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Create a brochure about Corcovado and put the photos on there.

Highlight events for this month or next month on the other board.

Get students to give feedback on how these events apply to them.

There is a possibility that they will want to use this to create a Facebook profile. I’d let them do that, primarily because it will make them feel more confident.

(You’ll notice in some of the pictures that I am duplicating information. This is a part of my daily routine. I made posters on a certain topic or element I am infusing everyday. I then make it visual that actually makes a BIG CHANGES sometimes. You’ll notice the use of tape, making marks and other ways to help them see what is going on.) While I have them here, I teach them about signing statements.

Signature Statement

I begin with a discussion about the document being signed. I make sure it is clear that I am signing on behalf of the school and/or in some way they will make a commitment to something. We discuss that signing a document means that we are giving an oath or promise to fulfill something. I stress the importance of being a positive role model and I ask students if they think signing a doctor’s note would be a good idea. (No. Couldn’t get in trouble for that!) They love when I use ourselves to achieve the point of signing statements.

Next we discuss their signatures. We discuss what we can SEE before we sign. Hold their hands high in air.

Then we discuss writing in cursive. I write some things by holding the pencil just so I capture the strokes and patterns.

This is a good introduction to our writing expectations, especially because I get to reference the block and cursive letter forms.

We finish some things up and I delete the discussion questions because I am getting a critical error upon saving. I think the other discussion questions will be better done with the group I am right-sizing…and I am no longer struggling to control 82 students.


This lesson is much better done in small groups because that is how it is intended. At a maximum 125 students, it is possible to do this lesson in small groups.

Student Roles and Responsibilities

They need 8 students in groups during two days.

They need to arrive prepared. This is one of the most critical parts of this lesson and I know that some students think they can just come in and wing it. Nope. I don’t let ANYONE get away with this, even if I let it slide the day before.

Out of 250 students, I am able to get 150 students to do what it takes to enjoy this lesson.

The previous day I will get the cast for the day’s theatrical. I set this up on a command line. Based on the 70 who have filled in paperwork, it will pull cast for that day. I have my signs ready for posting.

Establish Lead and Scout

Set Layout – I post pictures and graphics from the entrance.

Set Programming – I know there will be some items they want to help their partners to see and therefore they want to do some inventing. First I select them each day. Then I somehow personally verify their sign-up, especially those who changed their mind or didn’t show up no matter how many times I announced the future days and times.

Then I decide what order I want all of my products to be shown. Not everything goes in three days because some are better to be shown on one or the other without the running back and forth like the Transatlantic cable.

(Long, long ago, I started with word cards to make it easy and fun. This led me to a creativity station on displays, boards and notebook covers. It even led to stuff on cubbies (please laugh, anyway.))

I post this day only. Anything that was on a day before is too confusing and they think they missed it.

I check in constantly with the students I can see to make sure that they are doing their daily job.

If they want to change, they will indicate they want to change. I will often select the next best candidate who might not have signed up if no one wants to change.

There are times when students see a slide I don’t put up…so there is discussion to be had even in my classroom here. (That was one of the lamest excuses for a joke ever. I am very sorry.) I might have to visit with them to examine the risk/benefit.

I offer mementos to my days that are great representations of those days and the time we put into it.

I have them write about their experience of the trip. It had to be their first hand experience, not something observed from the street from a bus window. The 20 most deserving of the experience are gifted with a Corcovado brochure.

Even as a result of leave days and cancelled days, I am able to get everyone in. Day #1, they teach me to say “You already spoke” in Spanish.

“Tui Vay!”

Day 2: The Railroads

You’ll notice differing circles. This has been foreshadowed and the students are feeling right at home. I’ll see students looking at them and it will bother me so that I address it. Surveys are a good follow-up to decide their next question, if they want to go further. But, still, these can be ‘good enough’ and hard to argue. Students will argue No, that’s wrong, I have been taught it this way. Then I ask them if they will please make an audio recording on the topic, with your own name and submission-name in the title, which will describe what a little YouTube of your proof sounds like. If they don’t, then it’s my chance to tell them something they don’t want to hear. After seconds of silence it is easier to push the iPad away, then they might want to say, but let me try this really easy phrase, “Okay.” And then perhaps pull up her device and record. Now let’s imagine that I actually put this out for global consumption for the lessons to come. So let’s have some steps shall we?

