How did God come about?

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In our Wonderopolis Project Session last Friday, Thea’s question was “How did God come about?”  It’s a very interesting question and I was interested to know the answer, me coming from a different culture.  I said to myself that I will not intervene.  I just really wanted them to throw questions and thoughts.  I’m after igniting their curiosity. The best thing about this question was the confusion it caused, I love it.  In our heads.  Sooner of later, in our souls.

To cut the 10-minute-sharing short…

Thea:  Okay, I just want everyone to know that I may be wrong about my research and it’s still open for questions and answers.  (Reading her Powerpoint presentation)…Nobody knows how God was introduced in the world.  The best part is that God is a normal person, just like us, but he is capable enough to earn the position of God from human so he is named as God.  The new fact is that when he was a human, his thoughts and advice made him God.

In my head:  Oh okay, interesting. Sounds like a Buddhism.

Thea:  For example… Jesus Christ…

In my head:  Oh interesting, now we’re going for the Catholic perspective.  But the pictures in her presentation show Ganesh.

Thea:  In summary, at one point, you have to make yourself capable enough to earn the position of God…and all of this would only happen if you make a change in your life.

In my head:  Amen.

(A couple of hands raised)

Keya:  I have a question.  If God was really a human, how come he’s blue?  (Referring to Krishna)

In my head:  HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Looks like we’ve got the different religions mixed up! I pray every day, I read the Bible and I go to mass every Sunday.  But really, who am I to tell the answer?  In a country with more than 10,000 religions, who can really tell how God came about?  This is the beauty of being in a place with diverse culture, perspectives and experiences.  They make some questions best left…unanswered.

We all agreed to research more on the topic by talking to our parents, friends, and by reading more about it.  And maybe grow up a little bit.

Then perhaps one day, we will know.

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Read aloud with a Twist!

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Last March 6, we celebrated the World’s Read Aloud Day with a twist!  My class celebrated it by reading aloud the Indian folktale “How the Summer Queen Came to Kashmir” to a Grade 4 class from an international school in Hong Kong.  The read aloud was done through Skype.  We thought that by reading aloud the said tale, it will help students from Hong Kong know more about the rich culture and places of India.  The other class read aloud poems from the book called Joyful Noise by Paul Fleischman.  We had a great time listening to the poems as they read it creatively.

It is the first time that my class had this engagement.  There were challenges like communication, arranging the schedule and the quality of the internet connection.  In the actual read aloud, it was hard to hear and understand each other, but somehow we got through the event smoothly.  Everyone seemed to enjoy, especially the part when my students and the other class were given the opportunity to say hi to each other.  I think in away, my class was amazed seeing other kids from another part of the world.

What I love the most about the engagement is that first of all, it promoted global mindedness by taking part on an event that is celebrated worldwide.  Tanja Galleti, a primary Librarian from an international school in Hong Kong, just twitted about the event.  I replied back as I was interested with it.  She had this wonderful idea of reading aloud through Skype, and I thought that was a good opportunity for my class.  Without her help and initiative, this event would have not been possible.  She was the one who arranged the schedule between me and Andrea Onken, the Grade 4 teacher from Hong Kong, despite her busy schedule.  Of course, much thanks to Andrea as well, as she was also open to do the read aloud with my class.  With this simple interactive activity, we know that we have encouraged reading around the world.

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Secondly, I like that we showed that education is border-less.  In that simple 30 minutes read aloud from both classes, my class learned how to observe and listen, how to model certain behaviour from other students from a different country, and how to use technology to help us learn.  That simple 30 minutes was an opportunity for my students to be communicators, to be open-minded, and a chance to develop self-management skills.  That simple 30 minutes gave us the opportunity to have new friends.

Thirdly, I like how the three of us- Tanja, Andrea and I- were all strangers to each other, yet are united by the same aim and love for collaboration, technology and a global approach to learning.  I don’t know them personally, and I’ve never even worked with them before, but this certainly showed that when there is a goal, openness and some sense of familiarity, strangers can be great company.  Thank you Tanja, Andrea and your wonderful students.  More and more educators are collaborating on-line and I believe that this is one of the best practices a teacher could ever take advantage of.  So thank you for all the selfless teachers out there who keep on sharing and sharing and sharing!  It’s a small world after all, and there is this simple girl in India who highly appreciates you all.

