Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Trivia

In line with the meme du jour, did you know that (?):

"Halloween was originally a Celtic holiday celebrated on October 31.

Halloween was brought to North America by immigrants from Europe who would celebrate the harvest around a bonfire, share ghost stories, sing, dance and tell fortunes.

Orange and black are Halloween colors because orange is associated with the Fall harvest and black is associated with darkness and death.

According to folklore, the jack-o-lantern got his name from a man named Jack.

Turnips and beets served as the original jack-o-lanterns.

Jack o lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep away spirits and ghosts on the Samhain holiday.

Mexico celebrates 'The Day of the Dead' instead of Halloween. "

Now for a side note. Perhaps the last item is a part of the cultural dimension largely overlooked in understanding the Manila and Acapulco Galleon? Could be a good place to start when revisiting Philippine History. Trik or Trit! Hapi Halowin!

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Multimedia Answers to the S-word

We routinely get the socialization question when conversations take the route of Homeschooling, Unschooling, Deschooling. So here are some audio-visual responses.

Learning about metamorphosis at a butterfly garden

Pottery activity at

Trip to Manila Ocean Park

And violin recitalist guesting at a brick and mortar school (Will insert YouTube video here.)

Disclaimer: Homeschooling is not for everyone (yet.)

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This could change your view of physical change ...

Image credits:

... vs. chemical change. I don't know about you but it made stop and wonder ... *hmm*

David Pescovitz says that: "UCLA physicists demonstrated that if you pull off a piece of Scotch tape inside a vacuum chamber, the tape releases enough X-rays to image bones through skin." More here.

While we are at it, the word of the day is: triboluminescence

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Testing a test

Just trying this out from BBC. It's about Science: Physical Processes: Earth, Sun and Moon.

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How would you start counting this?

Got this photo via e-mail. Thanks to Al Leonidas. Not sure about its ultimate provenance, but if I got a chance to see it "live", I'd set up a class with a topic about Addition, Multiplication, etc. Sounds like "Carpe Diem!"

Now it makes more sense to have 5 fingers on each hand. That's how fruit vendors count a "buwig" of bananas! Suddenly I feel like throwing a banana cue party.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

This tells a story of ...

... a tricycle ride,

 a mobile phone,

 and a 100-peso bill.

There's a compelling lesson here. There are still a few good men. I'm still unsure about the story's  title.

Images courtesy of, and

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Making a "lava lamp"

This requires the use of Alka-seltzer but we couldn't get hold of that interesting "candy", so we used Mentos and soda.

... and the word of the day is "effervescence."

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ordinary Things, Extraordinary Learning

Just discovered a teachable moment from these objects. Shades of 4th Grade Maths, right?

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Monday, October 13, 2008

"Start focusing on skills ...

... of wonder, discovery and exploration."

You've got to like Steve Spangler.

"A great teacher kind of gives us unforgettable learning experiences."

Care to play darts?

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Connecting and Co-Creating Elderhood

Life is journey. And a learning one at that. The key is to find real meaning in that stage that a journeyman is in.

Inner self-discovery is also important. When the outward self loses its former glory (of physical beauty and strength), then it's time to look inside.

One huge lesson could be "Find your true voice instead of simply complying with external forces."

As Richard Leider wrote in his blog post on 16th August 2008:

"Midway through our lives, many of us find ourselves living as if our fundamental growth is behind us. We have, perhaps, accepted our society's dated view of adulthood--that the person we have become at midlife is done becoming.”

Wrong. Grown ups grow too.

Sometimes, mysteriously, we enter what the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung called "the second half of life." Jung wrote:

"Wholly unprepared, we embark upon the second half of life. . .
we take the step into the afternoon of life;
worse still we take the step with the false assumption
that our truths and ideals will serve us as before.
But we cannot live in the afternoon of life
according to life's morning--
for what was great in the morning
will be little at evening, and
what in the morning was true
will at evening have become a lie."

How do we grow in the second half? What exactly is growth? Does it happen to everyone?

We cannon (sic) tell if we have entered the "afternoon of life" by counting the number of candles on our birthday cake. We do not enter the second half just because we reach a magical age. To know where we are in our life's journey, we must learn to look inside. When we look within, we often discover that the second half is a new quest with new questions like:

* My passion is draining away. I'm losing my edge. Where do I find the spark?

* I chose my life's work years ago and brushed aside certain "gifts" that I had. Why are they coming back demanding to be expressed?

* I feel like I look old. I cannot hide the signs of aging anymore. Why does it bother me so much?"

But we should go beyond the past by crafting a present that leads into the future.

For that purpose, here are some guide questions from p. 233 of Eugene Bianchi's book "Elder Wisdom".

