Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bailin and Reynolds' Pen-Pal Exchange Videos

video video video

Bailin and Reynolds' Pen- Pal Exchange!
















My students COULD NOT WAIT for today. They knew today they were receiving their AMERICAN PEN-PAL LETTERS! Enjoy the pics. Videos will be posted soon.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mahatma Gandhi: Quotes


"My life is my message," Mahatma Gandhi.
QUESTION(s)/TOPIC(s)
Difficulty Level Low - What does this quote mean to you?
Difficulty Level Medium - Choose another quote from a famous leader. Compare/Contrast the quotes.
Difficulty Level High - How does this quote relate to Gandhi's life? How can it relate to yours?
Other Quotes from Gandhi (If you find others that you like, please post them.)
"You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.”
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
“Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love.”
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
"An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

Mahatma Gandhi: Artwork and Creative Thinking

A - This was a painting that was displayed at the museum.
B - I took this picture of a glass outline of Gandhi's body when the power went out at the museum. When I looked back at the photograph, this is what appeared. Although it was not what I "wanted" when I took the picture, I decided that I liked this one so much better because it seemed to apply more to Gandhi's life and my experiences at the museum.

C - After taking picture B (above this one) I took this picture of the doorway.
QUESTION(s)/TOPIC(s)
Difficulty Level Medium- Knowing what you know about Gandhi (after reading previous posts and possibly doing some of your own research), which picture do you think historically portrays him accurately? Why do you think this? (use specific examples)
Difficulty Level Medium - Which picture best highlights the life Gandhi led? Explain.
Difficulty Level Medium - What similarities can you find in these pictures? Why do you think these similarities are present?
Difficulty Level High - Which picture evokes an emotional connection in you? Why does it touch you in this way?
Difficulty Level High - How does art influence or reflect society? Be specific.








Mahatma Gandhi Museum: Prophets of Gentleness



At the museum, there was a tribute to many contributors of non-violent resistance. I love how the contributions from a variety of people are being celebrated.

QUESTION(s)/TOPIC(s)
Difficulty Level Low – Looking at all of these people, which one do you know the most information about? Please share your facts.
Difficulty Level Medium - Do you think any Prophet of Gentleness is missing? If so, who do you think he/she is and why would you add them to this list?
Difficulty Level Medium – Why did each of these people support peaceful means of solving problems? (THINK – what was going on in the world while they were alive….that’s right…think about history!!!)
Difficulty Level High – Pick one person from this list and one world leader (past, present, or newly elected). How are these figures the same or different?
Difficulty Level High – Pick one person from this list and one world leader (past, present, or newly elected). What advice do you think he/she would have for the leader you have chosen? Why do you think this?

Mahatma Gandhi Museum











We went to a museum that honored the life, struggles, and triumphs of Gandhi. This was a culturally enriching experience as well as a historical review of events that shaped the world today as well as changed Indian society. A graphic timeline of Gandhi’s life can be viewed at http://rena.wao.com/gandhi/timeline.html.

(A Brief) Timeline of Gandhi's Life
This does not give justice to the magnitude of this legend’s life and the mark he not only left on India, but the world.
http://www.jpcarter.com/Spirituality/PDF/GandhiTimeline.pdf
Seven Deadly Social Sins/Pat Carter

