Friday, April 29, 2011

World Dance Day at school ! Dance, dance, dance !

Pina Bausch 1940-2009
credits : Wilfried Krüeger

"The urge to dance is a natural impulse, dancers worship nature in their way, they connect with the universe and feel its juices trickle into them." 
April 29 is International Dance Day. "International Dance Day" was established in 1982 by the International Dance Council (CID) of UNESCO to bring attention to the art of dance every year on April 29, Jean-Georges Noverre's birthday(1727),  a French dancer and balletmaster, generally considered the creator of ballet d'action, a precursor of the narrative ballets of the 19th century.

 "Dance, dance, dance, otherwise we are lost."

Pina Bausch
Wim Wenders dedicated this extraordinary documentary to Pina Bausch. In my opinion one of most beautiful tributes to the art of dancing.

Pina Bausch died 30 June 2009. She will be remembered as one of the most significant choreographers of the twentieth century.
Dance is also a good therapy for young people in school. Dance movement therapy and the power of dance is used to inspire, uplift and heal.
Dance is a fun and fresh integrative part in the curricula. Sir Ken Robinson's TED lectures on education and creativity are very inspiring about free expression of  children in school.
There will be many performances in colleges and out of doors today. So, don't miss the opportunity to let your students express themselves by dancing in the school gardens, for example.

Like moss on a stone | Pina Bausch
photo: Rolf Ebertowski
"All through the year we teach dance, we rehearse, we perform within four walls. On this special day dedicated to dance, let us mark the difference by practising, teaching or performing for everyone to see. It might be cold and rainy, the floor is certainly not good enough, the wind takes the music away, but the beauty in those movements and the joy on those faces will brighten the hearts of the spontaneous audience of passers-by."
President of the International Dance Council CID UNESCO, Paris 

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fighting cyber bullying with Shakespeare?

This week we celebrated the Bard's birthday William Shakespeare (April 23).

And suddenly I found on Facebook this interesting project. In honour of Shakespeare's birthday, an adaptation of a classic play to help nurture the emotional experiences of young people, specifically around bullying. 

"A Shakespeare play on Facebook? Yes! It's true! And it's happening NOW! You can be a part of Shakespeare's classic comedy as we present it in real time over three days."

The project explores social media as an educational tool and will send a powerful message about cyberbullying to today's plugged-in students.

"In Much Ado, the villainous Don John destroys an innocent girl's impending marriage by conspiring with others to make her appear unfaithful. The girl, Hero, fakes her own death to escape the scorn of her fiance and family until the truth can be revealed and the lovers can be reunited. 
Much Ado also features the memorable characters of Beatrice and Benedick, who start the play at each other's throats and learn to love each other through some clever trickery on the part of their friends."
(about the play)
Much Ado About Nothing is presenting on a special page through status updates, posts, pictures and videos.
The students helped create separate pages for their characters complete with pictures, in-character bios and likes. 
It’s a great way to make Shakespeare more comprehensible to teenagers, kids, and especially kids who don’t enjoy Shakespeare right away.
A hip-hop introduction to "Much Ado About Nothing" is an original animated adaptation, written and performed by FlocabularyFlocabulary, a hip hop education resource, turned out a surprisingly entertaining and useful video (watch it below) to help explain the plot.


It's a creative project to introduce in Literature and Civics curricula. And students love social media in the classroom.

The project is meant both as a digital educational resource and a tool to combat cyber bullying in school.

And that is a fantastic idea to motivate students to learn about Shakespeare in the school and to fight cyber bullying online.

Much Ado About Nothing deals with the damage caused by false information and pain of bullying in the Internet (images, films, rumors) between teens.

Facebook has been the site of much cyber bullying. But Facebook is making efforts to provide a slew of tools and resources available to report abuse. 

The project is hosted on Facebook, where many students are already present!

The performance is in full swing (it began yesterday), but you can catch up on the action by reading everything that has happened so far. 

Weekly Reader has teamed up with the Ophelia Project and White Plain’s High School

Music fighting bullying
a project in school

Some thoughts:

I have developed cross- curricula projects with my students to fight bullying in the school, some years ago, based on literature, music and civics.

Believe me! The students were very excited and they developed good activities.

Cyber bullying came after. But it begins always in the school. Educators can do an incredible job helping teenagers to understand how dangerous it is for both sides cyber bullying the colleagues.

I am sure your students will love developing some similar projects learning Shakespeare and fighting cyber bullying.

"Cyberbullying is a serious issue for today's youth, so we're very excited to bring this message into their territory and language," said Jessica Semler, program coordinator for The Ophelia Project. "From a literary standpoint, it is great to show how relevant and spot-on Shakespeare still is."


