Sunday, May 28, 2006


John Stuart Mill on War (1806-1873):

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

Ever grateful for the sacrifice of our soldiers accross the history of this nation.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


I am lined up to do my advanced student teaching this summer. First summer session is World History and the second session US History. It promises to be very interesting. I met the principals and they promise to be an excellent support group so I am looking forward to the experience.

Interestingly enough there is a new book being introduced – so I got a copy of the old and the new World History textbooks – wow! I got a dilapidated old book that will probably be used to teach the class – but just I in case I also got a copy of the new book…?

Take a gander:

In any case, the master instructor is very experienced and flexible in his teaching approach. I was impressed by his performance in one of his classes. It promises to be a very good experience…taking me one step closer to the finish line in the journey to become a teacher. .

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


A Vision with Action will lead to growth

A Vision without Action will remain a dream

Attributed to Stephen Covey

Monday, May 22, 2006


Here is a great resource for parents and teachers.

If anything, teachers need to be informed... They have the information both in English and Spanish - great resource!

Click below to get to the site:

NECC 2006

The National Educaltion Computing Conference just published its advertising pamphlet in Spanish:

The title of the conference is: “Donde Educación y Tecnología se Encuentran” meaning where Education and Technology meet. So far the whole experience has been positive. The program now lists my presentation “El Uso de Tecnología en la Enseñanza de la Historia” formally:

It promises to be a very interesting event: NECC 2006 San Diego July 5 through the 7th.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


The credentialing universe is not a silk fabric in the space-time continuum, it is rather a sackcloth and ashes process of penitent hard work – some very useful some not so useful.

One of the useful experiences has been the BCLAD program. BCLAD for non-cognoscenti is a certification requirement by state law (California) that authorizes the holder to provide specialized instruction to English learners (EL). The certificates are issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) after the candidate has either a) passed a test, or, b) completed a specified coursework. To clarify the certificate acronym, (BCLAD ®) stand for Bilingual Cross-cultural, Language, and Academic Development.

It also my understanding that the whole program is in transition... Find more information at this web site California Teacher of English Learners (CTEL ™)

You obtain a BCLAD certification if you desire to work with English learners – and that indeed was my motivation in signing up for this optional added certification. I understand now that there is also a lucre motive in regards to this certification - it pays a little more so there are many teachers, in addition to aspiring students, that take the BCLAD program.

Having said all of that, the BCLAD approved classes at CSUSM are two semester. Both classes were lead and taught by Dr. Juan Necochea. What a treat! Kudos to Juan and the leadership team that make this possible.

Juan is the most motivating individual I know – he is very shrewd in all he does… he plays himself very low key and then takes off with his enthusiasm for people, music, laughter, and writing! He starts his classes with music and moves his famous quick-writes and then to his stories. He loves to give the floor to others and validates their contribution – no one is exempt. He treats the university students sometimes as kindergarteners other times as PhD students. He is an amazing individual. I grew to like and respect Juan through my observation of how he handled himself and he handled people in general. I don’t agree much with his politics – but he is a tremendous asset to his profession and I feel privilege to have taken his class as I learned a lot from this man… is that a recommendation? YOU BET! If you can take him, take him – you are in for a treat.

The second semester was a special cross-border pedagogical exercise where the classes met both in San Marcos and in Tijuana. The getting from place to another was an experience by itself – but considering exactly the transition that California has gone through with the student walkouts, immigration marches, etc. The timing was uncanny. The cross-cultural portion of this class was well worth the time spent traveling. I ended up falling in love with the Mexican teachers – they are a great bunch of people.

Well the classes are now over, so here are some of the pictures from our last meeting… by sheer accident we got to see a group at the school that was practicing some folk dancing… this was a very nice added delight to wrap up a wonderful BCLAD year.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


There is something important about remembering the past. Take for example the Jews. They celebrate the Shabbat – a weekly ceremony – recalling the act of creation, the moving forth from Egypt, the double blessing in the desert, and the practical act of blessing one’s family. This weekly ritual has perhaps been the most unifying act that the Jews have done for centuries keeping their eyes on God and their families – always remembering their roots. In a like manner historical anamnesis is an important phenomenon in nations. Take for example the “remember” phrases in our nation:
Remember the Alamo
Remember the Maine
Remember the Lusitania
Remember Pearl Harbor
They bring about the collective remembrance of a provocation and of an injustice embarking a nation in a forward moral thrust to win victories such as Texas independence, the Spanish American war, ending Europe’s disaster during World War I, and finally defeating the Japanese and German foes in World War II – moving to rebuild Europe twice in one century, as well as providing Japan with a new constitution and form of government that has made it a formidable economic powerhouse and friend in Asia.

But memories have collectively shrunk, and Americans no longer remember as they used to. Korea is forgotten, the Cold War is a non-event to most Americans, Vietnam is but a festering sore to the aging baby boomers… and yet there are events that will shape history none-the-less and we will remember forever… Although the historical lens is too close – there is one prescient event that might foreshadow others to come if victory is not achieved. Only history will tell.

Remember 911


Where are you? Where are you in relations to others? Where did events occur? How does geography affect history? Do you know the capital of Germany? How does Germany sit among other European nations? How about the United States? Let’s try something simple… Do you know where New Orleans is at? What state? Can you point it in a map?

Elementary? Unfortunately not, as this AP story points out: “Poll Shows Many Can't Find La. on Map” It is so tragic that our students do not have a sense of geography. In my brief experience teaching 10th graders European history – it became clear that they not only did not know their geography, they were not encouraged to learn it. Why? I was told it was something they had not been exposed to and would perhaps be too difficult?

I have to admit I was shocked to hear what I heard. I proceeded with my convictions and did in fact teach geography as we covered Europe during WWI. Was it difficult considering the students did not have any prior exposure (incredible as it sounds)? The answer was yes, it was, but how can you explain the “Schlieffen Plan” without a map for example? How can you point to the critical nature of the Dardanelles or Gallipoli without breaking out he maps?

With all the tools available to teachers and students there is little reason not to touch this critical subject… Here are some references – just in case for your use

World Clock – fantastic reference tool for setting up meetings or finding out what time is it in any part of the world, or even set up a series of clocks for different parts of the world. Great tool.

Google Earth – a 3D view of the world – outstanding teaching tool

National Geographic – outstanding lesson plans for teachers

Perry Castañeda – outstanding map collection at The University of Texas at Austin both current and historical maps - truly an excellent collection at your fingertips

Hopefully this will give any reader a start…

Monday, May 01, 2006


Well even though the prices of gasoline keep rising... the ability to exchange useful information gives the consumer, if not an edge, at least visibility to the prices of gas and allows us to shop more intelligently. Some of my peers commute a long way to and from school - so this might come in real handy... Click on the figure below to get to the site: