Friday, March 30, 2007

Why I am a good teacher...

...according to Elizabeth.

This was included in her letter to a third grader in Florida. I asked that she remove it from her letter, but I thought I would share. I think she was shooting for an "A" :) Once again, I'm including the mistakes.

I love a lot my teacher because 9 things:
1. that she is kindful
2. she is thruthful
3. lovely
4. she is just and have fun and cool Ideas
5. she is realy fun
6. she love me a lot and
7. teach very well
8 when I'm sick and I don't go to school my teacher splane me very good in a paper the homework.
9 Is GREAT my teacher!

Gotta love her!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Student Letters

My students have written letters about themselves which I will be sending to third graders at Edgewater Elementary. Before I ship them off, I had to share a funny one with you. I am typing it (I'll include the errors...), to save time trying to figure out the scanner. It's from Pablo (who wants his new penpals to know him as "Paul).

Dear Stranger,
I am Paul, A happy mexican hat learns English every week. I like to read, cook, sports, and video games. I would like that you write me a letter and to know where you live. I would like to know if you have a Pet. I am 10 years old. I live in Bugambilias, a neighborhood in mexico. My favorite color is red. My brother's name is Fernando. My dad is a famos Toyota car salesman in Guadalajara. My mom bakes fresh chocolate muffins. I go to Lincon school. I like math class and. I do my homework every day.

Your new friend,

Note: He does not do his homework every day. And I have yet to recieve any fresh chocolate muffins :)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Orozco Murals

So much of today was just perfect. Beginning with my morning jog--the weather was nice. I passed many of the gorgeous, flowering, purple trees that are blooming now. I saw a beautiful family including a dad and two sons dressed in khakis and the typical latino gauzy white button-up tops with a mom dressed to the nines. It all just made me really happy.
I had decided sometime this week that I wanted to go see the murals by José Clemente Orozco. He's a pretty well known Mexican artist who has some works in GDL. This morning I checked out my guidebook and discovered that they are in a building which I have passed unknowingly at least half a dozen times. For some reason I always thought they were in another part of town. So, I gathered a couple of willing girls and we went to check them out.
(Another thing that made today perfect was getting directions to the downtown area from all-knowing Rachel. Thanks to her, we took a quick bus and a nice trainride straight to where we needed to be. It was faster and much more enjoyable than the alternative bus route.)
The murals are in a building called the Instituto Cultural Cabañas, which was formarly an orphanage and some other things as well I think. The entrance fee (for teachers/students) was a whopping 5 pesos, or about $.50 The murals were in the main cathedral entrance area. They are pretty magnificant. Photos-unfortunately-really do no justice to murals. We caught up with a tour, and that was helpful in identifying some of the subjects of his paintings and learning a little about Orozco's life. He lost his left hand. Was very influenced/changed after the Revolution. His murals depicted a lot of his political ideals, most of which were lost on me since I have a very basic knowledge of Mexican history.
The Instituto Cultural Cabañas also had another gallery area, with many styles of paintings and sculptures. I really had been craving a good art fix, and I feel like I got one today.
We went in search of more murals at the Governor's Palace. Never made it (they weren't open) but we did encounter a tent with artisan vendors from all over this area. In another plaza there was some kind of plant-selling festival going on. Jenny bought a turtle (from the one non-plant vendor).
The weather stayed perfectly mild, which was a welcome break from the midday heat we've been experiencing lately. All in all, a lovely day. I am inspired to research some more about Mexican artists. Right now on my list are Orozco and Gerardo Murillo, who called himself Dr. Atl.

The main ceiling. A little like the "Creation of Adam" with the oustretched hands, ey?

The man seated on the left is the Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quijote. On the right is the Spanish painter, El Greco.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Saturday, fairly spontaneously, Jenny, Jillaine, and I decided to go to Tapalpa, a puebla outside of Guadalajara. The plan was actually for a group of us to all go, but when rental car plans fell through, many decided not to go.
The three of us still wanted to go (we have Monday off and I didn't relish the idea of three days with no plans...) so we headed for the bus station around noon. The ride to Tapalpa would take about an hour and a half in a car, but in a bus it's about 3-3 and a half hours.
Tapalpa isn't full of a lot to see or do, but that is what made this trip wonderful. There were no busses, cabs, busy streets, or smog. We got off the bus and walked up the road toward the centro to find a hotel. The first that we tried was cheap, but had no vacancies. The second was a success (we each paid about $12 for the night). Saturday evening we walked the streets of the little puebla. We sampled some street food, found a really cheap and delicious Mexican dinner, and listened to mariachis play while sitting on the steps of the cathedral.
On Sunday we woke up early and headed out to find breakfast at one of the 15 or so street vendors that were lined up outside of the cathedral area. We ended up each getting a large cup of fruit (guess what-I finally like papaya!), and two tamales. Tapalpa is apparently famous for this certain type of tamale (the name eludes me at the moment), but it is wrapped on the outside in a spinach-like leafy green, with cheese and rajas on the inside. It was delish.
Then, after storing our backpacks in the hotel lobby, we hiked to the piedras... large rocks that are one of the (only) sights to see here. It was about a 5 km walk and since we left before the heat of the day, it was glorious! We were in the mountains, passing farms and ranch homes, flowers, mountains, hills, tons of trees. It was such a mix of environments... in one view you could see a pine tree forest, a palm tree, and cacti all at once.
The rocks were cool, but not really awe-inspiring. However, the combination of the walk, relaxing on the rocks, and being in the fresh air made everything perfect.
After the rocks we hung around the town a bit more to sample more goodies, and then we caught the 3:00 bus back to Guadalajara (this time we knew better and got off before the bus headed downtown... saving ourselves about 2 hours of travel time!)
I am sunburned and tired. But it was such a perfect little getaway--I loved it!
The Centro.

Breakfast in Tapalpa

On the way to the rocks.

Jillaine's adorable ice cream dessert.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

My week.

On Wednesday the third graders got to go on a field trip to the BIMBO bread factory (yes, that's the real name of the brand of bread. It's very popular here). It was a very last minute trip... we were asked the Friday before if we wanted to go, because the 6th graders couldn't make it. Joy, Ms. Charo the Spanish teacher, Two parents, and I were the chaperones. It turned out to be a very interesting, fun trip! They had an introductory video explaining the history of bread and the BIMBO company. We had to were hairnets and headphones to hear our guide's voice (which was a great move because it prevented the kids from talking among themselves). We toured the factory and saw the awesome machines, conveyor belts, packaging, ovens, etc. The kids loved it.. and so did I! Perhaps one of their favorite parts of the trip was lunch time. They got to eat and play on this great on-site playground (with a full-sized soccer field!). Lincoln doesn't have much in the way of fields... well, none really... so that was a treat for them. After lunch, we came back to the theatre room and each of us was given an amazing gift bag full of BIMBO samples, little sandwich baggies, and toys. The children were definitely occupied on the way back to school.
Perhaps the greatest of all--the trip was free! We only paid for the bus. BIMBO must know that it's a great advertising scheme.
Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to take any pictures. They took one group picture and gave it to the school. So, you won't be seeing my cute hair-net students :(

On Thursday I started having a sore throat again, and by Friday it hurt like crazy and I had a fever, the chills, body aches, etc. I'm thinking it might be strep throat, so I got some antibiotics just in case... i don't want to go infect all of my students tomorrow. You gotta love the non-prescription required pharmacy's here. It is so convenient. :)