Ago
15
Filed Under (Edublogs, The Endless Quest) by on Agosto 15, 2010 and tagged ,
The beautiful Santana Hospital

Inner terrace at the beautiful Santana Hospital

Well, as it has turned out to be already a classical excuse for being away from blogging activities: I underwent knee surgery once again.

Since Easter I had to return to physiotherapy and finally got operated the 1st July, this time to the right patella, so that I’m back to walking with crutches again, waiting for the inflammation  to go away – and it will, for my doctors are great!

Hopefully, I’ll be ready to face the brand new school year – starting the 8th September – but meanwhile, all along these last months I barely had time to perform my duties regarding school, let alone be creative online. I really just used our wikis in a very plain way.

However, I was happy to see my kids creating their own pages on our 5th grade wiki to study maths or sharing a glossary; Mariana, a 6th grade student, took charge of our classblog almost by herself,  posting her own writings and profusely commenting all her colleagues posts; 5th grade Joana also revealed to be a heartwarming writer and 6th grade Max, although with no patience to fiction, offered some practical instructions about how to build a wooden box or to settle an aquarium, for instance.

As for the great Mars 2010  Challenge we couldn’t possibly participate, as our students still don’t have access to our internet connexion and teachers are still not allowed to share blogging activities in the classroom. However, some 6th grade students accepted to be in charge of our international blog Bringing Us Together, for about a month, as Andreia and Francisca did.

As Sue Waters and Sue Wyatt included me in the Google Wave created to organize the Challenge, I could subscribe to be a helper, getting thus to know young students abroad, like Yummy, an enthusiastic  ballet dancer and Soccergirl, that revealed to be a great writer. Some time in June, I was amazed to hear from Sue Waters herself that I was one of the helpers that had won a prize: a whole year subscription to my primary blog!

Now I’m very excited about translating Sue Waters great post about Online Jargon, but I’ll leave my short term projects for an upcoming post.

usera3All along this year, in every school belonging to the Congregation of  ”The Love of God”

we are celebrating the second centenary of Father Usera‘ s birth, the founder of the sisters of our school.

During our short Carnaval holidays, about 25 educational workers were invited to visit Toro, in Spain, where he settled the foundation of his first school.

Together with the amazing fact that we could actually admire some real snow falling down – otherwise, the only  place where it snows for me is on my blog – we had lots of fun, shared great conversations and we participated in some deeply interesting sessions about the outstanding deeds that turned Father Usera’ s life in a masterpiece of creativity at the service of solidarity.

His life deserves to be told, mainly in this year, dedicated to combat poverty and social exclusion. In fact, from his generous example,  we can still draw inspiration to make the “right moves” while striving to meet  the urgent calls for help that rise from so many wounded places in our present world.

In every front of his fight, he took the defense of slaves, children in danger, humble workers, vulnerable women. Mainly, he pleaded the cause of women’ s education, realizing that, by giving them large and free access to instruction and education, the whole society would be touched, lifted and quickly transformed, as women remain the “touch stone” of society through the  hidden influence they exert at their families’ heart and the formative role they play concerning  children.

The Institutes, Schools and Homes he founded, mainly in Africa – Costa da Guiné – and the Antilles – Cuba – often at the peril of his health and personal security, did n’ t cease with his death. They not only survive until today, but continue to grow and spread over so many different countries –  Mozambique, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Peru… –  as the deeds of Love alone conceal the power to remain and multiply.


Jan
02
Filed Under (The Endless Quest) by on Janeiro 2, 2010 and tagged ,
My friend Té Watercolor

Watercolor by my friend Té

I have a great friend – she is an English teacher at my school too – who loves painting – whenever she gets enough free time, as she has a big family and is very often busy.

This year, for Christmas, when we exchanged gifts, I found out that she had added a greetings card, made by herself. I asked her permission to post her watercolor, as an example of something very simple, yet beautiful, we may be given as a sort of  ”appendix” for a real gift, but that we come to treasure even more than the gift itself.

She didn’t only offered the time she took to actually do the painting, but also, through her unique way of making it, she left her “imprint” in it, something very personal, something that concerns her genuine inner life and that, otherwise, would remain inexpressible.

No wonder that so many people nowadays enjoy  drawing and painting as their favorite hobby: I can see how my kids become suddenly appeased and focused, when they can give themselves totally to the task of creating. Although my own drawings are elementary I can experience this inner plunge in silence too.

Another friend of mine says that in taking the risk to draw or paint there is a sense of adventure, as to  remain under the spell of materials and colors also means to accept to be taken beyound your own design, thus creating something that surprises the author himself.