1. What do you feel have been the important successes in your life? The frustrations or failures?
2. What were the important turning points in your life? Describe.
3. What have been the most influential experiences of your life? Most influential people?
4. Are there periods of your life that you remember more vividly than others? Which ones? Why?
5. If you were writing the story of your life, how would you divide it into chapters?
6. What sorts of things frighten you now? When you were in your 60? 40s? 20s? In childhood?
7. What kinds of things give you the most pleasure now? When you were in your 60? 40s? 20s? In childhood?
8. If you could live you whole life over, what would you do differently?
9. Do you feel differently about yourself now from how you felt when you were younger?
10. If a young person came to you asking what's the most important thing in living a good life, what would you say?
11. What do you think has stayed the same about you throughout life? What do you think has changed?
12. How can one prepare for old age?
13. How do you feel about growing old now?
14. If you were going to live 5, 10, 20 more years, what would you do?
15. What is the hardest thing about growing older? The best thing?
16. What do you look forward to now?
17. Do you think about death?

Adapted from Ageless Self by Sharon Kaufman.

Now, to make better sense of the above questions and as a matter of personal legacy, I'd like to be able to set up my own pathway home for creative elderhood.

Here's a Pathway home model where I can enjoy my creative elderhood -

"While providing needed clinical care, the Pathway Home and lifestyle also attend to Elders’ quality of life by providing privacy, honoring autonomy and choice, creating a sense of safety, security and order, fostering enjoyment, providing meaningful activities, promoting functional competence, and conveying the importance of the individual’s dignity. "

Here are some typical goals of the daily program of my own pathway home:

  • To conduct exciting and fulfilling activities that sustain dignity and self esteem, confidence, social support, and stimulation
  • To enrich the lives of the elderly sharing their typical days with the home by creating a special time and place to enjoy warm, individualized and group attention in a safe, nurturing, creative, yet structured setting
  • To provide a comfortable environment for elders to maintain interdependence, re-discover friendships, and remain productive
Granted that the physical and social environment are set, crafting and developing one's creative elderhood would typically entail providing assistance to other elders in keeping a personal journal. The pervasive availability of Information and Communication Technology tools could take the form of a digital scrapbook or slambook. (That sounds like "the medium is the message.") But the services of a Digital Historian could also come in handy.

Blogging is a good place to start. The textual form can then be enhanced by multimedia contents of photographs, audio and video.

Part of my involvement would be delivering online training via video -- as a natural extension of face-to-face training/teaching which has been a major part of my earlier productive life. After all, my passion has always been to leave a meaningful mark on other people's lives through education and in the process become a lifelong learner myself. Who knows, that can be my way of co-creating a collective spiritual legacy.

Tessa Yuvienco's Concept Paper on Late Adulthood Program


Berk, Laura E. Development Through the Lifespan,8180,981256-,00.html

Bernstein, Arn. September 2007. Spirituality and Aging: Looking at the Big Picture. Online.

Biancchi, Eugene (1994). Elder Wisdom: "Crafting Your Own Elderhood".

Leider, Richard. Claiming your Place at the Fire: Living the Second Half of Your Life on Purpose -

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This could be a useful resource on Philippine Animals

Photo credits: Wikipedia

A Webquest can be done here. How? Look for the corresponding animal names in the Wikipedia article.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Neck Exercise

Got this via email, but instead of simply forwarding it, thought I might as well post it here.

Could be good to do each morning. Or when you feel the need to loosen up your neck muscles.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Teacher at 9 years old?

Yes, that's what Adora Svitak is. She's got good press via CNN and of course the Internet, without which her tremendous feat would have been hardly possible.

Check out Adora's blog here.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Passion is key ...

Image credit:

Perhaps this blog entry by Ruel S. De Vera resonates with familiarity for some of us. It does for me.

He speaks of not liking school from Kindergarten to College. Then he sort of liked postgraduate school. But not after realizing the value of work and the role of blending learning and teaching in life's journey outside the classroom. Take it from him:
"It’s true. Grad school takes a completely different sense of organization and cerebral work ethic. The biggest element is that nobody will bug you to do it. You have to figure it out or just fall away altogether. The fact that I was part of the start of something really big (Ateneo’s MA Journalism program) really pushed me."
And the lesson seems to be: "You have to love what you are doing. So the choices are: sink or swim. Now who wants to achieve 'learned helplessness'?"

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Comparing Numbers

Some schools ban playing cards to keep the kids away from gambling. This is understandable as a measure administrative control. But it seems like school management just don't realize that with a little imagination, kids find all sorts of ways to gamble. A friend of mine told me that back in grade school they'd mark the sides of pencils with numbers and forthwith have a dice equivalent. But I digress.

Playing cards could be useful for teaching comparative values of numbers. The video below could be instructive. Now whether this would lead to gambling skills is a matter of values education (Do you sense a pun here?).

How To Teach Number Comparisons -- powered by

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