Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Schools : Get young people dancing !

New York City Ballet

"A century ago famous Russian organizer Sergei Diaghilev revolutionized ballet by inviting the most talented painters and musicians of his time to contribute to his performances. I have the impression that present day choreographers neglect the other arts, do not feel the need to present their creations alongside their equals in other fields."

 Alkis Raftis, 2015
 President of the International Dance Council CID

Every April 29 International Dance Day, also known as World Dance Day, is celebrated every year through promotion by the International Dance Council (CID). 

The day was introduced in 1982 by the International Dance Committee of the UNESCO International Theatre Institute

The date was chosen to commemorate the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre, who was born in 1727, a French dancer and ballet master and a great reformer of dance.

The annually observed World Dance Day should increase the awareness of the importance of dance among the general public. Its goal is also to persuade governments all over the world to provide a proper place for dance in all systems of education

Every year a message from a well known dance personality is circulated throughout the world. 

Israel Gálvan
Flamenco Dancer choreographer

The personality of the International Dance Day message author 2015 is the Spanish choreographer and dancer Israel Galván!

Michael Jackson

"Carmen Amaya, Valeska Gert, Suzushi Hanayagi, Michael Jackson...I see them as energy-generating turbines and this makes me think about the importance of choreography on that energy of the dancer. The important thing is probably not the choreography, but specifically that energy, the whirlwind which it triggers.

Pina Bausch, Café Müller

I imagine a Tesla coil attracting them all and emitting a healing ray and causing a metamorphosis in their bodies: Pina Bausch as a praying mantis, Raimund Hoghe converted into a dung beetle, Vicente Escudero into a stick insect and even Bruce Lee into a centipede."

Israel Gálvan, message

Schools and arts


Dance is a fun and fresh integrative part in School curricula. School curricula without Arts (Music, Dance, Theater) will have very poor curricula. Young students will have an incomplete education.
I really debate often on my blog the importance of Arts - Dance, Music, Theatre, Literature/Poetry Painting - in school education! Having a master on Music, I know how enjoyable is my life with my education on Arts, Music and Literature.
For too long, dance has been 'the Cinderella of the arts world' - never invested in to any great or consistent degree. 
World Dance Day is a huge opportunity to raise the level of provision of dance in schools.  
Sometimes young people take part in dance through primary school but by the age of 12-13 most have stopped? Because there is no dance curriculum.
Arts are losing the opportunity to include Dance in their activities extra-school curriculum.
Get young people dancing. World Dance Day is a fantastic start and there's a huge amount of work to do. But one thing's for sure: dance's time has come today.

"There is an old Chinese proverb which says: "the flutter of a butterfly's wings can be felt across the world".

Israel Gálvan, 2015 Message


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Thursday, April 23, 2015

World Book and Copyright Day at school

credits : Unesco

A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.” 

 Madeleine L’Engle

"World Book and Copyright Day is an opportunity to recognise the power of books to change our lives for the better and to support books and those who produce them.
As global symbols of social progress, books – learning and reading - have become targets for those who denigrate culture and education, who reject dialogue and tolerance. 
In recent months, we have seen attacks on children at school and the public burning of books. In this context, our duty is clear – we must redouble efforts to promote the book, the pen, the computer, along with all forms of reading and writing, in order to fight illiteracy and poverty, to build sustainable societies, to strengthen the foundations of peace."

Irina Bokova, Director-General Unesco
message on the occasion of the World Book and Copyright Day

UNESCO is celebrating World Book and Copyright Day on 23 April for 19 years now. 

World Book Day and Copyright takes place today, as organised by UNESCO, with festivities such as the Catalan Sant Jordi – to mark Saint George's day, in honour of Catalonia's patron saint. 

This "day of the book and the rose" is a Valentine's day of sorts in which streets are packed with stalls, and couples demonstrate their love by exchanging roses and books – giving publishers a massive boost along the way.