I had a teacher, in College, that used to tell us that God expected to see among us, common people, much more amateurs of different arts, like poets, dancers, painters, writers, musicians, choreographers, sculptors and artisans of all sorts, as He had given us plenty of hidden talents and had made us  receptive to creative inspiration. And although our strenuous and feverish lifestyle prevents us to fully enjoy this more genuine vocation, it remains still alive and at work in  children and in many young people.

As for us, grown ups… well,  looking at my friends works one would say  it is never too late!

Dez
26
Filed Under (The Endless Quest) by on Dezembro 26, 2009 and tagged

vitral at my mother's house Trying to come back on line again, after about six months of too many happenings and deep changes in daily life.

My beloved mother died on the  21st of May, from  lung cancer; I had to take some time to learn how to live without  her warm company and accept to interpret the illuminating effect of her absence in a totally new and positive sense.

Meanwhile I underwent  knee surgery in the beautiful Santana Hospital; physioterapy treatments followed along the whole summer; after some obstinate regressions, treatment sessions are finally winding down and, hopefully, – and thanks to my wonderful doctors –  I ‘ll soon recover full autonomy.

However,  I won’t be able to walk fast as before, nor to carry weights – as my laptot -:( – , nor to drive an old jeep with a heavy clutch pedal; in fact, as the patellar tendons are not aligned with the tibia in both knees, the most simple daily effort can mean enough strain to provoke inflammation; so I must learn how to cope with this condition and go ahead following a new rithm.

Meanwhile, first school trimester is over with its joys and pains; the change of the entire internet system  worked unsatisfactorily so far, and after some frustrating trials,  I went back to the old “talk and chalk” lessons ;  our 5th and 6th grade wikis are thus limited to home work and I engaged to publish our kids texts at our school blog.

Now  Christmas pause keeps inspiring us to dare a blog make over on our 6th grade edublog, although I know kids won’t have any time allowed to blog at school, at least for now. That’s why I didn’t even told them about the great  Challenge and, as far as my physioterapy sessions  went on, I didn’t enroll to be a challenge helper.

So, from time to time, I  wonder about the ultimate meaning of sharing  educational on-line experiences that are so limited either by adverse or by unforeseen circumstances…

Mai
02
Filed Under (The Endless Quest) by on Maio 2, 2009 and tagged ,

An eventful year

This wonderful and demanding year has not made easy the process of learning to blog and to apply web2.0 tools in the context of the classroom; the main reasons were that I have been walking with crutches since November and that I have been dealing with serious illness in my family along the last months.

The pace of my daily life slowed down  to the point I had the continuous feeling to be always late with my work. Finally, I could be operated to my left knee and I’m starting physiotherapy soon, but this means I’m away from school now, and thus can’t support my students with their blogging engagements.

My blogging journey started on the 2nd May, a year ago, when I agreed to accept the warm invitation from Sue Waters to join the 31th Comment Challenge and learn how to become a better blog citizen. This participation has been the most motivating and thrilling experience I’ve lived on line until now; I met wonderful educators, discovered highly inspiring blogs, and  felt welcomed in a live community.

As an Educator, I was beginning this adventure looking forward to sharing whatever I could learn with my young students, as they were and remain the real motive for my engagements on line. However, our school system is not yet prepared to integrate technology in the daily practice of teaching and learning: thus, in my school, we  only could explore the web world during lunch break along the third term of last year; this school year I set up a class blog and a few student blogs, but students were soon limited to learn new digital skills on a voluntary basis, as a sort of home work and following instructions  through Msn messenger.

During summer holidays I found WikiEducator and its project to share the treasure of culture with all the developing countries; I took a basic course about wiki editing and, in return, I’m still looking forward to  contributing with a translation which won’t require to create templates;  Phil Bartle has recently invited me to collaborate in his project for Portuguese speaking Africa, which seems to be a precious opportunity.

Along the present school year, from September to December, the Students Blogging Competition, brilliantly runned by Sue Wyatt, has been a unique chance to launch my 6th grades in the blogging adventure; as a happy fruit of this experience, the new blog Bringing Us Together was born and our team was in charge for the first half of February. Since March, until Easter holidays, when I had to leave school to undergo my surgery, a small group of students has been participating in the Students Blogging Challenge that Sue Wyatt is inspiringly running. What I find most wonderful about this experience is the fact that, all of a sudden, you feel as if you have been given thousands of new friendly students spread all over the world.

These 12 months brought multiple chances of working with or just trying web 2.0 tools, social networking and bookmarking sites, but I’ll give just a few examples: we shared our lessons in our pb.works to build the classroom work with others; I enjoyed meeting people on Twine, for a semantic bookmarking experience; I appreciated Zemanta, to get inspiring tips while blogging; and finally Twitter, the best tool to get precious information and to stay in touch with some great educators.

