Nets were dragged along behind the boat and we were able to explore what lived in the estuary. Once out at sea we were lucky enough to see grey whales!
Yesterday we went on a boat trip from Newport in to the bay and also out in to the ocean. The boat is an educational boat used for taking primarily students out to learn about the marine environment.
Nets were dragged along behind the boat and we were able to explore what lived in the estuary. Once out at sea we were lucky enough to see grey whales!
The MBARI EARTH workshop is unique in many ways. First, there are lots of returning teachers who are completely invested in the purpose and who are actively involved in using, supporting and helping build the ‘program’. The premise of the workshop is to integrate teachers and scientists – to have scientists share their research and data with teachers, and in turn, for teachers to figure out how to bring the real time or near real time data to their students. The lessons and ideas that are created by the teachers are not grade level or subject based but open to all, and allow teachers to make modifications and additions based on their community.
Yesterday, the first researcher was Rob Suryan who talked to us about some of his research on seabird oceanography, specifically the short tailed albatross. For me it was a great first talk - I love birds and so was immediately hooked and immediately realizing how little I know about these birds. Working collaboratively with Japanese researchers, they added telemetry to birds and watched their flight patterns over months, and in some cases years. While I could go in to details about how the parent albatross may travel thousands of miles from the nesting ground to go and hunt food (think nesting in Japan and hunting in the Aleutians), and of the additional focus of the research to try and help the species increase in number after it’s population was significantly decreased due to predation by humans, the specific tie in to the workshop was the data that Rob gave us. Using information from the satellite telemetry as well as Google Earth, we were able to track the flight patterns of an adult and juvenile bird, observing differences in their behavior. The photo below shows some of the data points -each red dot is each day. Incredible.
Today we heard from two other researchers studying diverse marine topics based out of Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and tomorrow, two more, one speaking about the Japanese 2011 tsumami debris, and the other on ocean sound! On Thursday we work together in groups to design lessons that collaborate and emphasize the (near) real time data that we now have access to from these researchers, lessons that we can use in our classroom but that can also become part of the MBARI EARTH collective.
55F, windy, foggy, damp, 2 bald eagles on the beach, jellies, juvenile loon, dunes, sea grass, fabulous.
I made a conscious decision to sit on the seat F today so that as we flew into Portland I would hopefully see Mount Hood. Success! It was a clear beautiful day and Mount Hood was spectacular. A great start to my trip.
It is amazing traveling and meeting people from all different places. Today when I landed in Portland airport I was to meet three people to travel with them to Newport. I realized when I was waiting for my baggage that I only had one person's phone number. I called him, Handy, and he told me to meet his wife by the United airlines baggage. Walking over there, the second person I asked turned out to be Cecelia, Handy's wife. I received a big hug. A few minutes later, Anna came back to join us from the car rental place. Second hug of the day. It made me smile that two strangers both hug me in greeting because we are meeting with the shared common goal to be part of the EARTH workshop. With the car rented, we begin to drive south of Portland and east towards the coast. An accident on the road towards Lincoln city persuaded us to take a reroute through the woods. It involved some gravel roads but a beautiful creek and a few miles later with only one turn around we ended up on South 101 headed to it was Cecelia's first time seeing the Pacific Ocean. Just spectacular. I have already seen birds that I would never see in New Mexico. I can't wait to spend more time exploring this place.
Soon I will be on a plane headed up to the Oregon Coast..Newport to be exact...to meet up with teachers, other educators, and scientists for my first EARTH workshop with MBARI (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute). It's another incredible opportunity and I can't wait to learn more. I'm also excited to get a chance to explore the Oregon coast, see some northern bird species and explore tide pools. Here's a link to videos of some of the research conducted by MBARI.
Home. Back. Here. School has started. No longer am I crossing Katipunan Avenue bridge to get to Ateneo in the mornings with Paul. We are no longer standing in front of the mammoth air conditioner in the main office before we head off to find Tutham, our collaborating teacher. I am greeting my New Mexico students instead of the Ateneo boys. I am not eating rice for breakfast, and have not even seen a mango in weeks.
Back at school, everyone has been asking 'How was your summer?' and it is impossible to sum up and answer and so I sputter out the word "Great!" On other days I may manage "Amazing. Yours?" But sometimes I forget the niceties as it seems, because as soon as I get asked that question my mind takes me 8,000 miles away.
Over the course of the next whatever amount of time I make, I hope to make more sense of all that I have experienced this past year and to document it in ways that will will make a difference in the classroom. It has already made a difference in me. It's now time to share and pass it on
Today we went to Corregidor Island where we learned of atroceties during the war. The island is beautiful and picturesque today full of wildlife and incredible views, a contrast to 70 years ago. As I was downloading pictures I saw the peace pledge taken in one of the schools another TGC fellow visited. Somehow the two seem to go together well. More kids seem to get it than adults sometimes.
