New Year Transformations

Wilson Leonel Painting 149

Wilson leonel via Compfight

     Guest Blogger: 6th Grade Rafael

      This Year, something changed:

  • I’ m  already able to help my Mother a bit more:
  1. By going shopping with her;
  2. By going out to fetch bread for my brother.
  • I manage to deal with others in a more inspiring way and I study better: 
  1. I Concentrate more deeply;
  2. I take small breaks; each twenty minutes, I stop for a five minutes halt;   
  3. I write in my personal notebook which imitates a “Lego”.
  • I also feel that I have discovered something more about knowing how to give:
  1. Not  only when someone at School doesn’t bring a snack;
  2. But also to help people  who are in need, offering goods.
  • I went to Ajuda, with my Sister, to live an experience of Beauty: I built my sister’s foot with two pounds of clay!

Rafael Cy, 6C

Peace In Nature



https://unsplash.com/photos/b9drVB7xIOI
Imagem: Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash  

     Guest Bloggers: 7th grades write “at two hands”: 

    Peace is a moment of tranquillity that allows you to reflect upon life and to consider what you have done wrongly or wisely.

     It’s like being in a forest under the moonshine, enjoying good company, silence, and feeling everything around you.

     To feel this ambiance, those smells, that buzz from the bees … in a wonderful landscape.

     Something beautiful, refreshing and quiet like the salty mist, the ocean smell and its incessant movement.

     To plunge into the sea and this being so refreshing, as if you and the sea were just one: this is Peace.

     An eagle that cuts the wind with its awesome wings wide open, flying over the glacier of a magnificent mountain. 

     Me, surrounded by animals, sitting by their little house, building a tiny wood house for another being.

    So much Peace inside you, everything around you is full of quietness and wonder.

    Nature talks to you with silence and with the breeze in the forest, going through drew drops on the verdant leaves.

(Text written “at two hands”according to the bookQuero ser Escritor” de Margarida Fonseca Santos e Elsa Serra)

Alexandre T and André R, 7A

A Story about Reading and Writing

Image: Writing Workshop

#Edublogs Club Prompt 16 Tell a Story

     The simple acts of reading and writing remain at the heart of my memories as a perpetual source of enchantment.

     Before I learned to read, my mother would read aloud, both in Spanish and Portuguese, thus unveiling the secret worlds that lay in silence within children books. She would encourage me to dictate my own stories long before I was able to write: I would stand by her, while, sitting, she would patiently put down word by word the fragile fragments of tales I entrusted to her caring attention.

     I remember having learned to read very early – thanks to my parents who were both eager readers; I would go alone to hide in our backyard in a silent place, holding my treasure, just to plunge in the mystery that was to me, at that time, the fact that I could reach another space and time and apparently share a different life with the characters.

   Later, when I was older, and looked for a book in the family library complaining about not knowing what to choose, my mother used to say: “Write what you wish to read”. Her advice became progressively more difficult to follow, but I never really gave up, and I keep cherishing writing among the best things in life just next to Family and Friendship.

   I reencountered the magic of these moments, many years after, with my young students, while reading aloud “The Ink Drinker”, “The Report Card”, or simply telling in my own words –  and reading some chosen passages – the adventures I finished to know almost by heart, like the “Chronicles of Narnia “and “The Hobbit”.

    As for writing, my young student texts have blew me away as soon as I started to teach. I discovered their feelings and thoughts could express an implicit but so strong insight about the human person, the meaning of life, a certain vision of the world that was still germinating but was already present as a promise of future.

     Their clumsy, novice writing was energizing, it concealed the power to make things happen in their own lives and could throw off balance some well-established prejudices  to make a better world.

    I began to collect their writings; then to share them in the classroom as a real “reading activity”; to use them for interpretation as the main text on tests; to publish them in the old school bulletin, later in our class blogs –  helping in their translation; we even participated in the Edublogs Blogging challenge in 2008, and took our turn to be in charge of the student’s blogs “Bringing Us Togetherand “Students Friends” (with my help for translations)  without any infrastructure in school that would allow us to blog; and finally, to print the texts typed in colours before giving them back,  just as an humble homage that seeks to enhance the discreet  and often unknown voice of young students.

    This was a story about the love of reading and writing and the transforming power that lies in both of them.

Ines

Effecting Change: the Power of Free Will

https://getstencil.com/app/saved

Image: Stencil

# Edublogs Club Prompt 3

    While having always taught and tutored students in the realm of the traditional learning system, I, as well as so many colleagues, have been constantly worried about the central role our free will plays in the process of learning and the different ways to challenge it, to configure a valuable interpellation to students.

    Yesterday, I found this same concern in the deep reflection of David GuerinIs it possible to teach Grit?”:

“Kids with willpower habits do better.“

“Sometimes, I think we simply tell students to work harder or to persevere, but we aren’t giving them tools they need to learn these skills.

