суббота, 28 марта 2015 г.

You live in California too long, if...

1) you start to smile at random ppl in the street and get used to the question: "Hi! How are you?" and do not stop to tell all your life after hearing it. ;)

2) you are not surprised that ppl drink one drink and drive.

3) you prepare your ID before a bartender asks for it (cuz u know that u not gonna get anything unless  ur age is verified)

4) you say "I'm sorry" and 'Excuse me" when you come close to people. Basically, when you see a person you either say - hi, how are you or I'm sorry.

5) you totally forgot what rain is and you call 70 degrees - bad weather

6) you dont really know what public transport is.

7) God bless car-pooling. (If you dirve not alone, you drive in the special line)

8) Puedes hablar espanol. Quizas un poco, pero puedes.

9) you have some conversation with everybody - waiter, shop assistant, people in the queues. Schmooze ;))

10)or, yeah, you ALWAYS leave some tips.

11) you put on your seat belt even if you sit at the back seat

12) oh, yeah. Farenheim and miles is something usual for you now. You don't need to think of Celcium and kilometres anymore ;)

13) you keep on smiling to people and people smile back and nobody thinks that you are weirdo or took some drugs,

I love California!

Passion in education

             Tuesday was a great day, we visited Orange County and Dan brought us to a couple of places.  Our first stop was at the Marine Institute . This is a very special organization. This place educates kids about Science in general and about ocean in particular. Also, during their programs kids develop such qualities as leadership and ability to work in team, learn how to solve problems and puzzles. Stop. Did I say kids? Kids of ALL ages. 

Everybody who comes there is super excited and passionate about what they do or what they learn.  So, as I mentioned there are some programs. One of the program puts kids on the ship and they spend two days and 1 night there (for sleeping they return to the institute itself), exploring the ocean blue. During these 2 days they are young sailors, make teams, solve puzzles and problems and learn about the ocean blue. But it is better to see once then to read 100 of times.
 Here you can find a video about the institute. And I can’t not mention about the great CEO they have.
 He is not only super kind and hospitable; he is also a good businessman with outstanding way of thinking. It was a great pleasure to spend time with such great and smart people as he and Dan.(to be honest I really admire people I meet here, they are amazing, smart and awesome, but it is another topic) Oh, I forgot to mention that there are a lot of volunteers, who work in the institute. They are with very different background – students, teachers, retired businessmen. But the thing which connect them – is passion to what they do in the institute, love to the ocean and desire to share the knowledge. We left the

place with lots of ideas and fully inspired for the next step.

Our next step was a lunch ;)))) We went to my favorite Souplantation (great thanks to Rogers who showed us this place).
 It is a great place with unlimited salad-bar, soup, and super tasty desserts. Super healthy and you get complete nutrition for your body. 

After such a good meal we went to Westminster Middle School. We’ve seen many schools so far, so such things as fully equipped gym or school orchestra do not impress us that much anymore. But STEM lessons keeps impressing me cause I kinda like Science and wish we had had more Science lessons at school. Again it was a great pleasure to see so inspired and passionate about engineering and Science kids with the great plans for the future. “I took one lesson of STEM last year by chance and then I realized that I want to be an engineer and now I am here. Mum told me that if I am good at it I can start working for my uncle in Chicago, he has a big company. It is a great future. I want to be an engineer” – shared with us one of the kid who was presenting us his robot.

Do you think it is enough for one day? Absolutely not! We also conducted a webinar for students from Iowa Institute. We told them about Russia, about our project, about education in Russia. Students who are doing their Master in Teaching were very interested, ask lots of questions, answered our questions. I worried a bit before webinar as I like more when I see the audience and can interact with people. But it was perfectly participatory and interactive ;) (we couldn't see more than 9 people at once, but in total there were about 25 participants ;))

On our way back home we talked to a very nice guy in the train, who works for Panasonic and travels around the world and buy different companies and who did his Master in Soviet Studies. Usually I don not discuss politics a lot here, but this talk was super interesting as he says – “to understand the current situation in the Ukraine you need to know history, many people do not.” I totally agree. And in the end it is just a big game with the cost of people’s lives.

And we finished the day with the nice walk from the Oceanside to our favorite Carlsbad, watched sunset and took some photos.

четверг, 19 марта 2015 г.

Teens prepare to be Future Bosses

During my stay in California, I have visited different schools and educational institutions as well as educational programs. One of the most remarkable in my opinion was a program for future entrepreneurs Future Boss

600 high school students applied for the program, 30 best were selected, only 20 finished the program, presented their business plans and 3 of them won ipads and 1000, 500, 250 dollars as the winner also got a chance to attend an entrepreneurial event.

