Monday, October 29, 2007


I'm starting to evaluate my students' tests and I wonder what shall I do to make them understand the importance of studying, the need to try harder whenever they've got a difficulty.
Youngsters have very easy lives, permissive parents, money to spend on luxury items, so they look at school as a place they must attend effortlessly.They would like that teachers did their own jobs...
Teaching is becoming a very demanding job, but I think that the real "task" is to teach students...something.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Step by step...
we walk to make a difference,
we walk into the future,
so that we make it a better place.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Against Poverty...

On October 17, World Poverty Day, more than 38.7 million people in 110 countries broke the Guinness World Record for the largest number of people to “Stand Up Against Poverty” in 24 hours. Across the globe, millions stood up to demand urgent political action on poverty and inequality. The movement is growing – thanks to all of you who took part!


About 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes, according to the United Nations.
Unfortunately, it is children who die most often.
Yet there is plenty of food in the world for everyone. The problem is that hungry people are trapped in severe poverty. They lack the money to buy enough food to nourish themselves. Being constantly malnourished, they become weaker and often sick. This makes them increasingly less able to work, which then makes them even poorer and hungrier. This downward spiral often continues until death for them and their families.
There are effective programs to break this spiral. For adults, there are “food for work” programs where the adults are paid with food to build schools, dig wells, make roads, and so on. This both nourishes them and builds infrastructure to end the poverty. For children, there are “food for education” programs where the children are provided with food when they attend school. Their education will help them to escape from hunger and global poverty.

Hunger and World Poverty Sources: United Nations World Food Program (WFP), Oxfam, UNICEF.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Volunteer's Stories...

Jacqueline Ryan - Kerala Link - India, 2004/5
One of the best times of my life was spent during my gap year in India. More than a year on since I left India I still have vivid smells, tastes and experiences from the country and the most cherished memories of the people I encountered and worked with. Three years ago is when I initially got in touch with WWV along with a multitude of other sites that recommended and listed voluntary organisations, it was WWV that proved the most helpful and accurate in presenting voluntary opportunities that best suited my ideas. I found Kerala Link, a small charity set up by a couple who had stumbled across Jyothis School, a school for children with mental disabilities, in Kerala, South India.