We aren’t teaching the behaviour we want to see.”

“Could we be doing more to explicitly train students how to have willpower?”

      Some of my older students are being introduced to the inspiring book “Make your Bed” by Admiral William Mc Raven – in Portuguese version – just hoping they will feel the power of the injunction to act by self-determination that goes through all the chapters as a burning fuse.

      Earlier, I had found this kind of vital inspiration in the approach of Team Couching proposed by the author Jeff Boss, ancient Navy Seal, in whose work the values instilled emanate from the power of free will as from a burning nucleus.   

    Many of my older students that struggle at school are deeply engaged in boxing, jujitsu, surfing, sailing, tennis… where they may be brilliant and feel empowered, thanks to their total dedication and relentless training.

    However, although these extra school activities allow them to win self-esteem and discover the deep joy of confronting obstacles, we don’t know how to help them to transfer these new competencies and skills to the inner – and only apparently more abstract – realm of academic subjects.

     Angela Duckworth – the author of “Grit, the power of passion and perseverance” – would say the gap between both is due to the fact that the former have been freely chosen, while the latter have been imposed upon students.

     She gives us some strong hope to be able to help our students to  “effect change” by stressing that “there is a surprising parallelism between teaching and parenthood” [1] and she describes how the communication of genuine affection, respect and high expectancies may arouse, in students that struggle in school, a more refined motivation and a stronger resilience in the adventure of learning.

    Yet, the question raised by David Guerin remains actual and urgent as ever:

“Could we be doing more to explicitly train students how to have willpower?”

Ines

[1] – My translation from the Portuguese version.

“In their weakness, a saving power…”

https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/launching-world-day-poor-francis-says-no-christian-may-disregard-serving-themImagem: The Catholic Reporter

 

 On the 19th November, by the invitation of the chief of the Catholic Church, we are celebrating the “World Day of the Poor”.

      In Portugal, each parish chose to open a special space and time, for anyone who may wish, to come freely and spend some time together, all different groups of people, just having a light meal and talking to each other, just deepening human links.

     At the same time, on the backstage, intense campaigns are collecting offers in species or money to support vulnerable families and help them to live  Christmas and through the whole new year, at least until spring, where the campaigns start over again for Easter.

     According to the site “Our World in Data”, along the past two hundred years, extreme poverty has been progressively decreasing in intimate connexion with improvement in health and the expansion of global education.

     However, they are also aware that “living conditions well above the International Poverty Line can still be characterized by poverty and hardship.”

    That’s precisely the case in our country, striving with external debt, high unemployment rates, thousands of people living with minimal salaries, with 40 hours of labour per week, 2,6 million people on the risk of poverty and, only this summer, 418 thousands hectares burned mostly in criminal fires. 

http://www.paroquiadecascais.org/content/view/39808/1/Image Author: João Pinto

     What can we do? First, there’s a lot we are already doing all over the world. Not enough, though. Secondly, then, we must simply enlarge our common actions and multiply our solidarity initiatives.

    Today, the seventh week of the Students Blogging Challenge, Miss Sue W has published the awesome initiatives of young people like Mahica Halepete who created a foundation aiming at contributing to end extreme poverty as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Miss Sue herself gives us some precious and easy tips to contribute locally.

     Our small parish in – Cascais – is engaged in dialogue and support with the martyr town of Erbil, in Iraq, with whom we exchange visits and help to rebuild their clinic.

      The 29 November, our solidarity Foundation AJU will held its Christmas fair, at a central hotel, to gather funds for the 350 families it supports trough several projects on a daily basis.

https://www.facebook.com/fundacaoaju/photos/a.387710261282085.91831.387710131282098/1467202813332819/?type=1&theaterImagem: AJU Facebook

      In our school, all the campaigns, along this school year, will support three centres in Cape Vert (from where hurricanes are blown), mainly poor schools whose buildings are too old and have no adequate resources.

     Just a drop in the ocean, that makes a difference to our brothers, the Poor, and, according to Francis, it makes a difference also to each of us, as

“In their weakness, a “saving power” is present.”

     “What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes.

So we must seek what really matters, and the courage to love, not in words but in deeds”. (1)

     (1) Pope Francis on “the World Day of the Poor

Ines

With a Guest Blogger: “Being Humble”

 Photo by Vittorio Zamboni on Unsplash

  Photo by Vittorio Zamboni on Unsplash   

   This post has been written “at two hands” in alternate paragraphs, with my Guest Blogger:   Margarida CC, 6th Grade.

     Being Humble is an attitude that must be worked out every day: as a cork on the water is constantly pushed to the surface, so we suffer from a natural tendency to become the centre of everything.

