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November 24th Meeting
How are you? How are things going this semester?
Hi everyone! I am doing well - just super busy with the semester! I am the only AP Psychology teacher now, so I have three sections (about 80) students that I am trying to get through the course. I have gone into detachment from reality mode and don't really have much of a life outside of school, but I miss you all and miss Costa Rica.

1. How has the Costa Rica GPA experience impacted your teaching?
I have definitely become much more attuned to the challenges that people face when stepping outside of their comfort zone. I have already started to plug my experiences from Costa Rica into my teaching, to help students make the necessary application in order to master the content of Psychology on an abstract level.

2. Have you been able to implement your curriculum module (yes or no)? Please provide details.
I am currently only teaching AP Psychology and Psychology, I won't have World History until second semester (which starts at the end of January), so no, I haven't been able to work with it yet.

3. What support could the GPA leadership team provide to help you implement your curriculum?
I don't think that I really need any support at this point. I felt pretty confident with the unit that I designed, so I will just have to see how it rolls out next semester. I am excited to share the outcomes with you all though!

4. How has the Costa Rica GPA experience impacted you personally?
I feel a lot more comfortable trying to speak Spanish and being able to understand when it is spoken around me. I also was able to see how much more there still is for me to work towards in my career in the years to come. I am still really interested in the education for sustainable development program that they mention would be developed at La Universidad de la Paz. I hope to go to grad school in the next two years.

5. How has the Costa Rica GPA experience impacted you professionally?
I have always enjoyed collaborating with other professionals from different content areas. I loved my opportunity to collaborate with science teachers when I was in South Africa and this trip to Costa Rica allowed me to collaborate with spanish teachers, math teachers, and others from social studies. It is great to see all of the ways that social studies can connect and gets me thinking about all the ways I can pull other content areas into my curriculum.

6. Have you given any presentations (formal or informal) since your return to the U.S.? Please include a presentation title, date, target audience, number of attendees, location (e.g. school departmental meeting)
I haven't had a chance to give any yet, but am planning on meeting with the ESL and Foreign Language teachers in my building. I think that some of the resources from Costa Rica would be very useful for them and would love to see them used beyond my classroom and the social studies department. I am also hoping on presenting to the social studies teachers from the middle schools and high school during one of our monthly professional development meetings. I just need to wait for AP Psychology to finish up so that I can focus on creating a good presentation for each group.

7. You have a class of students (middle or high school) who have never heard of Costa Rica. In 250 words or less, please provide an overview of Costa Rica and its people.
Costa Rica is a peaceful, environmentally focused nation located in Central America, between Nicaragua and Panama. While I was there I was able to experience the vast ecological differences by traveling to most of the different regions of the nation. We started in the most populated part of Costa Rica (as is the case in most of Central America), the central valley. The capital of Costa Rica is San José, which is located in the valley between a mountain range and a volcanic range. While in San José the group was given the opportunity to meet with several government officials and environmentalists who were able to discuss Costa Rica’s unique policies on the environment with us. We found out that the most of their land is protected as natural reserves and that they have outlawed recreational hunting in order to protect their diverse wildlife. Once outside of the city, we had many more opportunities to appreciate the environment and wildlife. We went to the rainforests of Monteverde and zip lined above the canopy, walked through national parks to see animals including various types of monkeys, sloths, scarlet macaws, colorful butterflies. We also went to the Pacific Coast for a few weeks to stay with host families (and practice our Spanish) and enjoy our surroundings. The nation may not be well known, but they are definitely making huge strides in the environmental sustainability realm. They may not have everything figured out quite yet, but they really have made efforts above and beyond that majority of nations in our world to make a difference in their behaviors towards out planet. I would say that this small nation is going to be a role model in the years to come.



Hi everyone! My name is Danielle Demeuse and this is a picture of me with my two nieces (Kylie and Madison). I am currently living and teaching in Beloit, Wisconsin, but I am originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh in 2009, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and was hired to teach World History (10th grade) in the School District of Beloit in 2010. This is my third year teaching here, and now, in addition to World History, I teach Psychology and AP Psychology.

