Snapshots of Mother’s Week.

What is Motherhood? I’m still trying to figure the answer out… some days I just feel like we’re “getting by”, instead of living… other days, are simply wonderfully perfect…. and, most of the days, are plain regular, filled with lots of “mom!!! come here, please!!!” or “mom!!! she took something from my bedroom!!!” or even, a gibberish cry that could mean anything from hunger, pain, to simply: “mom, hold me in your arms…”

Anyway, here are a few shots from this past “Mother’s Day (weeklong celebration)”

[Português/English] Marine Turtles in Northeastern Brazil – Projeto TAMAR em Fernando de Noronha

Five of the world’s seven sea turtle species are found in Brazil.

For over 20 years TAMAR project is responsible for identifying and protecting nesting beaches and feeding areas, doing research, promoting awareness and involving the local community.

Thanks to good planning, loyal sponsorship and an innovative merchandising program they are able to maintain 20 bases in Brazil. Releasing more than 600 thousand hatchlings every year, the TAMAR bases have become important tourism attractions and mean income to 1200 families.

[NOTE FROM BLOGGER] ALL THE INFORMATION BELOW IS PROVIDED BY WWF BRAZIL:
Project: Supported by WWF
Year started: 1982
Other Partners/Supporters: Petrobrás
Address: Alameda do Boldro s/no. – Fernando de Noronha – PE
Contact: Claudio Bellini
e-mail: infonoronha@tamar.org.br
more info: www.projetotamar.org.br
Area: Natural
Activities: Visit a conservation unit
Equipments: sandals, shorts, t-shirts, swimming gear, towel, small backpack, sunglasses, sunscreen
Gateway: Recife ou Natal
Near airport: Fernando de Noronha – PE
Dist. from the airport: 2 KM
Max. number visitors: 15
Min. number visitors: 2
Max. Lenght: 10 day(s)
Min. Lenght: 2 day(s)
Level: easy
Activity: Enviromental, Scientific, Social
Best time to go: February, March, April, May
Attending a night-time lecture (9 pm) at the TAMAR Institute

[Portuguese] O arquipélago de Fernando de Noronha, composto por 21 ilhas e ilhotas de origem vulcânica, está situado a 345km de Natal, capital do Rio Grande do Norte/RN e a 545Km de Recife, capital de Pernambuco/PE. É sítio de reprodução da tartaruga-verde (Chelonia mydas), que utiliza as praias arenosas do lugar para desovar entre os meses de dezembro e julho. É também área de alimentação, crescimento e repouso para juvenis desta espécie e da tartaruga-de-pente (Eretmochelys imbricata).

As praias de desova apresentam características propícias a um monitoramento diário, inclusive noturno nas áreas principais. A do Leão concentra 80% das ocorrências. As demais desovas acontecem ao longo do mar de dentro, entre as praias do Sancho e da Conceição. Cada estação reprodutiva, registra em média 100 desovas, gerando 8.900 filhotes da tartaruga verde.

O TAMAR iniciou suas atividades na região em 1984, quando o arquipélago ainda era território federal administrado pela Aeronáutica (hoje é território do Estado de Pernambuco).

Em 1986, foi criada a APA-Área de Proteção Ambiental. A praia do Leão, principal área de desova do arquipélago, tornou-se o embrião do Parque Nacional Marinho, criado por decreto federal, em 1988.

Fernando de Noronha é uma das bases mais importantes para o trabalho do Tamar.

É um verdadeiro laboratório natural, pois a transparência do mar oferece excelente condição ao desenvolvimento de pesquisas sobre a biologia e comportamento das tartarugas marinhas em ambiente natural, sobretudo debaixo d’água.

Além do monitoramento de fêmeas, durante o período reprodutivo, a base mantém um programa de marcação e recaptura de tartarugas que utilizam o arquipélago como área de alimentação, crescimento e repouso, durante uma etapa do seu ciclo de vida. Desde 1990, mais de mil tartarugas já foram marcadas pelo Tamar através desse programa, em que os pesquisadores realizam mergulho livre, autônomo ou rebocado.

