped through hoops to get it done right. While I could have submitted a haphazard project, what I took from that is the value of working hard at something and not settling for mediocrity. Now that I am a teacher myself, I try to keep that mindset alive and so I try hard to support my students (and former students) in endeavors that further their development as an individual. It is interesting (and very encouraging) how former students I have worked with and have since graduated are now venturing into their own businesses, such as that of a group of students who I worked with in their Directed Research class. While they are very busy in graduate school and in their own teaching careers, they are working hard at a side-line business which they call Frosted Petal and this Christmas season, they will be joining several bazaars where they will be selling the cutest  fashion jewelry …yes, I honestly think they’re really cute! I’ve bought from them already! This is just one of the many examples of when classroom tasks go just beyond a learning experience. I look forward to seeing more of my kids maximize their own potentials in the future…now when my preschoolers are the one’s in this position, errr…I’d feel really, really old, but very, very proud for sure!

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Nov 10, 2010

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November 16, 2010 Declared a National Holiday

Earlier today, President Benigno S. Aquino III signed Proclamation No. 60 declaring November 16, 2010 as an official national holiday in observance of Eid’l-Adha of the Islam Feast of Sacrifice. While many may still miss the “let’s-move-the-holiday-to-Monday” habit the former administration had implemented, I personally think that observing holidays on it’s actual days is a good thing…after all, that’s why we honor the date right? But of course…I won’t deny I kinda wish the long weekends :-)

While it may not be a long weekend for most, I’m sure a lot were still glad to have a sudden and unexpected reprieve from the long work week…especially nowadays when traffic is so darned bad!

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Nov 10, 2010

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Today’s Car Disaster

When I first bought my car, my mom jokingly said: I bet in about a week’s time,  the backseat will be full of your stuff again. Um…she was right…sort off! It did take about two years for me to be more careless about it, but yes, my backseat kinda resembles a disaster area more often than not. It’s full of manila papers, test papers, Ziplock bags full of crayons and markers, shoe bags/boxes and other stuff that I use for my many jobs and don’t have time to take in and out of the house on a daily basis. Oh…and since Bubba (my lab) loves going on car rides, the seats are usually full of his fur! That’s why as much as I hate the seat covers that came with the car (it’s too plain and I don’t like the material very much) and while I prefer the actual upholstery of the seats, I still keep it on.

Well, today I discovered a slight disaster in my car seats….it seems that I failed to close the bag of crayons well and a few fell into the seat and because I parked outside the house where it was soooooo hot, the crayon kinda melted. Yep…I have melted crayons on my seat covers. Believe me…it’s so hard to remove!!! This is one of those times I wish I had leatherette seat covers instead (even though it’s not as “classy” and cute as other materials!) because it sure will be a lot easier to clean after accidents such as this!

Seriously though, I think this was a reminder to me that my car…it’s not my classroom! Hehe. So today, I got one of those plastic crate things and put all the school supplies in it and tucked it in my trunk instead :-)

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Nov 4, 2010

Posted by in Classroom Escapades, College, Reflections | 0 Comments

Back In My Time…

In class these past few days, I used the line “back when I….” so many times over I had to literally laugh out loud. Every time I would say it, I would literally chuckle and tell my students that when I hear myself say that, I suddenly feel so very old.  And yes, each time I say that, my students get a good laugh out of it!!! In all honesty, sometimes I forget that things have changed so much from “my time”. I still remember that our “big” issues back then were about whether or not to pluck our eyebrows or what acne products would work best for our skin type and whether or not our hair should be teased or straightened or what not. Today, the issues and concerns are so very different that it’s somewhat overwhelming. I have students as young as 16 or 17 coming to me about feelings that I never felt till I was much older! On one hand, it scares me to bits, on the other, I feel like it’s a good thing. What I’ve realized however, that whether it is back in my time or in my student’s time today, one thing still remains true: that no matter how hard we try, there are just so many things we can’t understand. Hehe. At the end of the day what I am reminded of, and what I tell them all the time, is that it doesn’t really matter why or how things happen, but what counts is what we do with these things that happen.

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Nov 3, 2010

Posted by in College, Reflections, Teacher's Corner | 1 Comment

Dear Students, Part 2.

Hello there Dears,

Yes, it is me again, your teacher.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen this side of me…the side that gets soooo overwhelmed and upset with the fact that no matter how hard I try, I can’t not let your behavior get to me. And like last time, I find myself so frustrated with things that happened in class and I thought it best to let you know how I feel about it.