Ateneo has an incredible three pronged program at the school that all the boys participate in. The first prong is the guidance program, that works with each boy and family and is focused on the development of that individual boy. The second prong is the Campus Ministry which works with the boys on spiritual development. The third is the CSIP or Christian Service Involvement Program. These three prongs are vertically and horizontally aligned and work in tandem with the academic classes and other focuses of the school. We have been meeting with many people involved in this program all week at school, including Father J Boy, all the guidance counselors and today, John from CSIP. The CSIP program has different facets for each grade, and all are involved in getting the students in to the community as much as possible. While day trips and projects happen the first two years, along with a school wide fundraising project, 11th grade students spend two nights living with a family in one of two villages where they become 'part of the family'. The school works with individuals and families that volunteer for this program. There is training with these people to help explain the intent of the program, but compensation in the monetary form is not given. At the end of the visit, students deliver a bag of groceries to the person as a way to compensate for the food they have given them.
We walked out of the main town and up to a small community called Camillus Ville where five of the 38 boys were housed. This tiny community is a result of Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) flooding where these people previously lived. Fifteen families live in cinder block houses no more than 20ftx20ft. We were lucky to be shown around by the lady who was head of the parish and she talked at length about her goals in trying to create economic opportunity for the community that will allow them to bring in more money but create long term development. The residents have created an organic farm and vermicomposting which they use for their own food and waste disposal, but they are also growing medicinal herbs that they sell. We visited each of the homes where they were living and it was interesting to see the different reactions of the boys to their experiences - some had formed incredible relationships already, perhaps based on the individuals involved. For others, we could tell that this whole experience had been quite a personal challenge and that they were relieved that today was the day to go home.
Walking down the hill we were able to observe and learn more about life in the area. We passed rice paddies, farmers with carabao, and people roasting nuts and selling fruit and tofu from buckets around their neck. Then began breakfast #1 in the home of a lady called Nana L_______....macaroni in a pink soup with cabbage and sticky rice called Biko. Nana's house also served as a small store and tiny plastic packets filled with Knorr gravy broth and aspirins hung. Nana earns about 30 pesos a day from this -less than a dollar. Next we were off to mass at the church across the street, built during World War II. The pews were packed, a computer projected words and prayers on to a screen so everyone could see and voices sang joyously in filipino. It was sitting in here I began to understand and appreciate more how the Catholic Church has helped develop and enhance the Filipino culture.
Leaving the church we were surrounded by the boys and their surrogate families. Smiles were everywhere and while some were eager to get on the jeepneys, others were hugging their new mothers and not wanting to leave. Tears down one boy's cheek showed what had happened in just over 60 hours.
Waving the jeepneys goodbye we joined Nana again and had breakfast #2. This time it was a treat rarely eaten - pancit -which is a dish in every store in Manila....but not here. Upon asking I learned that the residents are asked not to cook dishes that are special, but to immerse the boys in the ordinary food of their lives -in this case, primarily vegetables and rice. Vegetables have been rarer in the city. Later in the car, I began to ponder about the dietary differences between rural and urban, and the ecological and health impacts on the Philippines, and the role that western culture has played in this.
Leaving the village we drove back down the mountain in to metro Manila. But the day was not done. Ritz and her husband Martin had planned a visit to a local spa and I enjoyed a unexpected and beautiful foot massage, steam bath and jacuzzi.
The generosity and good nature that we have experienced in the Philippines is widespread and infectious, independent of locale and economic status. A Filipino's commitment to the church seems to play a huge role in helping create these qualities and I am curious as to what other factors are involved. They are proud to share their culture with us, and yet not afraid to enter in to a discussion when I ask them what is the biggest issue the country is dealing with.......any guesses? (More on that answer later)....Also, the program that Ateneo has set up is so well thought out and planned and the genuine relationships that are inherent, both between teachers and students and students and community members are often long lasting. Sometimes the relationships lead to other things. One of the people now working part time with this program is an ex-student who chose to turn down a full time career in an arts industry so he could continue to support this experience. Another class at Ateneo, after their experience, saved money to send to one student in the community, so she could go to college. We met her father in the church who stated he is overwhelmed by the opportunity his daughter has been given. One student took half of his allowance for the whole year and contributed it to the large fundraising project that the school does, realizing he didn't need nearly as much. I learned that many of the boys learn that these families may not be rich economically, but are rich in terms of family...something that many of them may not have, as their parents work abroad, or work long hours away from home. The challenge is to increase the number of these long lived relationships and experiences as Ateneo students often become the politicians and community leaders that can help lead the Philippines in creating a stronger more economically stable country, while maintaining the culture of community. Also, how do I take aspects of this program back to my school?