Next comes your assessment-summary which can be a tape for transport, CD, AV file or some other means of transfer on the network.

(This had me scratching my head. AM uses this same process except I’m using CD now and using a device only for Library filing. Flashdrive is a very expensive solution for this. Please think again.)

What can you possibly need with vignettes? A lot of things. One of my favorite things they can do with is use their iPad or a website to launch their audio recording that way–all within Explore. If I move signals around that are outside the demo, they get frustrated–not realizing that you can do so much more throughout the app. I was avoiding the entire thing but then I realized that they can still follow my instructions while they can show off their signal. I literally had to edit a recording because a colleague and mentor showed me how to do something a ‘yo detalle’ meant a different outcome for that specific signal. Perfect. Perfect for student-practice and confidence-building.

School Evidence that Students Have Learned

I asked that this was assessed before really learning from the screen up in the front…which is the highlight of the lesson. I need to assess and differentiate by MY standards before proceeding further. We record what we can assess. And if there is a question about utility (rubber stamp et al), then that is expected of us. Spot check, as usual for me I have to assess by myself. (Please do it out of the room with as many classes having my assessments there so they can see it is okay to do this. Teachers need to consult a colleague and then support that if done right.)

Items I discussed before going at low-level items first, then returning to the lesson requirements.

I want everyone to join in. I want them to identify things they previously knew. They are asking questions in response to identifying what they think they can’t answer. And they don’t remember it. They do remember it as a gesture. And when I ask them, they may tell me what I want them to offer or they will be unable to get to the end of the gesture. I have demonstrated with my “domo arigato” to get their attention. When there is a big crowd and no one wants to get the answer, you allow them to show you what they know by creating the ‘save the world gesture’ by joining hands in a gesture. I discuss this with them, because it is really a bad sign if they cant come up with the phrase consciously. So, before we even proceed with discussion, one person holds up an answer, “domo arigato.” Ten, hands up! Hooray! Now these became a trigger inside the lesson. Students quickly would decide when that would be a sign of cheating (with all their respective excuses.) or a sign of genuine cluelessness instead. Or it would be the whole class digging around in their memory to the point they would almost despair and announce in wonder, Ok. Odd. I don’t remember it. Can we use the tape?

In retrospect I can tell you that an audio recording allows YOU to quickly repeat key phrases 6-9 times Or “Reverencia a la vida” about the living history, culture, and the folklore of the indigenous people or about an oral history about the culture of contemporary indigenous people in Mexico. You can submit the article to La Jornada Nacional. It will be published.

Counting On Cave Drawings

Review of the book “Counting On Cave Drawings: A Memoir of a Count,” by Jacoba van Veelen, 2015, El Escritorio Publishing House, Guadalajara, Mexico.


Introduction: What is a Memoir?

What is a memoir (English only) is a significant statement that make the memoir become a significant book that contains surprises and magical coincidences. What is a memoir (English version) was written in German. I was hooked by the working title, “Der Kredithai,” The Lender, after having skipped the German word, “Kredithai,” The Lender, that stuck in my throat.

Conclusion: Autobiographical or Literary

Autobiographical or literary memoirs follow the same path, however, Mr. Veelen’s life story is a remarkable tale filled with adventures, twists, and unexpected turns. If it were written in any other medium, this book would be a novel and my book is historically true.

Recommendation: Memoirs that can be compared to “Counting On Cave Drawings”

I recommend the review of ‘An Almost-True Story,’ one of my Professor’s assignments at Stanford University. This exercise was quite challenging as we had to analyze an autobiography and to compare it to other autobiographical statements of the same period. The assignment can be done in English or any other language that you choose.

Remember: What is an Autobiography?

Autobiography is someone’s life story written by themselves. It adds the author’s point of view to the subject of their choice. The author retells experiences that they believe are important events.

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