Like what I said, simple as the engagement may be, it brought things that are essential to teaching and learning.  Simple effort like this gives an opportunity for us and our students to be internationally minded.  I’m definitely looking forward to doing this again.

21st Century Learning

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn – Alvin Toffle
I must admit, thinking about 21st century teaching and learning can be very overwhelming…but we all gotta try and start somewhere.  Things we should know about 21st century learning:
9 Characteristics of 21st Century Learning
21st Century Learning
21st Century Learning Model
21st-Century-Learning-Model
 Aand..words from Alvin Toffler
Alvin Toffle
“If you don’t have a strategy, you’re part of someone else’s strategy. ”
“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.”
“The secret message communicated to most young people today by the society around them is that they are not needed, that the society will run itself quite nicely until they – at some distant point in the future – will take over the reigns. Yet the fact is that the society is not running itself nicely… because the rest of us need all the energy, brains, imagination and talent that young people can bring to bear down on our difficulties. For society to attempt to solve its desperate problems without the full participation of even very young people is imbecile.”
“Change is not merely necessary to life – it is life.”
“The future always comes too fast and in the wrong order.”
“To survive, to avert what we have termed future shock, the individual must become infinitely more adaptable and capable than ever before. We must search out totally new ways to anchor ourselves, for all the old roots – religion, nation, community, family, or profession – are now shaking under the hurricane impact of the accelerative thrust. It is no longer resources that limit decisions, it is the decision that makes the resources.”

…enough. 🙂
Resources:

What Charlotte Taught Us: On Reading, Strategies and IB Learner Profile & Attitudes

At last! After 2 months, we have finished our adventure with Charlotte, Wilbur and the rest of the barn.  As this was our first time to run the Literature Circle, I didn’t really expect much from the students.  Feedback time and I, again, was surprised by my young readers.

My grade 4 shared that the Literature Circle helped them to gain friends and to be open-minded to what others have to share.  They learned how to encourage themselves and each other.  They said that to make our discussions better, the class should show more cooperation, open-mindedness and independence. They added that it helped them be more enthusiastic and committed to reading.

What we have learned from the book:  Love, friendship and so much more!

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“That even if you’re very small like a spider or an ant, you can save someone’s life…”

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“I understand that in life anything can happen…like a spider and a pig can be friends…so even a human can be a dog’s friend.  Whenever I see someone fighting, I’ll stop them and say you are friends…”

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“It’s all about loyalty, faith and friendship.  Sometimes I feel like Wilbur…because I also, like him, feel very lonely at times…”

What we learned about reading:  Before and Now…

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“I used to think that reading is just for fun…but now I think reading is something you can learn from…”

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“…every book has adventure, mystery and suspense.”

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“…I used to think that you read because you can say ‘…I’m better than you.’  But now when Literature Circle started, I realized that if you don’t read, you’re lost and you don’t know what to do…”

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“I used to think that reading is just reading…reading is not only reading, it is something that the author is trying to share…”

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“…Now I think reading is not just for fun, but to help us understand life…”

Reading Strategies that Work!

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“…reading with expression because if we read with expressions, we know the character more and what it is feeling…keeping a routine of reading.”

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“…I could talk with the characters and they would talk back to me again after a minute…my post it strategy helped and re-reading, stop and review and last but not the least predicting my favorite…”

On IB Learner Profile and Attitudes…

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“…respect and enthusiasm are the main…”

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“…confidence that I can finish the book…open-minded to myself for difficult words because I get irritated very fast.”

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“The attitude integrity because in the book the characters were telling words like sorry, thank you…”

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“…risk-taker by reading some hard words…empathy and commitment by reminding myself to read…”

I feel very happy and fulfilled as a teacher that there were changes in how my students view reading. The Literature Circle helped them with their attitude, not only with reading, but toward themselves and others.  I think I’m most proud that they opened their little world to a book that they never knew can make an impact to their learning.  They opened their little world to others, and took risks to be in a world that they can still further explore.

And now, one thing’s for sure- we are all very excited for our next set of books!  Hooraay!