Correlations in the classroom
On Wednesday I got to team teach a class with Emman Delocado, who teaches 2 regular 10th grade biology classes and a special science class -which is for the top twenty students. All teachers here at Ateneo teach three classes, and while they have a Monday-Friday schedule, school ends at different times each day depending on the grade level and certain subjects. In public schools I've noticed that teachers have four lessons to teach, and sometimes there are two sessions of school, solely based on the fact that there may be 7,000 students that go to that school and not enough facilities and teachers. So here at Ateneo, each teacher has about 120 students whereas in the public school somewhere between 200 and 280 depending on the class size.
The special science class meets in an upstairs lab in the science and technology center. While the students sit in pairs, Emman has divided them in to four lab groups, named after Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw etc. While the boys were quiet initially, they warmed up quickly to the activities. We began by them working with their partner to create a ______________ about what they think Geology was about. Initially Emman had asked that I teach about the correlations between Geology and Biology and while I wanted to show slides of the research I have done at UNM with Diana Northup and cave microbiology, with the lack of internet access in the classroom and by not bringing a working powerpoint and only an i-pad, it was proving tricky. Plus, I had brought examples of minerals with me and wanted to use them. So after sharing answers and discussing what geology is about, we discussed the correlations between all sciences - primarily the ability to make good observations.
Moving to their lab tables, Griffindore and Slitheryn explore and examine the minerals I give them. I notice immediately that students are able to follow and are confident with the limited directions I give them. For example, I quickly draw a rough table on the board that I explain I want filled out, and the detail I see in their written work is wonderful. They are perceptive, intuitive and I can see that they are eager learners. They are respectful, and while some are eager to share answers, others are more reluctant to speak and it takes time and more one on one. They come up with some of the traits used to describe minerals, and are amazed that biotite and mica are not actually plastic.
Ten minutes later we return to our partner tables and I pull out the New Mexico maps. Now begins the section of the lesson where they learn a little about New Mexico, which reviewing the differences and correlations between observations and inferences. This was more of a struggle and it seemed that the students were reluctant to ask for help, or ask questions - perhaps this is a result of not wanting to appear not to be able to understand something, but perhaps more that they are shy in my presence as a guest and as a female that they don't know...a feeling that is later confirmed by Tutham. The time constraint was the biggest. The boys were engaged and responsive and had I had a week - we could have gone in to lots of detail with both labs and made great strides.
The following day I had a meeting with Emman where we discussed how things had gone and shared perspectives and observations. This is something that is formally done in the school and a useful tool for everyone....allowing for discussion and evaluation of lessons and labs and the ability to make improvements for the following year.
Despite the time constraint I am very glad I had the opportunity to teach and I learned a lot. I need to write more about the teaching modules that are used here but for now, I'll leave you with a picture of the boys...and...if you look carefully, a packet of biscochitos we celebrated the end of the class with....a taste of New Mexico.
Lion and Unicorn Day Ateneo style
Walking on to campus this morning we still a five foot yellow banana on legs, surrounded by several students in religious garb and a large 3D cardboard Elmers glue......and so began the start of Intramural Day at Ateneo. 2,300 boys were situated by class in the undercover courts - an incredible structure that all schools should have...
A tradition at the school, it is the start of the sports season and all boys are involved. The varsity players actually don't play the games but help organize the games for all the others. The boys are already divided in to classes, of about 40, with whom they will stay with all year (or in the case of 10th grade, for three years). Each class creates a mascot for the day and there is a big parade of the mascots, some of which caused hilarity among the audience.
The assembly was DJ'd by one of the English teachers and there is also a special guest each year. This year, an ex alum who has done incredibly well in business came to speak, but the boys were not as excited about him speaking as the next guests -two female volleyball players from the Ateneo University team. Wearing the shortest shorts I have seen in the Philippines (akin to those worm by most girls in the USA) these athletes came out to the podium to very loud cheers and applause. There were also five cheerleaders that joined the marching band, and so the boys got a good dose of young females today! As the final part of the ceremony, the 'olympic' torch was lit and the games began.
The assembly done, the boys began the basketball and dodgeball. While we missed the basketball as we were busy meeting (and eating again), we came back to the courts for the dodgeball tournaments....played in a different style to the US, one team is in the center of the court while the other team tries to hit them from either side of the court. As is in keeping with the rest of the school, students are facilitators and leaders of everything, and while there were a few teachers around, the students orchestrated everything. It was fun to watch -especially as 12D (the class I shadowed on Tuesday) pummeled the teams they were against, and I was secretly pleased at their success but quite glad I was not participating. Soccer balls do double duty as a dodgeball and despite baseball not being a big sport here, some of the boys had a strong arm and good aim.
author: Helen Haskell
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