Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Jackson brothers together again.  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Today we were lucky enough to have a visit by Lyly, an immigrant GL student from Ukraine. Lyly is a sophomore and has lived in Grand Ledge for a year and a half and speaks Russian, Ukrainian and English. She came to talk to us about Russian and Ukrainian culture and history. It was very cool for the students to have one of their peers talk to them about their nationality and their country.
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4rth hr students were intrigued and mezmerized by Lyly's lifestory. John, Phil, Gil and Roman asked many questions about the lifestyles of Ukrainian teenagers. Posted by Picasa
Russell and Brian dressed in traditional Russian Kosac costumes that Lyly brought. I am sure they are singing an old Kosac drinking song rembembering the days when the Czars ruled Russia. Aren't they so very precious and cute??? It is obvious that Brian has been working on that girlish figure! Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Last Czar
This Week we have been studying Russian History. Here we are watching "The Last Czar" . It is the story of the unfortunate Romanov family.
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Valentines was really fun this year. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera so I have no pictures of the students being embarrased by the singing Valentines and the love poets. I did get a couple of pictures of my Valentine roses the next day though. Here is one... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 12, 2006

For Circle Day this month, we had a visit from our adopted soldier, Brian Daniels. Brian is a 2005 GLHS graduate. Last Fall, he came to visit us a week before he was deployed to Iraq. In October, he surprised this class (3rd hr. World Studies) with a phone call from camp Tahji, Iraq. He told us of his adventures and what his daily routine was like. Then in November, we were horrified to hear that our favorite soldier had been terribly wounded in a deadly explosion while doing his daily rounds. In December, he returned to Grand Ledge and we got to see him in on the local news. He was awarded a purple heart for his bravery and was engaged to his now fiance, Michelle (also a GLHS alumni), at Christmas.
We were privilaged to hear first hand, the efforts of the US army in Iraq and were able to ask many questions about things that we hear and see in the news daily. His emotional story made us realize that war ain't a tea party.
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Brian told us stories of his experiences in Iraq. Especially eye opening, were his view on the Iraqi culture. Amber, Chris and Sarah listen with interest. Posted by Picasa
We shared an emotional moment as Brian shared the death of his army brothers and best friends when his truck was attacked by a burried explosive. Brian was the only one who survived the attack. Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 10, 2006

This afternoon (2/9), while I was away from ROOM 103 and you played with my sub, I went to the MSU museum in East Lansing to meet my friends from the Lattice group. Lattice is a multi-cultural organization that meets monthly to exchange resources, study culture, discuss global issues and reach out to local and international communities thru charity and outreach projects. At the museum, we went to study a new exhibit called "Weaving of War: Fabric of Memory" and "Siyazama: Traditional Education in AIDS in South Africa". The exhibit had collections of art that had themes of war, conflict and AIDS education. I love going to Lattice because I not only meet my good friends but I come back to ROOM103 with a bag full of ideas and a brain full of inspiration. So be prepared to hear a lot about the affects of War and AIDS (2 topics that are currently very prominant in the media). In this picture, you can see the group listening to the welcome remarks by the museum curator. If you look closely at some of these carpets from Afghanistan on the wall, you will see helicopters, granades, tanks and machine guns. Posted by Picasa
My good friends Nomalanga(South Africa) and Rennta (Pakistan) and I had a lot of laughs together. Rennta will be having a baby soon and that will be a lot of fun. Posted by Picasa
The stories of the women behind these embrodaries are compelling. Here are two of my friends mezmerized by the stories if the plight of the Hmong. Posted by Picasa
The Hmong are a mountain tribe in Asia. During the Vietnam war, they were not only allies but very reliable guides thru the treacherous mountains to the US army. When the US soldiers moved out, the vietnamese armies turned on the Hmong and began to systematically anahilate them. The US recued many Hmong families and took as many as would come with them. Many who stayed suffered horribly in the hands of Vietnamese. Many made it to refugee camps in Tailand where they where able to get papers to leave Vietnam. Because of the monotonous nature of the refugee camps, camp organizers gathered people, especially women to tell their stories. They were asked to depict a day they would never forget. With donated fabric and threads they were able to create these embroidered war memories. This piece depicts a group of Hmong people (in black) fleeing their village just before the Vietnamese soldiers (in green) arrive. They cross the Mekong river with banboo canes under arm or with intertubes to find safety on the coast of Tailand. Lansing area has a large population of Hmong Americans. Posted by Picasa
This detail shows the Hmong getting in planes to come to America. Posted by Picasa
This detail in one of the embroderies caught my eye. It shows Hmong people reaching the safety of the other side of the Mekong river just to be ambushed by Vietnamese soldiers. I was commenting on the black Hmong costumes when I realize that the red detail on their clothes were gun shot wounds!!! I couldn't look away. Most of these pieces had similar and even more creepy details. Posted by Picasa
This is a swatch of Hmong fabric from a dress that has war helicopters intricately embroidered on it! Posted by Picasa
This beadwork was comissioned by a South African township to serve as educational tools for the prevention of AIDS. Posted by Picasa
This embrodary is from Africa where AIDS is a pandemic. The women that sewed this piece made is as a way to educate their counterparts. It show different ways in which on can get aids and how the community can help. All the colors that you see are stitched with tiny stitches of thread. Posted by Picasa

Saad is from Afghanistan. He and I had an amazing discussion about the current views of Islam. It was important that I talk to him today because I really wanted his opinion about the insensitive cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad that have been in the news all month. I ate lunch with him today but he could eat cause he was fasting. Religious Muslims like him were fasting today to celebrate the 10th day of the Muslim new year. He gave me to DVDs about the life of Prophet Muhammad that he would like me to share with you. When we study Islam this year, he wants to come to ROOM 106 to share his knowledge with us. Posted by Picasa
After reflecting on the War Art, we got a chance to discuss our opinions with the group. Imagine getting a discussion with people from all over the world. People with different religious beliefs, upbringing, backgrounds and points of view...It is such an eye opening experience for me every time. Just when I think I am comfortable with my opinion, someone from a different part of the world reminds me how relative my views are. Here is my friend Kurnia (Indonesia) sharing her point of view. Posted by Picasa
One of the things I most love about Lattice is the food. Everyone brings foods from their country and we all get to try each others cooking. Today I tasted a dish from Palestine. It was very good. This Spring, Latice will be publishing a cultural cookbook. Proceeds will go to the various charities and projects that Lattice sponsors. Posted by Picasa
This are all my good friends from Lattice. There are more than 30 countries represented in this group. We have all become family (since we are all so far away from our real families) and a great cultural resource for each other. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 09, 2006

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Erika, Jennie and Morgan really captured the spirit of the Ultimate European vacation project. We really felt like they told real stories and annecdotes about Ireland. They were very knowledgeable about historical facts and Irish turist information. Great Job Grrrlzz!! Posted by Picasa
Jake (left) brought Irish Lace cookies as a treat from Ireland. No, these guys are not upset. The cookies were so good that they left us all speechless. Posted by Picasa