As a student, I began to find a great draw towards traveling and learning about the world around me. In 2006, I was accepted into an abroad program through my university that took us through Europe over 3 1/2 months. That was my first trip out of the country, really, and the first time that I was away from my family for that long, but it took maybe a few days for me to become hooked on the thrill of exploring new places, well outside of my comfort zone. We traveled and studied in France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and Italy - which was phenomenal. I distinctly remember the feeling of landing in Chicago after the trip and driving back home, all the while looking at all of the planes in the sky and wishing I was back on them going some place else. In 2008, I was accepted into another program through the university to travel to Kenya to study the social programs of the country and the impacts of colonialism and independence on African nations. A week before we were scheduled to leave, Kenya held their national elections, and due to an unfavorable winner the country erupted in violence and our trip was called off. Then in 2009, the same program was running again, this time going to Uganda, so I immediately reapplied and was accepted. We were in Uganda for about 2 1/2 weeks and were able to involve ourselves in discussions with students from both Kenya and Uganda about the current political, social, and economic conditions of those nations. Then, last spring, I attended the Wisconsin Council for the Social Studies conference and was made aware of an opportunity to travel as a teacher to South Africa for three weeks to study environmental education, so last summer I went on that program and was able to involve myself in some excellent discussions about the conditions in South Africa, following Apartheid. I was made aware of the similarities between the conditions that they are facing in their classrooms and what we are facing in ours.

As a teacher, I feel like I found my niche. About midway through getting my degree I became aware of urban issues in education, so I began to point myself in the direction of teaching in that type of environment. I was happy to be hired in Beloit - at a time when Social Studies teaching jobs are highly coveted in the state - which is a small industrial city in south central Wisconsin. Although the city only has a population of about 35,000, it is extremely diverse (our school is about 26% Black, 27% Hispanic, and 45% White) and we struggle with many of the same issues that Madison and Milwaukee do, when it comes to socio-economic and community issues. Past experiences working with latino students and my current position have led me to really want to become fluent in Spanish, and develop my ability to teach ESL/ELL students. I was fortunate enough to be accepted into a bilingual educator program through Edgewood College this last year, through which I earned 6 free graduate credits in bilingual education. I feel like this program will also help me in my goal of becoming bilingual - so I am super excited about the opportunity! One final thing I would like to share about my goals, is that I have been looking into Masters programs for international education (which I am hoping to begin in the next two years), and it just so happens that one of the programs I have been looking at (through UN Peace University) is actually located in Costa Rica, and I was told by Kristin and Gerardo that we would be spending some time on that campus - so I am very excited to check that out as well! Beyond that, I am really looking forward to discussing the UN Millennium Goals with you all and finding ways to incorporate them back into our curriculum so that we can begin/continue to develop our students' understanding of global issues. :)

World History Curriculum Project


Recommended Activities and Assessments


Day 1: Sustaining a World of 7 Billion
1. Anticipation Guide

2. How Big is a Billion?

3. Shop Till You Drop

4. Exit Slip


Day 2: Free Trade vs. Fair Trade
1. Case Study on the effects of Free Trade
Article: International Trade and the Costa Rican Rice Industry
Article Review Assignment:

2. Guillermo from LifeMonteverde Guillermo's Interview
3. Walmart Articles
4. Exit Slip


Day 3: Shift in Thinking: Are We Acting in a Sustainable Way?
1. See graphics on the Google Curriculum Page
2. The Story of Stuff The Story of Stuff
3. "Where Does It Come From?" Activity

4. The Story of Cap and Trade The Story of Cap and Trade
5. Exit Slip


Day 4: Location, Resources, and Accumulation of Wealth
1. Guidelines for Case Study Mini Research Project


Day 5: Case Study Project
1. Case Study final research project guidelines and rubric

2. UN Millennium Development Goals Nation Ranking

3. Ranking Scale

Works Cited