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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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 21, 2010

Posted by in Advocacies, Life Lessons, Outside the Classroom | 8 Comments

Nurturing a Teen’s Self-Esteem: Reflections learned from PBB

Last night, I caught an episode of the television show Pinoy Big Brother Teen Clash (PBB). Even from the teasers and trailers of the episode which aired throughout prime time, I had a bad feeling about what would happen in the show.

The nights episode featured the birthday parties of teens Tricia and Devon (disclaimer lang muna: sa lahat ng girls, pinakanagugustuhan kong mukha ay kay Devon, not the typical showbiz beauty pero maganda mukha niya! OT!!!). Since they are celebrating their birthdays this week, Kuya decided to give them a birthday party each. Sadly, it will be on the same day and their friends can only attend one party. Hmmm….from that pa lang na-off na ako. The idea of having to place a teenager at that position is quite an emotionally challenging experience. Nakaka-trauma kaya! Siguro kaya ako affected kasi alam ko rin naman that this is a personal issue that bothers me rin. For others, maybe this is not an issue. I’ll explain later why this triggered some emotions and negative feelings in me.

Anyway, as I had assumed (based on the trailer) hardly anyone went to Tricia’s party. Granted that she is the “unliked” teen by the others,  it was sad to see how this was played upon even more. While she was waiting for guests to arrive, for example, she heard the other side of the house celebrating as one by one, the Pinoy housemates arrived and cheered for Devon. I felt so bad for Tricia as she tried to cheer herself on despite the tears that were welling up in her eyes. I myself have been in that position many times, whispering to myself “okay lang yun”.  By the end of the episode, aamin ko na pati ako naluha. Yes, this coming from me who used to tell my own mother that she was so baduy because she was not just watchingPBB, pero naiinvolve pa talaga siya! :-)

Now…what does this have to do about me? Well…for one, I was a teen once. A not so pretty and mega super overweight teen at that. As such, I was never the “liked” teen in class. Also, many say I look mataray and suplada because of the way I look (at least when I was younger). Because of that, I was often misunderstood and disliked. I remember how whenever class groupings had to be made, I would often be the last to be chosen. Watching the show last night reminded me of that.

I would always dismiss it and tell myself it didn’t matter. For the most part, okay lang naman talaga sa akin. Or so I thought. A teenager’s ego is quite fragile and a lot of seemingly insignificant events can leave emotional scars that may not be apparent till much later on in life. In my case, that’s true. I always thought I had resolved those feelings and chalked it up to nothing but even as a young adult, I had a lot of insecurities even at work. In fact, one time I was inadvertently left off in an email correspondence between colleagues and this triggered a lot of feelings of anxiety and depression in me.  So much so I needed help to get over it.

Some may say OA naman reaction ko. Pero sa totoo lang, a lot of those feelings are deeply rooted in my poor self-esteem formation as a teen. While I may come across as confident and boisterous, those are cover-ups for my insecurity. I don’t personally know Tricia, pero what if kaya rin siya napagkakamalang maarte at lahat dahil ito rin ang way niya to deal with her feelings?

Adolescence is perhaps one of the most tumultuous and difficult experiences one goes through in life. It is often plagued with insecurities and uncertainties about who one is and the direction one is going in their lives. While this period in life brings with it a lot of new and exciting experiences, it also brings with it challenges that are often hard to explain.

According to Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory of Development, this is a period in which one goes through the developmental crisis known as “Identity vs. Role Confusion”.  In Britney Spears talk, at this time, a teenage girl is “not a girl, not yet a woman”. Whatever way you look at it, a teenage girl is at a crossroads of her life. She is picking up pieces of a puzzle that will complete a picture of who she is and what she is all about.

For me, last night’s experience was a painful episode in a vulnerable teens life. While she was opening an ice cream cone while talking to Patrick, you could see how pained she was that she really wanted to cry. I wonder how this will affect her self-esteem…

I have to applaud Tricia’s response to a very painful experience she had to go through. As she huddled under the blankets when the Pinoy teens arrived after the party, I heard her mutter what I would usually answer, but with less sarcasm: tapos na rin naman, wala na tayong magagawa.  She also invited her housemates to eat cake after going to the confession room and For a 15 year old, that was pretty big of her.

Moving on, however, the episode taught me an important lesson as a teacher :-) What is this? Well, it reminded me about my role in nurturing a child and teen’s self-esteem. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook this. Here are some tips on how to nurture a child (or teens) self-esteem:

  1. Give them constant affirmation for the good they do. By recognizing their strengths and highlighting their accomplishments, they can feel better about themselves. This will also help build their self-image.
  2. Focus on the positive, not the negative! Rather than saying “sayang may two mistakes ka, perfect na sana e!” say “great job! you almost got it all!” .  Although to be fair, pointing out the two mistakes can be a form of challenging them to do better. Be careful in using it.
  3. When punishing or reprimanding them, focus on the negative behavior and not the individual. Many times we unintentionally say ang tigas talaga ng ulo mo, no? or you’re such a bad girl (for younger kids). Rather than saying that, try using words like “what you did is bad” or “Your behavior is unacceptable”.
  4. For teachers, when making groups in class, try counting-off or assigning groups rather than leaving the students to pick their own group mates. This is what I’m most guilty of. I often let my students pick teams and I have had times when there is someone that the class does not like and she is left alone. Once, in fact, I had to intervene because no one wanted this girl in their groups and the girl ended up in tears.
  5. Provide opportunities for success rather than defeat. This does not mean, however, that he/she should not be challenged to push themselves further.

I am looking forward to tonight’s episode. I want to see how Kuya processes this (I sure hope meron!) and how he will turn this into a learning experience for everyone involved. By the way, hats off to some of the teenternationals who showed concern towards Tricia. I don’t know who said it but after the party, one of them commented that “it’s like they don’t even care”. Let’s see how this transforms these teens not just to be winners in this reality show but to actually become winners in life.

PS: please excuse the grammar and taglish nature of this post :-) emotional issue here!

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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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