Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Photo Essays

I had fun watching my students create their own photo essays. I had students who chose to use their family's pictures and re-create a familiar story. Others decided to show a different story; this one being a love story that goes through many struggles and difficulties. One student decided to educate us all in the negative effects of drugs both on our health and also on our relationships.
Then there was the student who loves to play online games. Quite appropriately, he chose to design his photo-essay to include a meeting online:-)
The reflections were also interesting reading. Students were able to express their own reasons to designing what they did, and then articulating what they learned from the other's presentations. All in all, I think this assignment went well. I have to admit I was a bit nervous as it was something that I had not done previously.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Reflecting on Romeo and Juliet

Reflecting on Romeo and Juliet

My students have been working on photo-essays on love and marriage. We have read part of Romeo and Juliet, watched part of the movie, and now we are working on expressing what love and marriage means to us with photos.
To give my students an idea what an photo essay might look like, I took out my photo album and scanned pictures from when I first dated, got engaged, married and had  my daughter. Some of my students did not even recognize me!

As I have previewed the photo essays, or worked with my students to create them, I have noticed that some of my students have created extensive stories that go through the whole life time of two people in love. Two of my students insisted that they needed a picture of a cemetery! I asked, why? One of them explained, "that's how life ends. You know, you die. Everyone dies."

I am looking forward to the presentations later this week. I am especially looking forward to observing the reactions of my students as they watch the presentations their classmates have created.
It also makes me wonder if and how much the presentations would be different if we had waited to do this assignment after reading Romeo and Juliet--not just reading part of it. Maybe next time, I will wait later in the story to do this assignment. Until then, double happiness to all!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Reflections

On Friday evening I had a wonderful Seder dinner with friends. We went through the whole journey of God's people. We remembered their sufferings, their uprisings against God, their  punishments, and finally, their redemption through Jesus Christ.
I was again reminded of my own shortcomings, my mistakes, but most of all, God's wonderful mercy. I would not be who I am if I could not trust that I am forgiven. I am not forgiven because I am so good, but because God loves me! And because He loves me, He has chosen to forgive me! I rejoice in that forgiveness that is given to me by grace!
When I reflect on God's grace, I also think about my students. You know the one student that can really push your buttons? Or the other one that does not understand personal space, or the one that never does his homework? What about the one who always giggles at the wrong time or at the wrong thing? Or the one who always needs to sharpen a pencil when everyone is finally quiet? What is my response to these students? Will I show mercy and grace? Or will I just re-enforce the rules without any thought about forgiveness or mercy? What role does forgiveness play in my or in your classroom? I am not just talking about saying sorry to a fellow classmate when you say a bad word or take their paper by mistake. But real forgiveness.
What about giving a second chance completing an assignment? What about firm due dates? Is it about "deserving" a second chance? When is it fair to show mercy (or grace) to one student but require the others to follow the rules and due dates?
I think I need divine wisdom every day in the classroom. I need understanding that goes beyond my classroom. Perhaps that will be my prayer for the rest of this school year: Give me wisdom from above. Help me to understand the needs of my students. Help me to see beyond the obvious.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My story has many chapters...here is one of them

I wrote a poem during the last week of the month long writing challenge about slicing. I the poem I had a line that said:
     The words call me again:
     they whisper and say,
     come back in April
     our story has more chapters!
I have been thinking a lot about my story. It has been 22 years since I came to the US the very first time. I was coming to meet my future in-laws before flying overseas to get married. I met my in-laws, and many other family members and friends who are still very much part of my life. 
Then 20 years ago I came back to the US with a couple suitcases, sick husband and I was pregnant. Life was very uncertain at  that time. We did not know what was ahead of us. When I look back to that time, I am very grateful that I did not know what was ahead of me and us. It was a lot easier to believe that God will take care of me, when I could only see a small slice of the future. I don't know what I would have done, if I had seen the entire slice of life at that time.
What did I learn from that chapter of my life? God is faithful! I have to say it again: God is faithful! Let me explain: I came with two suitcases, but I never lacked anything.  Yes, my husband passed away, but I had a healthy baby girl who has been my joy ever since. I did not have a job, but I was able to go to school (and later on have that job). I did not have a husband, but I had great family members and friends who volunteered their time to help with babysitting. I did not have a big immediate family, but I have had a big church family that has always welcomed us with open arms. Yes, God has been faithful--both then and now.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Life after Slice of Life

I knew I had to get up a bit earlier today to cook a dish for church lunch (as the lazy bug inflicted me on Saturday). But I have to admit that I had a hard time getting up; maybe because I stayed up way too late to watch a movie on Hulu.  I had calculated that one hour would be enough time to cook my dish.
I came downstairs, started my dish, ground the coffee beans, started brewing fabulous coffee, and decided to check my cell phone. SURPRISE, surprise, my alarm clock upstairs had switched to daylight savings time (you know, according to the old schedule)!!!!  I had gotten up an HOUR earlier than I thought! No wonder the house was so quiet!
So, the dish is cooking, coffee is done...what to do? No slice to write today. Seems strange. Well, nobody says I can;t write even though the Slice of Life challenge is over for the year. Here I am. Enjoying my morning coffee, second day of spring break, contemplating breakfast while smelling the main dish cooking in the kitchen, and watching the morning news. Oh, here comes the weather report; let's see if we will see the sun today? Who knows, maybe I will get a few more things accomplished this morning--with the extra hour.