1869 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi born in Porbandar in Gujarat.
1893 Gandhi leaves for Johannesburg for practicing law and is thrown out of a first class bogie because he is colored.
1906 Mohandas K. Gandhi, 37, speaks at a mass meeting in the Empire Theater, Johannesburg on September 11 and launches a campaign of nonviolent resistance
(satyagraha) to protest discrimination against Indians. The British Government
Had just invalidated the Indian Marriage.
1913 Mohandas Gandhi in Transvaal, South Africa leads 2,500 Indians into the in defiance of a law, they are violently arrested, Gandhi refuses to pay a fine, he is
jailed, his supporters demonstrate. On November 25, and Natal police fire into the
crowd, killing two, injuring 20.
1914 Mohandas Gandhi returns to India at age 45 after 21 years of practicing law in South Africa where he organized a campaign of “passive resistance” to protest his mistreatment by whites for his defense of Asian immigrants. He attracts wide attention in India by conducting a fast --the first of 14 that he will stage as political demonstrations and that will inaugurate the idea of the political fasting.
1930 A civil disobedience campaign against the British in India begins March 12. The All-India Trade Congress has empowered Gandhi to begin the demonstrations (see 1914). Called Mahatma for the past decade, Gandhi leads a 165-mile march to the Gujarat coast of the Arabian Sea and produces salt by evaporation of sea water in violation of the law as a gesture of defiance against the British monopoly in salt production
1932 Gandhi begins a "fast unto death" to protest the British government's treatment of
India's lowest caste "untouchables" whom Gandhi calls Harijans -- "God's
children." Gandhi's campaign of civil disobedience has brought rioting and has
landed him in prison, but he persists in his demands for social reform, he urges a
new boycott of British goods, and after 6 days of fasting obtains a pact that
improves the status of the "untouchables" (Dalits)
1947 India becomes free from 200 years of British Rule. A major victory for Gandhian principles and non-violence in general.
1948 Gandhi is assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu fanatic at a prayer meeting.
QUESTION(s)/TOPIC(s)
Difficulty Level Low - What was Gandhi non-violently fighting for?
Difficulty Level Medium - What lessons can mankind learn from Gandhi's mission? Support your answer with details.
Difficulty Level High - Is Gandhi's way of achieving goals through non-violence a possibilty today? Why or why not? Use specific examples and gain insight from resources to help you.
Difficulty Level High - Looking at the world today (you may pick a location: your daily life, school, Arizona, the United States, another country, continent, etc.) what do you think Gandhi would think about it? How would he feel? Use specific examples and express your ideas in a meaningful way.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Three Ancient Religions of India with Jainism as the Focus

































































These photographs were taken at a Jainism Temple in Gujarat. Not only was this temple breathtaking, but the experience touched me deeply and profoundly. I would like to share this experience with all of you. We were unable to take photographs inside the temple, so some things I speak of, you will not have visuals for.

Miss Bailin’s Reflection of the Jainism Temple
Miss Reynolds and I walked up and we were giggling with excitement. The mere sight of it stopped us dead in our tracks and silenced our giddiness. I don’t think we breathed for a good minute because it took our breath away. The magnificence of this place of worship radiated from all around us. As we gazed at the beauty of this masterpiece, we had no idea the experience we would share once we entered its doors.

We treaded lightly up to the doorway, removed our shoes, and shared a quick smile and Namaste with the gentleman that watch the shoes. The men’s clothes were threadbare and their posture hunched. Beads of sweat dripped down their tired faces as the rays from the sun beat on us, but their welcoming smiles and kind eyes washed away any nerves I might have had. All I felt was trust and genuine respect for these two men.

As we entered the temple, we observed how every inch of it was etched with beauty. There were carvings of religious deities and sculptures of various religious characters all over the building. It had gorgeously detailed designs all over it. As we walked through the doorway, people were exiting because a ceremony of some sorts had just finished. The whole temple smelled of fresh flowers that were all around the ground and hanging from the archways, which gave it a bright contrast. We were greeted just the same as the worshippers of this temple and escorted into the main chamber. This surprised and pleased me because I was nervous about how we would be received because we were obviously different from the rest of the people worshipping. I am so amazed at home kind and accepting Indian people are. That is one of the things I will remember most about India.

While we were in the main chamber, we honored the gods that were being worshipped that day. There were three exquisite marble statues that were highly decorated in three doorways. There were candles and flowers all around them. It was quite a sight.

The room commanded total focus and in doing so, released the mind of all stress. I was instantly calm while we were honoring the gods and goddesses. We sat down on the stone floor and observed a man meditating. We crossed our legs, closed our eyes, and breathed slowly. It was very relaxing. While we were participating in the yoga, a tall thin man entered the room. He touched his head to the floor, knelt down, and repeated this procedure several times. Then he began to sing. Although I had no idea what he was saying, it did not matter, what mattered was that he was expressing something meaningful and beautiful to himself. It brought tears to my eyes.