As an aim for next year, I would love to

  1. Participate in the Webinars that Edublogs and Elluminate are running right now, and hopefully to learn how to use video and audio tools in the classroom.
  2. Honour my engagement with WikiEducator by participating in the project of Phil Bartle about Community Empowerment for Portuguese speaking African countries.
  3. Relaunch the project of students blogging with the future generation of 6th grades, knowing that our technological limitations are supposed to decrease progressively at school.
  4. Intensifying my participation in the Ning Apprendre 2.0, where Florence Meichel excells in the art of enhancing conversations and sharing learning experiences.
Finally, I would like to express how grateful I am to my  network and how honoured I feel to belong here.
Ines Pinto
Image: my workplace at home
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Abr
05
Filed Under (The Endless Quest) by on Abril 5, 2009 and tagged ,

My Answer to S. Wyatts


 

 

 

     As a contribution to the  topic  Blogging safely in the big wide world  that will be presented by Sue Wyatts at an English and Literacy teachers’ conference, in Hobart, next July, I’ll try to answer some of the questions she suggests.

  • Why did you choose the blogging platform you are using?
  1. I found Edublogs just by chance, while surfing the net in search of tips on education and technology, back in the summer of 2006. I set up a blog without really understanding what it was all about; I used it primarily as a “dead archive” to keep my personal work that could be shared both with students and school staff. As there was no live project energising this initiative, I soon exchanged the blog for a wiki and started to actually work with my 5th grades.
  2.  It was only in May 2008 that I discovered, trough The Edublogger,  what real blogging was about. It was then that I really chosed this blogging platform, as the new discoveries I was doing were opening a new horizon to me and I felt newbies were strongly supported and encouraged to join the web2.0 world, not only by both the other fellow bloggers and blogging initiatives such as the 31 day Comment Challenge but also mainly by the generous effort of Sue Waters herself.
  • What have you found most easy or difficult in blogging with students?
  1. As almost all my kids  are  Portuguese and 10 t0 12 years old, their knowledge of English language is still incipient, so translation issues have been our main difficulty; 
  2. Besides, as blogging is not yet allowed during classes, and, during lunch break, the computers lab is taken by Primary ICT lessons, we gave up trying to use the computer lab and we were compelled to learn and practice blogging mainly as a home work, communicating through msn messenger. Most kids just gave up blogging and just a bunch of pioneers decided to face the challenges. 
  3. The most easy aspect is their genuine interest in the subject it self. I have been advised, at school, to ask permission to set a blogging club, thus obtaining the guarantee of a proper space and time. I’ll try it next year.
  4. Besides, next year, young students coming from Primary School to the 5th grade – 5th grade belongs to Middle School in our country – will bring with them the laptops they have been officially given; hopefully this new situation will fasten the process of giving Internet access to our students, by means of a user name and a password. So far, only teachers can access the school Internet connexion, thus we had only 2 to 5 student laptops present in  each class.
  • What have you done to make sure your students are blogging safely?
  1. I’ve followed the indications of other teachers blogging with students, mainly Miss W’s about being internet savy. 
  2. I gave my students some simple basic rules about not showing personal information that could possibly lead to being identified, such as family names, home address, photos, phone numbers…
  3. I followed Sue Waters advice about using our own g-mail adress with a + sign and the students user name to sign them up as edublogs users or to any other platform.
  4. I’m still learning about it and I’ve deeply appreciated both Keeping Students Cyber Safe and The Rule’s Rule, two great posts S. Wyatt mentioned in I need your Ideas
  • What do you think students get out of blogging?
  1. I think we can’t exaggerate its relevance to enhance students’ digital, writing and other essential skills, as the art of maintaining a conversation and of relating to others in a global perspective.
  2. I can’t resist to mention The Personal Web and Twenty reasons why students should blog as examples of posts where I keep both learning and checking out my own intuition about the importance of  what is at stake.
  3. I believe young bloggers are actively contributing to the rising of a new way of communicating and sharing ideas, feelings, human values, that may change society as we know it.
  • How do you find ways for students to get their global audience?
  1. I usually go ahead and make connections with other student’s blogs by leaving comments and presenting my class blog or one of my students blog, when I see there are some affinities that may enable to mantain a conversation.
  2.  Than I tell my students where I have been and kind of introduce them to their newly found English speaking colleagues.
  3. I encourage them to leave comments on the blogs they visit and to answer the comments they receive; sometimes I must help with the automate translations to keep them more enjoyable to read, or at least more intelligible.
  4. Our participation both on the Students Blogging Competition 08 and the Blogging Challenge 09, as well as being part of Bringing Us Together, has been the main ways to connect with students all over the world.
  5. Lately, I’ve found that Sue Waters page Check Out Class Blogs has turned to be a precious source to visit and connect with new class and students blogs.
  • What recommendations would you give to new teachers to blogging?
  1. I would tell new teachers, first, to be sure they will be allowed to blog during classes, or have special classes to do it at ease. In my country, our learning system is still very teacher centered; our curriculum, for Portuguese lessons, is so extensive, that we have hardly time to meet all that is required, even with  2h15m of weekly class time. 
  2. Then they should be allowed to include their students blogging activities in the assessement “rates” – for instance, we give 75% to written tests and just 5% to home work, which is still unbalanced.
  3.  In my kids case, I recognize that blogging through translations may turn to be a hard task, that takes time at home. I usually let them replace homework by blogging. so that they don’t feel overloaded. But then they must stop blogging, every four weeks, when they are studying for their written tests.
  4. Most important, I would recommend new teachers to become part of a blogging platform suited for educational purposes, as Edublogs. They will learn precious tips from those “elder” colleagues that have been practicing for a while the noble art of blogging with students in the world wide web.
Jan
22