Além do mais, o grande fluxo turístico que o arquipélago registra é estratégico para o trabalho de sensibilização e educação ambiental, principalmente através do Centro de Visitantes-Museu Aberto das Tartarugas Marinhas, o qual tivemos o prazer e honra de visitar durante nossa recente visita ao arquipélago. Todos os visitantes do Museu-Aberto do TAMAR recebem uma palestra gratuita sobre a vida selvagem a ser encontrada no arquipélago, assim como, são instruídos a como se comportar em frente à natureza, sem causar quaisquer impacto ambiental. Todas as palestras são às 9 da noite, e seguem por cerca de uma hora até uma hora e meia. Extremamente informativas,claras, concisas e ministradas por pesquisadores e voluntários do TAMAR. É a perfeita preparação para os que irão aventurar-se a explorar as ilhas na manhã seguinte. Nós adoramos a experiência, eu enquanto bióloga, e meu esposo, agora apaixonado pela vida marinha. Um sucesso e uma oportunidade única de vivenciar, aprender e compartilhar conhecimentos.

Our son’s classroom featured on Rede Globo: good eating habits can be taught.

28/11/2011 Um hábito que os especialistas em nutrição recomendam que seja incentivado desde cedo e que começa a mudar a rotina de muitas salas de aula.

“Oso pardo, oso pardo, que ves ahi?” or Thoughts on the Creative Flow of a TCK

Although we’re on family vacation (it’s October, right?!) , I’d asked our kids’ teachers to give me some work sheets for their time off, in order to help them not forget about school, during their traveling days…

 It may sound a bit “geeky”, but hey, that’s who we are, and that’s what we believe it is the right thing to do… at least, for now… Our oldest one is 6 years old, and experiencing the challenges of  “cursive letters”. This morning I spend a few good hours with him – it’s been raining, not a lot to do outside, and before we jumped into the movie-marathon mode, we did some ‘homework’ together. And, actually, it turned out to be fun.

After we were done, it came to me the realization of how we’re been raising our kids, immersed into hybrid cultures, always moving, always surrounded by different languages, doing homework in Portuguese, and proudly showing it to grandma, explaining her (in English) the task performed, and thanking grandpa for letting him borrow pencils and eraser, in Spanish… It sure made me stop and think: is that how it’s supposed to be? The children seem to adjust well to changes,  but how far is it possible to go, without stretching it out?

That said, my intrigued soul found some very good reading, from adult TCK authors, and we’re likely to become contributors, sharing experiences and thoughts, along the way…

Here it is –  interesting reading about becoming an adult third cultured, still remaining your own creative person.

“Creative thought, one of the world’s most valuable commodities, is something that has started to become somewhat elusive as our generations have progressed. It’s a principal that is born of original thought, the need to invent, and the want to produce something that others will seek value in. It has led to the development of the wheel, to the creation of the keystone arch, the sundial, the plough, the lens, the camera, the story, the song, the car, the computer, and the hadron collider. It has developed our species, improving our state of living and the reasons for which we live. Creativity, as a force, is what brought us from hunting with sharpened sticks to flying through space.

Yet that word, creativity, one we use so frequently for so many things, holds a weight to Third Culture Kids that’s only outmatched by the word “culture.” Of course, if you were to look a little closer, to really examine the core concepts of both those words and the implications that each of them posses, you would find that not only are they connected, but they are almost inseparable.

Being creatures of culture, TCKs posses that natural ability to rapidly evolve their cultural standpoint based on the community that surrounds them. We have a way about us, one that does not allow for us to be considered the same as those we interact with, but instead allows us to be accepted by them. We can see what others cannot, can move in circles where others would be outcasts. We view culture not as a boundary, but as a gateway into the heart of the world.

As TCKs, we do it subconsciously, unaware that we are behaving this way but aware of our talents and our ability to meld into something new. We missed it as we grew up, took it for granted as children while we hopped from place to place, but since we have matured and grown and become the Adult Third Culture Kids we are now, we have seen how naturally these behaviours are to us by watching how impossible they are for our First Culture Kid friends.

The question that remains, however, is what power does creativity have in the hands of a TCK? Creativity is a mental state that’s not accessible by everyone. It’s a unique problem solving technique for an extremely unique type of problem. Humanity is hard-wired to only understand patterns. For example 1+1=2 because every time you take the number one and add another number one, you always end up with two. Why? Because it always happens, and it happens because that’s just the law of mathematics. Creatives, however, push the bounds of that human limitation. We accept the laws because they are there, but we believe in that off-chance that maybe, just maybe, by some freak possibility or coincidence, the next time I take one apple and add another apple to it, a third apple will spring into existence and I’ll have three apples. We know it’s foolish, we know that based on the laws of mathematics and the physical restrictions of our universe it’s impossible. But we hope for the alternative.

