Part VI Follow-up Program


November 24 Meeting

Please write a response to the following questions. We are going to meet online here at 3:00 pm. PLEASE BE SURE TO POST YOUR RESPONSES ON THIS PAGE (with your name or initials after each response). Thanks!

Introduction.
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. ~ Danielle



Hi all! I'm doing well. As you all may know, I am an intern this year. I was placed in a 7th grade social studies classroom, which is a different age group than I am used to, but I'm liking it. It has been very tiring and challenging but thus is the life of a teacher. Miss you all and hope you are all doing well too! -Lauren

How are you? How are things going this semester?
I'm fine and you all are, too. It's been a busy beginning as usual with activities going every direction. BB




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. ~Danielle

Because I was not teaching prior to going to Costa Rica, I can't really say how it has changed my teaching. However, I do find that I think a lot about how to infuse global ideas such as the ones found in the Earth Charter and the MDGs into my curriculum. I still share a lot about my experience in Costa Rica with my class, but have yet to truly integrate these themes. I definitely look forward to having my own classroom where it will be easier to implement some of these ideas. -Lauren

How has the Costa Rica GPA experience impacted your teaching?
The experience has given me new energy and insight. It has been exciting to attempt to bring ideas to my students and watch them respond. When my students are eager to learn more then I am inspired to share as much as I can with them. They love hearing about Costa Rica and seeing my pictures and artifacts. I also feel as though I am a bettered rounded teacher. In the past my cultural focus centered on Spain and Mexico, the two countries I have visited; now I can add insight from Costa Rica, and it is so different from the other two countries. BB


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. ~ Danielle

No I have not. We have not reached the unit on the five themes of geography yet but it is going to be our next unit after the break. I hope to implement my unit plan then with some tweaks so it is better fitted to my students and classroom. -Lauren

I am in the process, but have encountered obstacles that have forced me to re-evaluate and consider some other possibilities. One obstacle relates to coordinating with the Science teachers. My unit is dependent on the corresponding lesson being taught in Science. MEAP preparation and testing takes place during the optimal time for my initial trip to the woods. So this year, I have had to punt by substituting another experience. In the future, I hope to create choices that I could use when a trip to the woods isn't possible. I had to cancel our trip twice due to weather conditions, so I have had a less-than wonderful start. I have also decided to teach the unit during three distinct time-frames during the school year. One in the fall, one in The winter months and one in the Spring. BB



3. What support could the GPA leadership team provide to help you implement your curriculum?
At this point I don't think there is any support I need. -Heidi

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! ~Danielle

Not much at this point. The team helped me put the unit together so that I would be ready to teach it when the time came. Other than the few adjustments I need to make, I'm ready to go! -Lauren

4. How has the Costa Rica GPA experience impacted you personally?
Mostly our trip has made me want to travel more and experience more of other cultures. Heidi

It has definitely motivated me to work hard and try to be better every day. I want to do this all the time of course, but it is nice to be able to reflect on this experience when I am finding things difficult as a reminder. I find I am also more aware of myself and others as well. -Lauren
First, I feel very special as a person to have had the experience. They were first class. Also, as I have mentioned more than once, the experience has changed my perspective on sustainable development. I am much more conscious of my lifestyle and making choices that are better for the environment. BB






5. How has the Costa Rica GPA experience impacted you professionally?

Our trip has impacted my professionally by bettering my Spanish-speaking abilities, being able to teach about the culture of Costa Rica by explaining first-hand experiences, and by being in the "students' shoes" again and realizing how important it is to not simply teach grammar and vocabulary. -Heidi


It gave me the opportunity to be around practicing teachers and work with them. Through this, I think I was able to mature professionally and found I was better able to understand and adjust to being in a professional setting this year. I really felt like a teacher when I came back ;-). -Lauren


I am driven to teach my students as much as I can about the environment. I have joined a group that will keep me informed on environmental issues in my area and another group that includes teachers and business people who are interested in making a difference in the environment. Oh, I almost forgot, I attended a fresh water summit relative the Great Lakes and a weekend conference hosted by the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative on the topic of place-based education. BB








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)

None yet.- Heidi

Not yet, that is coming next semester. -Lauren


I provided: a short informal presentation to the staff at my school in late August - 25 people
  • a formal one-hour presentation to the student body of our school in October - 345 people
  • a brief formal presentation at a dinner for the Grand Traverse Stewardship Initiative - 45 people
  • I am scheduled to be interviewed by a local magazine for publication in January/February - magazine distribution approx. 10,000 - BB



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 Central American country that is located in between Nicaragua and Panama. An interesting fact that most Costa Ricans are proud of is the fact it does not have a military. The current president is a woman. It is well-known for its eco-tourism industry and coffee is a huge export. In general Costa Ricans are family-oriented, soccer fans, and welcoming to visitors. Costa Ricans call themselves ticos. Spanish is the native language. The country is mountainous, but is also well-known for great beaches. Gallo pinto is a staple at many households for breakfast. It is black beans and rice. -Heidi

Costa Rica is a mountainous country in Central America that has Spanish as its national language. It has a tropical climate and is one of the most biologically diverse places in the world, something that its people are proud of and wish to protect. Although it is not yet considered a first world country, it is at the cutting edge of green technology, a leader in accomplishing a series of goals set by the United Nations for country development, and the first country in the world to desolve its military. All of these factors have made it an attractive place for tourists to visit, making eco-tourism as significant part of Costa Rica's economy. -Lauren

Costa Rica is a small country in Central America, bordered on the north by Nicaragua and the south by Panama. Its east and west boundaries are defined by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Its location and tropical climate enable the growth of an astounding amount of plants and animals. Biodiversity abounds in the ocean and coastlines as well as in the mountains which occupy the lands between the coasts. The natural wonders of the rain forests make it one the most amazing places on the planet. Inhabitants and visitors enjoy botanical and wildlife diversity second to no other place.