Answering A Meme

     I’ve been tagged both by S. Wyatt and Bookjewel to answer this meme!  Until now it has been a pretext to so many pleasant and even fascinating readings. I think it is worthwhile to know each other better in such an informal way, where we feel  totally free about the subjects we talk about, yet we choose them with the care that special readers deserve.

1.       My grand father was a Brazilian consul always moving from a country to another; thus my father – who is Portuguese –  found my mother living  in Spain;  as soon as they got married they emigrated to Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, where I was born. While we lived on Bahía da Guanabara border, he used to take the plane, every Sunday night, to spend the whole week  working in S. Paulo. As soon as my mother would hear the plane roaring over the bay, she would quickly switch on and off the lights of the  living room and he could distinguish the twinkling spots of light as if she was waving at the terrace.

2.       My two favourite authors are: Hans Urs Von Balthasar, a Swiss theologian and Christian Bobin, a French Poet. I would recommend “Love alone is Believable” and “The Very Lowly“, respectively. My most unforgettable readings are those related to theology and poetry.

3.      As my next point is going to be long, I’ll make this one short: I’m very sorry, but I can’t ride a bike.

4.       Now I feel really embarrassed to explain this to my network: I created my class blog in September, so that my kids could participate in the blogging competition; then, I started talking with them, mainly in comments – as for the posts, the translations of Miss W.’s posts were perfect to keep them going – . However, I was confronted with the fact that I should sign my name with a previous “title”, and not just the “bare” name, as it is usual for students to address their adult teachers using a “title”.

But Portuguese students don’t say just “Miss Ines”; they use a slang word, a sort of nickname issued from the abbreviation of the “honorific title” we have been given after University. So, “stora” isn’t even a proper word in Portuguese, it literally means “Miss Doctor” which sounds totally silly and is never pronounced aloud. Me too, I have always called my teachers as “stor” and “stora”, it’s a very old “tradition”, I can’t figure out when it has started. Real doctors – I mean those people who have studied medicine – along with vets and some other professions are also called as “stores” even by grownups.

So, I started to sign “stora Ines” whenever I commented on young people’s blogs, and now both words represent my name on the Bringing Us Together front page. Thus I felt that I owned this explanation to our visitors and friends, as “stora” is not my name at all.

5.       Since my young days I deeply love the French language and I have been, as an amateur translator, to several youth international meetings in Fatima and in Paray-le-Monial, France, as well as to a youth world day in Paris. These are privileged moments where we always make new friends and nurture our common, invincible hope that all peoples, cultures and races will come together in peace.

6.        I’ll share three precious memories of travelling abroad: crossing the Holy Lake to reach the small town of Dunoon, in Scotland; watch the sun rise on the snowy peaks , at the French village of Saint Monêtier les Bains at the High Alps; sleeping under the stars in the fields of Umbria, near Assisi, in Italy.

7. I lived in South America, North America and Europe, in three countries and five different towns. But these were all by the sea, so my favourite walk remains to follow the coast line, in a calm or in a speedy pace. Unhapily, I can’t do it now, for I broke the external meniscus of my left knee. :(

 

I took so long to answer this meme, I’m afraid there is no one left to tag in all the blogosphere…but I’ll try:

 Mrs Cunningham, my young friends NadineMadalena, Cameron, my ex-students Duarte, Frederico, and Britt Watwood

 

Jan
04
Filed Under (Student Friends) by on Janeiro 4, 2009 and tagged , , ,

 


My Answer To Cameron

 If you could describe my blog in just a few words what would they be?