So here it goes: like in my last letter to you, I’d like to remind you that while I may be one of the most lenient and “child”- centered teachers you will ever meet, please don’t forget that I am human too….and that I can only take so much pushing before I tip over and lose the smile I try to keep while we’re together. Please remember that I ask very little of you, especially since I am one of those teachers who firmly believes that it is not the facts and figures that you remember in my class that matters, but that you actually liked what you learned and how you got to learn this in my class. I like letting you have fun because for me, this is what really makes learning more meaningful and life changing. As I often tell you in class, aanhin mo naman lahat ng theories kung hindi mo rin gagamitin, diba? Also, please remember that more than just doing well in my activities and exams, what really counts for me is to see you become better people and this is not measured simply by scores in tests, but by your character, behavior and attitude. I feel at times that no matter how hard I try to help you find it, the lost art of respect, gratitude and proper etiquette is an impossibility…..but I am trying very hard not to believe that, because what kind of a world would we have if that becomes a fact, right?

So yes, today I got my buttons pushed by you guys and yes, I tried hard to remain calm and focused on the bigger picture. What I ask from you now, however, is that you not make it too hard for me to keep on wanting to do what I do in class because believe me, in as much as I looooove it to bits, there are days when I have to think about it.

Oh, do know while today may not have been such a wonderful day for me, do know that I have had so much fun and felt so much joy while teaching you guys. If you could only see my Facebook wall after class, more often than not I sing (well, you know what I mean!) praises of you all the time because many, many times, I take away more than I would have expected from class. The little jokes we exchange, the pseudo-intellectual conversations we carry on, and yes, the heartfelt discussions we have really make my day. And yes…that’s what keeps me going. That’s what makes me stay true to being not just a teacher, but a teacher here in the Philippines despite the fact that my contemporaries have found greener pastures elsewhere.

Till next time, but hopefully in better circumstances,

Miss Ria

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Nov 1, 2010

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

Treasure Hunting

In the past three weeks, I’ve been attempting to restore some order to my once organized room (um…well, people around me may disagree with that, but I’d like to think that despite my mess, I live in a room full of organized chaos, harhar!) because it simply has become overrun with too much clutter. I decided that before I completely leave the preschool, I might as well give them all the stuff that I have collected over the years that can be of better use there. I found a lot of hidden treasures in my cleaning up, I must say. This included old beads and paints, to scratch papers and even all the press kits and freebies from events  as well as other tradeshow giveaways including all those pharma bags, pens and stuff from conventions that I’ve attended. Talk about lots of stuff! I’m trying to figure out, however, how best to dispose of all the CD press kits I have collected over the years. I remember once, we used this as Christmas tree decorations, so maybe we can do something like that again this year hehe. I’m not really done sorting stuff yet, but so far, I’ve got three boxes full of  “trash” which hopefully soon will become treasures for the little kids I teach :-)

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Oct 31, 2010

Posted by in Arts and Crafts, Classroom Escapades, Lesson Plans, Outside the Classroom, Preschool, Teacher's Corner, Tips and Tricks, Toys and Playthings | 0 Comments

The Alphabet Project

...taking reading out of just books...l

Contrary to what would be assumed, given that I am a teacher who teaches preschoolers after all, learning to read did not come easy for me. For those who have been reading my blog for quite some time now, you probably are familiar with the fact that I was diagnosed with a mild form of dyslexia as a child.  Yes, early on, I couldn’t read. Lucky for me, I had a teacher who noticed the red flags very, very early on and thus I was able to receive interventions very early on.

Back then, I couldn’t learn my letters very well, much less put them together to form words. As I understand (this is based on stories told to me by my mom and people around me, because I don’t really remember first hand anymore what it was like in the beginning), I would write my letters in mirror image and I couldn’t identify them properly. As I grew up, I loved reading but in hindsight, I realize I never was really good at it. I tended to skip words and make them up as I’d go along. It helped, however, that I had a good grasp of the English language and I enjoyed playing word games that allowed me to make up the right words as I went along.

Speaking of word games, this was really how I learned to read. In many ways, I would have to say I was really lucky that my mom is not a very traditional mom, so she really went out of her way to find ways to make learning more interesting and fun for someone like me. One way she taught me the alphabet was through the use of shells and corals in the beaches we often would frequent when I was a child. It helped a lot, I would like to say, because looking for these letters allowed me to work on my perceptual reasoning skills and helped me be able to see how letters really look like. To this day, whenever I am in a beach, I go and collect these shells to spell out stuff, just like these:

So today, I was inspired to start a new project. I want to take my alphabet project outside of just the beach and be able to find letters all around me and take photos of them. Here are a few examples:

Let’s see what I can find! Do feel free to take photos and send them to me via my Facebook Page so I can add them up :)

To keep tabs on the project, please check out my Alphabet Project Flickr Set :-)

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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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