As the result of no standing army since 1946, and using resources that would fund it, the Costa Rican government has provided environmental education beginning with the youngest people, that has cultivated citizens who demonstrate an unwavering commitment to preserving the land. The people of Costa Rica are also peaceful people who value the quality of life more than the quantity of possessions, exemplified a phrase heard over and over “Pura Vida.” BB
8. Sundays seem to work best for the group. Please let us know which Sunday in December works best for another follow-up meeting:
December 8
December 15
December 22

December 8 works best for me, followed by December 15. -Lauren

December 15 works the best for me. Heidi

December 8 works best for me. I will be attending a family party on the Dec 15 and traveling on the 22. Bridget

Hi friends! I'm so sorry, I have to work this afternoon =(. I don't know where you want us to put our responses....but here are my answers!
Happy early Thanksgiving!
=)
Ash

And from Anna: I put my responses on my personal page. For meetings, either the 15th or the 22nd would be better for me, since the 8th is the Sunday before finals week and I am guaranteed to be incredibly busy that day.


1. How has the Costa Rica GPA experience impacted your teaching?
I’ve been able to introduce real artifacts from CR into my teaching, including presentations, songs, documents, etc. It has also helped me to develop creative, authentic experiences for my students. My students have responded very positively!

2. Have you been able to implement your curriculum module (yes or no)? Please provide details.
Well, my curriculum module spans the entire year, but I have been able to implement the first part and it was a great success. My Spanish 3Honors students engaged in a problem-based learning assessment centered on Dyalah Calderon de la O’s presentation in the MEP (where she shared that 2/3 of students who start high school don’t finish). Students researched and planned for 4 days and then presented their solutions to the class. Students in class critiqued their peers’ presentation, and then voted to send the best presentation to the MEP. It was a thrilling experience for me as an educator, and student surveys indicated that they enjoyed the project very much!

3. What support could the GPA leadership team provide to help you implement your curriculum?
None that I can think of at this time. Although, a list of contact information from people we met in country could be helpful if at all possible! Having our journals could also be helpful.

4. How has the Costa Rica GPA experience impacted you personally?
I felt that the trip refreshed me and gave me a renewed sense of purpose in my teaching. I learned so much that I wanted to share with my students…and I was excited to return and begin creatively sharing with my students.

5. How has the Costa Rica GPA experience impacted you professionally?
I learned a great deal from the formal and informal conversations with my colleagues on the trip; the conversations have led me to try new strategies, implement new ideas, etc. in my classroom. I’ve also been able to share these ideas with my colleagues here in NJ, which helps me to be a better co-worker.

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)
No. However, I did submit a video of my students presenting their solution to my PBL curriculum module to the Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey (November / 2013).


I provided:
  • a short informal presentation to the staff at my school in late August - 25 people
  • a formal one-hour presentation to the student body of our school in October - 345 people
  • a brief formal presentation at a dinner for the Grand Traverse Stewardship Initiative - 45 people
  • I am scheduled to be interviewed by a local magazine for publication in January/February - magazine distribution approx. 10,000 - BB


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.
If I were to present in English, I would say something like:
Costa Rica is a developing country located in Central America. Known for its tourism, beaches, and coffee, Costa Rica is a diverse ecological country which boasts some of the happiest citizens in the world, a strong commitment to sustainability, no military, an extremely high literacy rate, and a firm resolve to ensure quality primary education to all citizens. From the shore to the mountains and the rainforests to the cities, Costa Ricans, or Ticos, are proud of their country and vocal about their government’s decisions. Many Ticos would gladly invite you to try their fruits, vegetables, typical dishes, and coffee as they narrate their country’s history for you or talk to you about current events. Competing international interest in Central America, and Costa Rica specifically, will probably play an important role as Costa Rica seeks to continue to modernize and join the developed world in more and more ways.



Costa Rica is a small country in Central America, bordered on the north by Nicaragua and the south by Panama. Its east and west boundaries are defined by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Its location and tropical climate enable the growth of an astounding amount of plants and animals. Biodiversity abounds in the ocean and coastlines as well as in the mountains which occupy the lands between the coasts. The natural wonders of the rain forests make it one the most amazing places on the planet. Inhabitants and visitors enjoy botanical and wildlife diversity second to no other place.
As the result of no standing army since 1946, and using resources that would fund it, the Costa Rican government has provided environmental education beginning with the youngest people, that has cultivated citizens who demonstrate an unwavering commitment to preserving the land. The people of Costa Rica are also peaceful people who value the quality of life more than the quantity of possessions, exemplified a phrase heard over and over “Pura Vida.” BB




8. Probably any of those Sundays.