Some personal issues retained me from visiting Cameron’s Blog sooner, but here I am to answer her question and tell her why I have  chosen her blog to nominate, which are the features that I admire in it.

First of all I had been visiting her blog since the beginning of the students blogging competition; I just loved to rest for a small pause there, listening to her music. Thus I took the time to get acquainted with her style, and to appreciate it.

I couldn’t possibly have done the same with all the new student blogs that were popping up everywhere in the space of stubc08, although I visited a lot of them; and I’m certain I would find new  treasures if had been given time to visit more accurately so many blogs I miss. I won’t name them here, some of them are present on the blog roll of our class blog but the complete list would be too long. 

Thus, all along the challenge, I have become aware of the progress Cameron was making: her writing was evolving both in clarity and in expressing something unique: her own voice.

The first post that stroked me was “Things to Think About” – I know the students from Connecticut  have a great teacher that comes up with thoughtful subjects to blog about – however, the progression of ideas was genuinely hers, and I surprised myself to be wondering about these same questions,   thanks to the power of her only words.

“Would you listen to a 12 years old?” – Cameron asks in this post. My answer to her question is:” – Yes, I would.”- In fact, I found inspiration and renewed my courage to face the daily fight of life, – to get all duties done, to bring justice into small actions, to accept unpredictable problems and suffering,  – as well as I have renewed my capacity to contemplate the  wonders that humbly surround us in everyday life – the healing power of music, the beauty of nature, the mysterious ways of  human friendship   just by letting the spirit of “joyful rebellion for a better world”, that animates Cameron’s writing, take hold of me.

As Miss W. puts it in a comment to the Edublog Awards announcement “Any chance in future for a student award as they don’t have the PLN that adult bloggers has? Even under primary/elementary, middle, high and senior high school. Remember these are the bloggers of the future we should be helping to grow.” 

I believe that young bloggers are already playing an active part in the renewal of our era; that the fragile web they are weaving with their written words conceal the power to multiply and deepen friendly connections as the foundations of a different society:  the one that will find its joy in sharing and thus will be healthier, more happy, more free.

So, Cameron, in a few words, I would define your blog as “Joyful Rebellion for a Better World”.

Ines Pinto

 

 

Dez
01
Filed Under (Edublogs) by on Dezembro 1, 2008 and tagged ,

Nominations for Edublogs Awards

Here are my nominations to the Edublogs Awards:

  1. Best Individual blog – Nadine
  2. Best new blog – Cameron
  3. Best Educational Tech Support – The Edublogger
  4. Best Classblog – Technology in our Classroom
  5. Best Librarian blog – (No Longer) Alone in a Library
Set
28
Filed Under (Stubc 08) by on Setembro 28, 2008 and tagged ,

stubc08

Visit us at our Class Blog: Web.Cad.6abc

     Lately my red dots have been suddenly growing although I’m not writting for a while in my personal blog. I came to knew it by my student Filipa: “- Hey teacher, red dots are spreading all over your clustr map!”

     Of course, students participating in Student Blogging Competition are looking for our Class Blog and, instead of cliking on the Url I gave them the first time I visited them, they just click on my avatar!

     Second week is about to begin, so it’s still time to join;  if you wish you can register here; there is plenty of students coming in along the next weeks, so don’t hesitate or fear to be late. There are 7 countries participating, around 500 students from Australia, Canada, Thailand, India, Indonesia, New Zeland, Portugal and USA.

     The competition has been launched the 22th September, by S. Wyatt in her class blog Technology in our Classroom, it will extend up to the end of November, along ten weeks of activities and great conversations. Different languages are no more a barrier to communicate as students are using the translation google site as well as several blog widgets. 

     So far students have started to introduce themselves, to post riddles and challenges and to ask irresistible questions. Comments are pouring in and new friendly ties are connecting young people all over the world.

     As a Portuguese teacher engaged for the first time in such an  adventurous competition with my three 6th grade classes, I would like to express here my gratitude for the great work and generous support of both S. Wyatt and Sue Waters.

     Just two weeks ago I had registered for the massive on line course about Connectivism, although I already knew I wouldn’t be able to follow it simultaneously with our competition. But now I realize that, in some way, I’m doing a sort of “practical stage” on connectivism: the experience of this last week is all about making connections, identifying nodes, not controlling information, relying on others to keep our information safe, outsourcing our data and data processing, recognizing new patterns and learning to swim in a deluge of posts, comments, translations and unforgettable faces.

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