I had just finished my A-levels in the June and it was my first time living away from home when I started my placement in the September of 2004. The whole experience was both daunting and exciting at the same time, I remember stepping off the plane into a thick of humidity, heat, noise and smells. The roads were crazy. And I'll never forget the evening I arrived in the small town of Mavelikara, my home for the next six months, it was Lord Krishna's birthday and the streets were filled with music, dance, colourful costumes and plenty of food. I jumped out of my taxi and hurried to join the celebration; the first of many to come.
The hospitality and generosity of the locals was unimaginable, people really went out of their way to welcome me and make me feel at home. During the first month, when the novelty period had worn-off, the previous volunteer had gone home, and I was left to cope with the reality of being stuck in such a diversely contrasting country, where I didn't know the language, had no friends or family, and undertaking work that I really didn't have a great deal of experience at - I have to admit, the prospect was daunting.
Caroline, the founder of Kerala Link had provided me with lots of verbal support and contacts to get in touch with, and she advised a very gentle work load to ease myself in. The staff at Jyothis School were difficult to get comfortable with at first as only a couple of them spoke English. I started with just a few mornings a week teaching Makaton sign language which really helped with their communication skills, and took sports, art or dance in the afternoon, which was an enjoyable activity for both staff and the students to join in. Teaching Makaton was a first for me, but I found it easy to pick up and it actually helped me to learn the local language, Malayalam. Once the communication barriers began to come down I realised it was often people were nervous to talk to me more than I was to talk to them, and soon found myself being invited to weddings, tea and full Kerala meals.
I love the kids I worked with, all eighty (as it was then), half of them boarded and the other half of them made up to a three hour journey on the fourteen seater mini bus to school (but it was most likely to be about twenty-five students on the bus). I tried to work with most of the students although some were quite seriously disabled that I felt too inexperienced to conduct sessions that included them. I did lots of art work with the students; from collages, painting, paper lanterns, and a huge mural for the Christmas Nativity. We made costumes and even performed a dance with some of the more able students to "Wig-wam-bam" in the Christmas play. The students loved to dance, I used to join in and we'd all mimic the Bollywood moves or just dance like crazy to the Malayalam songs. Most of the students loved playing sport, or at least attempting to, as running round waving the badminton rackets or just simply booting the football as far and as hard as possible were often a practiced technique. However, I did manage to train up a group of about thirty of the students to take part in the Kerala State Special Olympics, where the students won lots of medals in long jump, shot putt, and all the running events. And just prior to the State championships in March, I organised the first Jyothis School Sports Day, where all the students participated in an event, whether it was the walking race or throw the ball in the bucket and each student was presented with a sports medal I brought over from England.
There are so many individual incidents and memories that are still so vivid in my mind, things always make me chuckle, like when Shubu used to stick a pencil on his top lip and pretend he was the teacher, one hand on waist and the other wagging his finger at the students or at the State Olympics when Regi sprinted past Hassan at the last 100m on the 4x100m relay, Hassan crouched there in a low start position ready to sprint to glory, his dreams stripped away from him, he was in tears of devastation and poor Regi couldn't understand what the problem was, we were cheering him to run - so he just kept running!
It really was the most fulfilling time of my life; I learnt so much on and off placement. I made so many life long friends and received so much from the students than I ever imagined I could teach. It has altered my values, my opinions, and changed my whole perspective on life.
I am now at university studying an Arts Management course and hope that I can one day pay-back what I received again by working in a similar deprived or developing community using the arts as a medium and an opportunity. But whether charity work, voluntary work, or humanitarian aid is in your future plans or not, I do recommend taking a voluntary placement to indulge in experience and broaden the mind.
I would like to thank WWV for their initial help and particular support from Liz who has kept in touch. And of course Kerala Link; a superb charity. Caroline, Colin and Elaine have been a great help and great incentives to do more work
Find out more stories on Worldwide Volunteering


A volunteer is someone who serves in a community or for the benefit of natural environment primarily because they choose to do so. Many serve through a non-profit organization – sometimes referred to as formal volunteering, but a significant number also serve less formally, either individually or as part of a group.
By definition, a volunteer worker does not get paid or receive compensation for services rendered

Each person's motivations will be unique:
Some people argue that there are no purely altruistic volunteers – altruism is a common motivation but never the only motivation for sustained commitment to serve – they say there is always some aspect of personal gain or satisfaction. Other people disagree - some people argue that there are purely altruistic volunteers since there is no way to prove otherwise.
"serving community because doing service makes ones own life better" — is perhaps the most significant motivation for volunteering. It is often mixed with a good dose of altruism. Included here would be the benefits people get from being with other people, staying active, and above all having a sense of the value of ourselves in society that may not be as clear in other areas of life.
many people have in some way benefited from the work of an organization, or more generally, and volunteer to give back.
Some see participation in community as a responsibility that comes with citizenship.
Many faiths hold that service to others or the community is a spiritual duty or a means of reaching higher spiritual states.
Volunteering is a good way to meet a lot of different people from other walks of life and it is often easy to make new friends.

(in Wikipedia)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Today, I don't feel like writing. And an image is worth more than thousand words.

So , here is a rose, for you!

Monday, October 15, 2007


Because today is Blog Action Day!
The world is dying and it's time to stop Earth's destruction.
We don't like to listen to,
we don't like to watch,
we'd rather turn the face to the other side, because this is a very Inconvenient Truth.
This a post dedicated, as well, to Al Gore, awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize ( 2007), for his efforts to call our attention to the ecological disaster the Planet is facing, and to remind us all that we can still save IT.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hot Dog!!!...