    Being Humble may include:

  • Being kind to others;
  • To be aware of ourselves: thus we keep in contact and know more about ourselves.
  • Others get more attention, they feel that someone else understands them.
  • It isn’t enough to be tender and friendly, you have yet to share actively your gifts with others, as a painter shares his pictures, a teacher shares his wisdom and a priest shares his faith.

     As any other value, we may train humility in very simple ways, on a daily basis:

  • To wait five seconds before speaking when a discussion becomes too hot.
  • While engaging in a dialogue with someone, to make a conscientious decision to listen more than to talk.
  • To appreciate the presence of others by raising non-intrusive questions, thus helping others to show the richness of their perspectives.

    To be humble is also to be able to say honestly which attitudes we don’t approve in others without  needing to hurt anyone.

Margarida CC and Ines

Text written “at two hands” according to the book “Quero Ser Escritor” by Margarida Fonseca Santos and Elsa Serra 

“Close Your Eyes and You Will See”

 

https://getstencil.com/app/saved

Image: Stencil

     I chose this quote as the title to a post dedicated to my student Miguel who was celebrating his 15th birthday last Saturday.

    It seems a particularly inspiring quote, although it provokes perplexity at the same time.

     That’s one of the ways quotes unfold their hidden power: they force us to stop the continuous flux of superficial thoughts; we surprise ourselves just staring at the improbable combination of words; then we start listening to a miscellaneous of unformed meanings, and we try to help, at least one of them, to take shape.

     A new born meaning could be like a little sun shining in our minds, sparkling new insights.

    We seem to live at high speed, rarely enjoying the delight of going for a walk out of every known path.

   After a simple pause to reflect upon how we may improve in coping with our work or study, we usually come quickly back to safer ground, where we stay in command. 

   But just by daring some few steps more into the inner wild, perhaps we could hear the underground water of meaning yet unheard of, silently flowing under our feet.

Ines

Life, a Smile, a Limpid Gaze

http://cultureuniversity.com

   Iimage: cultureuniversity.com

      Life  – the first Value – is not a subject that we could write about in a couple of lines; it’s rather a mystery that we can feel.

     Life, multiplied in laughter, keeps jumping, in a vertiginous cascade, through the rocks of Time. We know that suffering is able to bend our hearts, but Life, in itself, is an impetus of uncontained Joy, a foaming enthusiasm that springs from the source.

   Smiling is among the best treasures in Life: with just a Smile we may do a thousand wonders: we may make someone sad to recover contentment again; our Smile is like a wind gust  carrying joy to all those who are capable of capturing it.

   The wonder of a Smile is a quick scintillation of infinity darting out, between two friends, an invincible pact: they will be faithful, they promise mutual support, they trust each other without boundaries. 

     A limpid Gaze is a feeling that don’t allow us to refrain: we have to reveal in refreshing candour, it’s like a river ever flowing.

     A limpid Gaze is an arrow strung in the arch, ready to fly in a straight line: the thoughts are firm,  endorsed by clear words that let the meaning run freely to its end; there is no treason on the lands of Loyalty. 

 Written at “Two Hands”: Federica V, 7th grader and Ines

On a Wonderful Author: Jeff Boss

Image: Escrita Livre

#EdublogsClub Prompt 39

A Call to Transformative Action forged in the Courage of Military Faithfulness

    I’ll try to “listen aloud” to an Author whose work I admire, by letting his challenges resonate in my educator’s world and by giving a personal shape to these injunctions.

    What strikes me most about this Author, Jeff Boss, is how he manages to transfer, with indisputable success, the higher values of Military to the Organizations, Teams and Personal present contexts.

     For our educational world, undergoing uprooting transformations, this may turn to be a decisive help, as our old education system only appealed to the noble cognitive functions. Here, on the contrary, through the multiple ways our Author spreads his powerful message, pervades an unceasingly call to awaken the bravery and faithfulness that qualifies human free will.

    It seems to me the Author’s work unveils a subjacent unity, finely waved trough a constellation of concepts some of which I’m begining to capture and that  I would interpret as:

    All these (and there are a lot more) interweaved concepts deserve a long, thoughtful work in order to be assimilated; in fact, all of them, both in their internal unicity as in their relational unity, follow relentlessly the aim of transforming reality: may it be the complex reticulate issues of organizations, or the art of genuinely deepening teams relationships or even encouraging the most delicate personal efforts to liberate one’s best possibilities.

  Certainly, this empowering work manifests itself in an original set of reflective articles, videos and podcasts, but, beyond these thougthful ways of expression, we must learn from the inner inflection of the Author’s writing, gently pushing the reader towards immediate and transformative action.

   Thus, it may turn to be a reference for us, Educators, who look forward to making continuous progress concerning daring educational challenges, which makes me especially and deeply grateful to the Author.

Ines