As we left the temple, a Jainism Indian, who was wearing all white approached us. He held out his hand to me and said, “Sister. I honored and respect you.” He then began to tell us about himself and his family and beliefs. Two things that he shared with us that struck us both as powerful were, “Live and let live,” and, “Simple living. High thinking.” He then blessed both of us and retreated off towards the distance.

We looked at each other and didn’t have the words to express this experience. It was unforgettable.

Miss Reynolds, Miss Bailin, and PVUSD are in no way expressing that students or other blog followers should agree or change their religious beliefs based on this posting. We are also not stating our personal beliefs or making judgments on religious views. This posting is merely to educate students on life in India and so much of India is based around its religious followings, so this is a necessary posting to help students understand the daily lives of the people of India and our experiences in their communities of practice. We were able to experience some aspects of these religions and we would like to share our findings.

We will not be divulging into in-depth analysis of these religions, but we encourage students to research various religions if it is something that interests them. Also note that when researching topics, use reliable sources. Simply reading anything that is posted on Google searches is not necessarily accurate. Although there are so many religions in India, we would like to start our research on religions in India with the Three Ancient Religions that are still practiced today: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

QUESTION(s)/TOPIC(s)
*Reponses should be respectful and insightful.
Difficulty Level Low - List two facts for each of the religions. You may not use the same fact as other students.
Difficulty Level Medium – Find three comparisons between the three ancient religions OR your religion. Be specific because not everyone who reads this has the knowledge you may about your religion.
Difficulty Level Medium - Find three contrasts between the three ancient religions OR your religion. Be specific because not everyone who reads this has the knowledge you may about your religion.

Difficulty Level Medium – What does the quote, “Simple living. High thinking,” mean to you?
Difficulty Level High – What aspects of these religions could you find useful in your daily life? Why did you select these aspects?
Difficulty Level High – What value do you see in studying other religions?

Mumbai - Thanksgiving

I know you have all heard about the tragedy in Mumbai. We are in Gujarat at the Fulbright conference. We are deeply affected by these events. We are with many scholars and teachers that are living in Mumbai as teachers and researchers. I wanted to post to let you know that we are safe. Mr. Larry Schwartz, from the U.S. Embassy, opened our conference today and has been keeping us informed about the situation in Mumbai. We wish all victims our blessings and would like to encourage the world not to judge these events at face value, but to look at larger global issues and try to make peaceful and positive changes to benefit mankind. Namaste.

Happy Thanksgiving! We are thankful for our families, friends, students, co-workers, and to be safe and representing America.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mercury Mine Students Reach out to Indian Students

Jenifer Pang, an amazing media teacher, STR, technology guru, leader and innovator at Mercury Mine has started a blog about the students and life at Mercury Mine to share with our Indian friends and other schools that would like to learn about being a student in Arizona.

CHECK IT OUT!

http://mmestoindia.blogspot.com/

Thank you for all of your support and contributions to this overseas project. There is no way of knowing where our efforts will end, what lives will be touched or changed, or where the learning will stop.

Remember - learning does not stop once you leave the classroom. :)

Best,

Erica E. Bailin
Breanna S. Reynolds

The Men of Mercury Mine Wanted to Attend the Indian Wedding (Where is Mr. Collins? Was he the Photographer?)

Even overseas, the MMES family stays united. Thanks for "celebrating" the wedding with us. I miss you all! :) You guys rock!!!!

Indian Wedding



















THIS WAS INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Indian weddings are full of excitement, energy, cultural and religious traditions, family, and food. Preparing for the wedding was an interesting experience. We had no idea how to put on our Saris, so they neighbor helped us. It was quite a sight. I tripped a ton of times and we were laughing so hard that we couldn't focus on standing still ong enough to get pinned. I guess it is a good thing that everything in India goes by Indian Standard Time, which means....nothing is ever on time. I mean hours late. We were supposed to be picked up at 4p.m. and we weren't picked up until 8p.m., but it was okay because there was no official time for the wedding to start and we were EARLY for the wedding! I am so punctual, so I struggle with this concept of Indian Standard Time. We left at 2a.m. and the wedding wasn't even one sixth of the way completed. Indian weddings go until the wee hours of the morning, such as 6 and 7a.m.