During 3 days students got loads of information on entepreneurship - financial literacy, what it means to be your own boss, types of personalities, marketing, how to create a business plan etc etc etc. After these days, students had to present their business ideas and business plans in front of jury (even the major was among them, but students found it out after the presentation was over)
It was amazing to see how these teenagers grew up in these 3 days. Starting from shyness to speak in front of the public to presenting themselves as CEO of different companies, their eyes were shining, they very inspiring and creative. 

In Russia we also have such kinds of programs. But there are a couple differences. First of all – target audience. In Russia it is mostly university students (starting from 18), in this competition kids were high school students (15-17). During the competition the idea of importance of education was promoted, kids were encouraged to enter colleges and universities.

Also, one of the greatest feature of the program is that a lot of people are informed about it by different ways of marketing (contact local teachers, google ads etc)

As a follow up, Miguel announced a next competition for the participants of all the FutureBoss programs and the price is 100 000 dollars. It is a great opportunity for the kids to pay for their college and even if they don’t win – it is unique, amazing and useful experience which allows kids to broaden their minds. 

Also, you you can read an article about this competition.

вторник, 17 марта 2015 г.

Bilingualism as a way of living

"A person who speaks many 
languages lives many lives "

On Friday, March 6 we had a great chance to visit CABE conference (Californian Assosiation for Bilingual Education) (Very great thanks to Enrique Gonzalez who got us passes for the conference and for the reception). During this day we visited different workshops, listened to different speakers and even were on the stage ;)
As you probably know, California borders with Mexica, so there are a lot of connections between countries, there are lots of kids whose first language is Spanish.
It was exciting to meet bilingual educators who are really inspired with their work and are eager to share their experience as well as they are open to getting new information and who create new generation of bilinguals.

суббота, 28 февраля 2015 г.

Kids are our future.

Guys, could you imagine that the school principal looks like Bruce Willis and that he is able to hold attention of the more than 400 small children? I also couldn’t. Until we paid a visit to Jefferson elementary school. The principal Chad Lund devoted to us 2 hours of his time and showed us around the school, brought us to the lessons and answered all our questions.

We started our journey from the morning awards ceremony which takes place every month. 

This encourages pupils to develop the best parts of the personality. During this ceremony pupils got certificates for being reflective. (Could you think of getting such certificate in Russia? I can’t as we are concentrated more on marks and behavior).
As we were explained that the school follows th IB program. Read more on official web page of IB program or in wikipedia

The point is that the education is transdisciplinary, teaches kids how to think and find solutions, what seems extremely useful as life is about it. Also the education is really connected to real life.

After this award ceremony we joined a yoga class (can you imagine that?) and the principal explained to us that usually they start their day with doing some short morning exercise. It activates your brain.
Then we visited a reading lesson of a second grade. We spoke with one girl in Russian and interacted with kids. After that we visited the fifth grade.

Children were very open, answered our questions, asked their questions, showed their books, works, shared their dreams (“I want to be a professional yo-yo or basketball player” said one guy. At this moment I remembered this TED talk ;)). We even were interviewed by kids for the school radio. Kids have smartphones and laptops, but to my question if they like to be online – facebook, games etc – they said that they prefer playing outdoors and communicated with each other in the real life.

We have the stereotype that in general Americans are not very smart. (the stereotype itself is not very smart) But so far I have the opposite opinion. Both adults and kids show high level of intelligence and great thinking abilities.

And what I really like there are a lot of motivation posters all aroung schools.

That’s all for today. I need to go jogging. Ocean is waiting for me ;)

A day-off

Thursday was a day-off, so we used this chance and visited a great place called CORNADO ISLAND. Gold sand, amazing ocean and nice people ;-)

Some photos below

The schools to remember. part2

Our second school was El Camino High School in Oceanside. To say that I was impressed again equals to say nothing. We visited Sharon Strong's drama lesson. During the visit we learnt a lot about her way of teaching, shared our projects and what is the most important we had an opportunity to talk to teens. They asked us a lot of questions, we disccussed the stereotypes. Teend seemed to be interested in communicating. I can't say that they knew a lot about Russia, but they were really eager to learn more, they weren't humble and asked a lot of questions. After we had a short tour around and watched student's pitches. was fun ;) 

And of course great thanks to our host Yvonne and Nancy Held Lucas for organising these visits. 

btw, here is the link to the article about our visit to Carlsbad High School video production studio.