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Fighting cyber bullying with Shakespeare by G-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Weekly Reader
Much ado about nothing

A social media theater production

READ Magazine: Fiction, nonfiction, and reader’s theater for grades 6–10, April 15, 2011

The Street, Weekly Reader And The Ophelia Project Take On Cyberbullying With A Shakespeare Play Presented On Facebook, April 6, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Google célèbre Jean-Jacques Audubon

Google Doodle Jean-Jacques Audubon
Aujourd'hui Google doodle rend hommage à Jean-Jacques Audubon, célèbre ornitohologue. naturaliste et peintre américain d'origine française.

Il est né le 26 Avril 1785 aux Cayes (Saint-Dominique). Il est consideré comme le premier ornithologue du Nouveau Monde.

Il se passionne très jeune pour l'histoire naturelle. Il a été élevé en France, à Nantes, non loin de là à Couëron, par sa belle-mère, Anne Moynet Audubon.

Il part aux États-Unis, où est connu par John James Audubon et devient contremaître dans une ferme près de Philadelphie. Il commence alors à étudier l'histoire naturelle en dirigeant la première opération de baguage du continent. 

Il noue un fil à la patte d'une moucherolle (Sayornis phoebe) et remarque ainsi que ces oiseaux reviennent nicher chaque année aux mêmes endroits.

Jean-Jacques Audubon 
or John James Audubon
by John Syme, 1826

Il commence également à dessiner et à peindre des oiseaux. Il a cherché un éditeur pour ses dessins d'oiseaux à Philadelphie, mais sans succès. Peut-être at-il attiré l'inimitié des sommités scientifiques de la ville, membres de l'Academy of Natural Sciences?

Alors, il part à Londres avec son portfolio et son succès fut immédiat. Il est fêté comme « l'homme des bois américain » et récolte suffisamment d'argent pour publier "Les Oiseaux d'Amérique" entre 1830 et 1839.

Son ouvrage, remarquable par l'exactitude des détails et par la beauté de l'exécution, se compose de quatre volumes contenant 435 planches grandeur nature peintes à la main.

Birds of America
Jean-Jacques Audubon

Jean-Jacques Audubon

Audubon a été élu membre de la Royal Society, suivant ainsi Benjamin Franklin qui en fut le premier membre américain. 

Pendant son séjour à Édimbourg à la recherche de souscriptions pour son livre, il fait une démonstration de sa manière d'utiliser des fils pour déployer les oiseaux devant la Wernerian Natural History Association du professeur Robert Jameson

Un étudiant nommé Charles Darwin faisait partie du public.

John James Audubon State Park (Kentucky, USA)

Il est revenu en Amérique du Nord où il poursuivit ses expéditions et achèta une propriété sur l'Hudson, aujourd'hui Audubon Park.

Maison John-James Audubon, 
Henderson, Kentucky

Il est mort le 27 janvier 1851 à New York.Massachusetts Audubon Society, la première parmi les nombreuses sociétés savantes Audubon, a été fondée et nommée en son honneur en 1896.

Carolina pigeon 
(now called mourning dove)
Jean-Jacques Audubon

Impossible perdre un tel hommage sans en parler dans les cours de Sciences!

Références et sites pour les enseignants:

  • Audubon's Birds of America ici
  • Article John James Audubon's 226th birthday celebrated by Google sur The GuardianBen Quinn


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Jean Jacques Audubon

Saturday, April 23, 2011

World Book and Copyright Day

"Books are both object and idea. Tangible in form, intangible in content, they 
express the mind of an author and find meaning in the imagination of readers. 
Reading is this private conversation, but books are all about sharing –- sharing 
experience, knowledge and understanding." 

Irina Bokova, Director-General of  UNESCO

23 April is a symbolic date for world literature for on this date and in the same year of 1616, Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died.

It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo. 

It is a natural choice for UNESCO's General Conference to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity.

A Menina que Roubava Livros/ Markus Zusak 

The idea for this celebration originated in Catalonia where on 23 April, Saint George's Day, a rose is traditionally given as a gift for each book sold. 

The success of the World Book and Copyright Day will depend primarily on the support received from all parties concerned (authors, publishers, teachers, librarians, public and private institutions, humanitarian NGOs and the mass media), who have been mobilized in each country by UNESCO National Commissions, UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations, Associated Schools and Libraries, and by all those who feel motivated to work together in this world celebration of books and authors.

Buenos Aires (Argentina) fue elegida por la UNESCO como la capital del libro 2011. Pueden acceder al sitio web para leer todas as actualidades aqui

"Books embody the human capacity to conjure up worlds of reality and imagination and to express them. They are the best voices of tolerance. They provide the strongest signs of hope. Books are pillars for free and open societies. "

Irina BokovaDirector-General of  UNESCO


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UNESCO - World Book and Copyright

Irina Bokova, Director- General of UNESCO (Message)

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