There are over 200 different kinds of Indian weddings. It depends on the religious positions and the geographic location of the families. Some weddings are more traditional and others are not.

This particular wedding was an arranged marriage. Arranged marriages are still popular in India. An arranged marriage is when parents find a suitor for their daughter based on certain criteria (i.e. education, occupation, common interests, genuine family cohesiveness, etc.) and then they begin the process of arranging the. Basically, after a suitor has been decided, the families spend time together asking questions and learning about each others' values. If the families approve, then the possible bride and groom meet a few times and then they get married. The common saying in India is, "We dated after we were married," because usually the bride and groom have only met a few times prior to getting married. This was the situation of this wedding we attended.

TRADITIONS OF INDIAN WEDDINGS ARE VERY INTERESTING. YOU MAY WANT TO RESEARCH A FEW OF THE TRADITIONS AND COMPARE/CONTRAST THESE TRADITIONS WITH THE ONES YOUR FAMILY PRACTICES AND SHARE YOUR FINDINGS IN YOUR NEXT POST.

Here is Miss Reynolds' Notes of Indian Weddings (You can tell we LOVED this experience!!!) Here are some pictures from the first Indian wedding Miss Reynolds attended.
























No


No celebration, world-wide, could compare to a true, Indian wedding. These people go ALL OUT! Indian parents pride themselves on finding a good family and a good match for their children. When the big day comes, they couldn't be happier and they invite everyone, and I mean EVERYONE to share in their happiness. There are so many wedding "functions" prior to the actual event... The groom and his family are spoiled by the bride's family and showered with gifts and sweets. The bride is pampered by all of the women in her family with material, jewels, henna and polish. Everyone is running around like crazy, hopping from party to party, and this is BEFORE the formal wedding dinner, party and ceremony!

Unlike Americans, Indians celebrate with a party first then attend the personal ceremony afterward. So walking in to an Indian wedding means walking into fun, feasts, and dancing. When I visited my first Indian wedding bash, I patiently anticipated the groom's arrival, who (on his own good time) finally showed up a few hours later! There is no official start time or end time when it comes to Indian weddings. The best part was, I couldn't even see him coming because a few hundred people (the groom's guests) were paving the way for him on the dark roads. From a distance I could see the precession slowly making their way, I could hear the live drums ripping through the crowd, and I could feel the floor trembling. As the madness approached, I could faintly make out the silhouette of the groom from the torches which were being carried around him. Caught up in the moment were the singing and dancing party of people in front of the groom- the biggest street party I have ever witnessed! And behind the chaos sat the groom... on horseback! Dressed in all white from head to toe, he rode tall and proud behind his family and friends. He wore a stunning, white headpiece which covered his face, and wouldn't reveal himself until greeted by the bride's family.

After the grand entrance and a million traditions later, the groom (headpiece off) sat on stage waiting for the bride to come down the aisle. And suddenly there she was- looking like an Indian GODDESS! Her suit was covered in every kind of embroidery, design, jewel, gem, rhinestone, pattern you could think up. The jewelry... wow. Intense. Next thing you know her mom shoved me next to her and there I was, walking her down the aisle! I was totally self-conscious thinking, "Okay, I met her this morning, I don't know if this constitutes a friendship worthy of maid-of-honor status," but that was just my western mind rambling. My new-found Indian self realized, "Indians want to share their joy with everyone. These people have accepted me into their family." That last thought truly registered when I woke up the next morning in a bed with five of my new family members. The after-math of a wedding can be brutal- around 30 people sleeping under one roof. Personal space? Not in India!!!

To make a long story short, It was awesome. Check out the pics (even though it doesn't do the real event justice) :)