UNESCO is leading the fight against illiteracy, to be included as a crucial ingredient of the Sustainable Development Goals to follow 2015

Literacy is the door to knowledge, essential to individual self-esteem and empowerment. Books, in all forms, play an essential role here. 

With 175 million adolescents in the world - mostly girls and young women - unable to read a single sentence, UNESCO is committed to harnessing information and communication technologies, especially mobile technology, to support literacy and to reach the unreached with quality learning.

"Books are invaluable platforms for freedom of expression and the free flow of information – these are essential for all societies today. 

The future of the book as a cultural object is inseparable from the role of culture in promoting more inclusive and sustainable pathways to development. 

UNESCO is seeking to promote reading among young people and marginalised groups. "

Irina Bokova, message (excerpts)


April is a month full of good things to celebrate about literature.

Not only is April 23 Shakespeare's death and April 22 Cervantes' death. It's a day when books are the centre of activities in schools and events all around the world. 

April 2nd is Christian Andersen's birthday and International Children's Book Day

Reading a book is in our days a large concept. All formats are available for those who love to read.

photo : Alamy

  • Activities:
A range of activities to promote reading and the cultural aspects of books are held in schools all over the world. 
Many of these emphasize international cooperation or friendships between schools.

My usual readers knows I write so often on G-Souto's Blog about the importance of reading in school! I have a Master in Literature and Linguistic. So, humanities are my priority and my love of books is enormous. No matter the format. However I prefer printed books. What can I say?

You wii find so many posts about books, reading, literature! If you search you will find a great number of authors and books in different languages and to different ages.

From Harry Potter digital to classical author Leo Tolstoi, science-fiction  or comics, educators will find interesting resources.

And some good apps, animated movies and games that help students to read. 

Almeida Garrett : A Viagem e o Património,
nos 160 anos da morte

Last time on April 17 Almeida Garrett, one of the greatest Portuguese writers who consacrate the theatre in Portugal. He is the herald of the Portuguese literary movement Romanticism.

Arthur Rimbaud
Illustrations : Fabien Montes

On April 14, I wrote about the French poet Arthur Rimbaud who has been the herald of the French literary movement Surrealism.

But if you continue to search there are a great list of resources and activities on on this blog along the years. 

You will find different ideas and some funny activities to motivate your students to read and to love books.
You can also organize different events in your school: relay readings of books and plays; the distribution of bookmarks; the announcement of the winners of school literary competitions; 

If your students are kids, don't forget some actions to promote the understanding of laws on copyright and the protection of authors' intellectual property if your students are younger.
Incheon, Republic of Korea, has been designated World Book Capital 2015, in recognition of its programme to promote reading among people and underprivileged sections of the population. 

This designation takes effect on World Book and Copyright Day and will be celebrated with participants from the previous title-holder, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

"With Incheon and the entire international community, let us join together to celebrate books as the embodiment of creativity, the desire to share ideas and knowledge, to inspire understanding, dialogue and tolerance."
UNESCO’s message on World Book and Copyright Day
  • Other activities:

  • Take this opportunity to discover something new from what you're used to read and share it with your students;
  • Share your passion for an author and offer his book to the best reader among your students;
  • Write a note in a book saying “Happy Book Day!” drag one bookmark in it, and leave it on a park bench or a metro seat;
  • Ask your students to give a book that they are no longer using to disavanteged school libraries;
  • Print out some Unesco campaign materials and organize a book fair at your school library. Students love this activity;
  • Plan local reading events in your school and visit the national library in your city or go to a bookstore with students;
  • Encourage famous guest writers to get involved in a workshop on creativity with students. They love to talk and share their thoughts with writers they have read.

  • Alternative Activities : Pop up Book Fairs
From Sydney to Tokyo to Cape Town, from Moscow, London and all the major European capitals to New York, Washington, Chicago and the Pacific Northwest of the United States ILAB Pop Up Book Fairs, organized by the world’s expert antiquarian booksellers, will appear on 23 April, 2015. 

"We don’t need a list of rights and wrongs, tables of dos and don’ts: we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever.”