To smile!
A lot...
so cute!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Learn Foreign Languages Online...

We can learn a foreign language speaking it online. It also offers the possiblity to make friends from different parts of the Planet.
Try it on

The Future Of The Past Tense...

Harvard Scientists Predict The Future Of The Past Tense
"We're really on the front lines of developing the mathematical tools to study evolutionary dynamics," says Jean-Baptiste Michel, a graduate student in systems biology at Harvard Medical School and an affiliate of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics. "Before, language was considered too messy and difficult a system for mathematical study, but now we're able to successfully quantify an aspect of how language changes and develops."
Just as genes and organisms undergo natural selection, words -- specifically, irregular verbs that do not take an "-ed" ending in the past tense -- are subject to powerful pressure to "regularize" as the language develops.
"Mathematical analysis of this linguistic evolution reveals that irregular verb conjugations behave in an extremely regular way( ...) "We measured something no one really thought could be measured, and got a striking and beautiful result."
Lieberman, Michel, and colleagues built upon previous study of seven competing rules for verb conjugation in Old English, six of which have gradually faded from use over time. They found that the one surviving rule, which adds an "-ed" suffix to simple past and past participle forms, contributes to the evolutionary decay of irregular English verbs according to a specific mathematical function: It regularizes them at a rate that is inversely proportional to the square root of their usage frequency.
In other words, a verb used 100 times less frequently will evolve 10 times as fast.
The group's Nature paper makes a quantitative, astonishingly precise description of something linguists have suspected for a long time: The most frequently used irregular verbs are repeated so often that they are unlikely to ever go extinct.
"Irregular verbs are fossils that reveal how linguistic rules, and perhaps social rules, are born and die," Michel says.
"If you apply the right mathematical structure to your data, you find that the math also organizes your thinking about the entire process," says Lieberman, whose unorthodox projects as a graduate student have ranged from genomics to bioastronautics. "The data hasn't changed, but suddenly you're able to make powerful predictions about the future."

in TerraDaily: News About Planet Earth

Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Birthday...

Francisco...eleven (11) years ago.
So tiny, so helpless and needless to say so beautiful.
Time! seconds, minutes, hours...years passed and today I remember once again the most wonderful day in my life. His birth was the greatest gift I was ever given.
My life, my view of the world simply changed from that day on.
My dear son... as you grow I wish you to be the happiest boy, I wish you to be able to follow your path, step by step but always strong and determined.
Francisco, I wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY....

Thursday, October 04, 2007


A new school year has started and I felt overwhelmed by work : lots of meetings, many doubts and new classes. New students mean a new challenge. Then, the hard task to memorise so many names that represent so many new faces, personalities and last but not less important attitudes and skills that will be polished and embellished so that each one of them, in the end, shows off the success of learning.
This is a place I use to invite students to come to so that they can express themselves far from the weight of judgement and evaluation. They'll see a different perspective of learning - a funny way. Yes, that's right, learning is fun sometimes.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Freegans are a group of people that get out at night, looking for food in the gargabe in New York streets. They are becoming a new urban subculture growing in the "city that never goes to sleep".
Freegan is an expression that combines the word vegan, that designates those that don't eat or wear anything which is from animal origin, and free with the meaning of uncostly. The freegans are people, a growing group,that have reduced their consumist habits to the minimun and that live with what others throw out. They don't want to depend on the companies which they believe are destroying natural resources, the environment and that take advantage of unfair labour practices.
They are aware that being a freegan is not socially accepatable, but they are hoping to change, at least, some people's habits and to reduce comsumerism.
Generally speaking what they do is recycling food that is thrown away by large stores. According to them as well as to food experts , there are large quantities of food that is put in the garbage in perfect sanitary conditions to be eaten.
Most Freegans are people who have or used to have comfortable and easy lives but have decided to change their attitude in relation to money and are trying to help save the Planet...their own way.