This constant longing for the middle ground between impossible and spectacular is a trait that we incorporate into our regularly occurring existence. There’s no denying the fact that we, as TCKs, do not have a cultural home, possess no country in which we can return to, and have no place on this planet that we truly fit into. We are trapped outside the realm of normal human interaction, completely incapable of returning to a community or culture that is truly our own. So instead, we have turned to creativity.

Through creativity, TCKs have built-up groups of people, from friends to colleagues, that are so strong and so interwoven into our lives that they have become our own little cultural home. We have selected them for their differences, for the ways in which they can help better our lives and the lives of those around them. We have selected them for their value, for their desire to improve upon a situation and the relentless need to always take that next great step. We have created a culture of people who will stop at nothing to change the world.

So when you are next asked what it means to be a TCK, answer in whichever way you believe best resolves an impossible question. But know that if you and I are ever fortunate enough to meet, and you ask that question to me, I will simply smile and say the following:

It means that one day, with the help of everyone else, one plus one will equal three.”

Why Science is Hard to Learn.

At the same time, it begs the question:

“why is Science hard to teach”?

Got two words for that:

misleading concepts

The other day, when I found myself mentioning to students ‘I’d been teaching for longer than they’d been breathing’, I realized that, despite the long time, the challenges of teaching Science were always there…

I could list here various reasons for those difficulties: perhaps students have persistent preconceptions (especially misconceptions); lack previous life experiences (including those they might have missed in school) that would have provided valuable background information on the topic; maybe even a limited ability in the math skills needed for a particular subject; difficulty understanding abstract ideas; all that together requires a lot of extra strategic teaching skills from the teacher. If the majority of these difficulties are not addressed, in one way or another, students may end up developing even more misconceptions and more gaps in their learning…

So, maybe, teaching Science is harder than learning it? Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer to this question, and would gladly accept suggestions and/or guidance… Teaching is already hard enough by itself. When we add to the pot a series of misleading concepts, which aren’t all untrue in their nature, but extremely challenging to explain and to be understood, then, the boiling conclusion teachers have to face are serious instructional dilemmas

But, hey! Although hard to admit, some concepts are not as easy to teachers as we may try to sell them to students! [guilty smiles!]

One common fact is that the more abstract a Science topic is, the harder it is to learn for many people, including us, teachers! Telling Science to students is not teaching Science.

These images all show an aspect of science, but a complete view of science is more than any particular instance.
image from University of California Berkley (ucberkley.edu)

We all, students or not, learn by “doing” Science, and abstract topics need to be made concrete. The question is: ‘How?” How to transform concepts such as “the flow of matter and energy in ecosystems“, “matter and its transformations“, “Earth’s shape and gravity“, and understanding changes in motion – into something more concrete? Luckily, for these questions in particular, if you are curious, feel free to visit the “Hard-to-teach Science Concepts“, a great discussion-book for teachers and committed parents. Students are better able to face their misconceptions and preconceptions when they are engaged in instructional activities, placing Science into a context they are capable of understanding…

If learning Science is considered to be difficult, the reverse activity, the act of passing on your life and academic experiences, your knowledge, your discussion points, through teaching sessions, is also challenging! And as Carl Sagan once stated (see box above), offering our students and our children a “shrug” as a possible answer, could just be the path of least resistance, but definitely, may not work in the long run when attempting to raise intellectually motivated students – that being in Science or in any other academic field.

Good luck to us all, Science teachers or not, and I’m wrapping this ‘brainstorming’ post up, with a very optimistic smile… 😮

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Eleven months of folklore in Brazil: dressing accordingly…

Eleven months of folklore in brazil. Children, culture

In Brazil there’s always an excuse to dress up for parties and/or traditional celebrations. Here’s a small sample of our kids’ past 11 months in-country:

Day of Folklore, honoring a national writer, dressing up as a talking doll, from Sítio do Picapau Amarelo, Ms Emilia, Marquesa de Rabicó:

Dia das Bruxas – Halloween. At school and with the neighbors

Carnaval, as traditional Frevo dancers

Matutinho & Matutinha, ready for the June Celebrations!

and off to School they go!!