Philip Pullman



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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Education : It's Earth Day 2015

Today, April 22 we celebrate Earth Day 2015. With my students we are in since 2006.

For 45 years, Earth Day has been bringing communities and organizations together to advocate for a healthier environment and a sustainable life. 

Some information:

The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life to share their concerns about each citizen’s critical role in the environment. 

Their actions led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. 

Now over one billion people in 192 countries participate in Earth Day activities, making it the largest civic observance in the world. 

Earth Day’s Global 2015 theme: "It’s Our Turn to Lead." 

This year's Earth Day is the 45th, since its inception in 1970, which was widely viewed as marking the beginning of the contemporary environmental movement

It is organised by the Earth Day Network, which aims to "inform and energize populations so they will act to secure a healthy future for themselves and their children".

Google doodle Earth Day 2015

Google is celebrating Earth Day 2015 by creating a wonderful animated Doodle featuring a rotating Earth and creatures including an elephant and a komodo dragon.

Earth Day is a time to search for information on how to celebrate and protect our planet. And it’s a great time to find out something about ourself too.


I've done in the past and continue to share some thoughts on teaching about Earth Day and environmental civics education in general and proposed different resources. 


This year, start your lesson, by asking your students to take their mobile or tablet and go to Google homepage. Wow ! They will be surprised with this awesome animated doodle.

Tell your students to click on the Earth Day logo, or searching for “Earth Day quiz” and they will find one of the Internet’s favorite pastimes: a goofy quiz.

Let them take the time to answer a few questions and they too can determine, share, and learn more about which animal most closely represents each personality.

The quiz works on just about any up-to-date browsers on any mobile or desktop browsers, including the Android and iOS Google Apps

Google assure us it’s all 100% accurate and scientific ;-)

"We learned a lot about nature’s precious pals and interesting inhabitants in the process of making and taking this quiz and we hope you do, too!"

The Earth Day Doodle Crew

No doubt ! Google Earth Day doodle crew has done its bit to celebrate Earth Day 2015, the largest civic event in the world, with one of its trademark doodles.

It is not the first time Google has celebrated Earth Day with a doodle. You will find some they have done over the years on my blog or on the blogs for my students: Portuguese and French curricula.

But they have their own environmental blogs since 2007: Geração Verde (Green Generation) and Geração Polar (Polar explorers).

After the fun, students are ready to prepare some good actvities for a day, may be for a week. I know you have something prepared.

credits : UNESCO

Some thoughts:

Schools have an important role promoting environmental education as a civic value. So, teachers can teach and share environmental values in different moments of their lessons in cross-curricular.

Yes! Because Earth Day is not about a day! Earth Day is about every day! So, educators must include environmental values in different moments of their lessons, no matter the curriculum, and provide some thoughts and digital resources, educating young people for a sustainable future and inspiring them being a good example.

Students will evolve in creative green projects  that they will share with families and friends. They will become good young environmentalists. They are already. They are the new generation who really cares about Earth.

Organizing an Earth Day event or activity is one of the best ways to engage your school community to protect the planet. 

Once you figure out your plan, let Earth Day know and Earth Day network will help you spread the word. 

The bigger the story we can tell on Earth Day 2015, the larger impact we will have.

Level: All levels.

Curriculum: Cross-curricular activities and projects.

Every teacher will adapt the actvities to the level they are teaching.


Earth Day offers you a Toolkit providing resources to help you plan your own Earth Day event. 

If you need additional help or resources, don’t hesitate to send an email,!

Special links to inspire your students:

Leadership Guide

Climate Education Week : A week of activities

A Million Acts of Green

"The Untouched - A Time-lapse Film"

Moving photos show Native American Children Defending the Earth 

British photographer  turns parks, village and beaches into their own little worlds.

“Children are so knowledgeable [about environmental issues],”(...) “They know what’s going on and they’re more aware and more affected than adults are.”

Tailinh Agoyo, photographer

So, Happy Earth Day to you today and everyday!


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Education : It's Earth Day 2015 ! bG-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.