"A dream you dream lonely, is just a dream... A dream we dream together is reality..."

Thank you, Adri

"We must teach our children to dream with their eyes open".
Harry Edwards

Thank you, Mahenaz
Oi, Galera!

Adri: Hello, dear Darrel!!! Do you know that your name means a lot here???

In Portuguese, GALERA means a transportation, a very big ship that the conquerors used in the Past. Lots of man were needed to make it go through the sea... GALERA is also an expression very common among young people... When teenagers arrive at their groups, at the club or at the beach, they say (OI, GALERA!!! = Hello, people!!!). A lot of people is a GALERA... Did you get it???

So... you mean a lot to us... ;-)))

About dreaming... I understand your thoughts... Sometimes it seems we are fighting against everybody, trying to offer the best conditions, the real structure that Education needs... Sometimes the authorities close their eyes and forget that the future isn't something hidden anywhere. The future we build today... Sometimes we feel no strenght inside and we almost give up... But children's smiles, their eyes shining and our souls makes things different... And we go on and on...

That's why we are here...
That's why we do not give up.
That's why we look for partners so far away... To try to find ourselves,

to share our hopes and pains...

I am happy because we are not alone!!!

Muito obrigada! (Thank you very much!)
Uma beijoca! (A little kiss)

Darrel: Adriana, Aloha from Honolulu, Hawaii! Thank you for a wonderful message - maybe I should move to Brazil and start a transportation business! Oh don't I sound like a true American capitalist! :-)

I also enjoy you sharing that "Galera" is a common expression among very young people and teenagers - I have a big smile and I need to share this with my colleagues that I worked with in former jobs as an assistant principal responsible for administering disciplinary consequences to students in a senior high schools here. At those schools, "Galera" was a common expression also, but probably used only by those students who were unhappy that they needed to visit with me - they probably thought I acted like some "conqueror from the past." (That's my attempt at humor for today!)

Adri: It's funny!!! Patti, can you see that? I am very happy on being closer and closer. By talking and kidding, we learn more and more... Marilyn told me something similar to that! That's good, friends!!! Let's send our feelings and jokes because they are part of us and part of our learning process.

Darrel: I am very interested in your efforts in art eduation. I agree with Patti's ideas that it is an important subject that must be integrated into our entire learning process. It is so important to provide our students with opportunities not only for creative expression but also to develop their critical thinking skills.

Adri: YES!!! You mentioned two important points in Art-Education!!! It's also a way of understanding and processing feelings... Somenthing coming from inside to outside and also the oposite way...

Darrel: I had the pleasure of visiting (along with Marilyn) a school named Clearview Elementary School in Chula Vista, California in February 1997. It was one of the most impressive schools I have ever been to. Although a majority of students came from challenging backgrounds and over 60% of students were ESLL (English Second Language Learners) students, student achievement at the school was very high. In addition to using computer technology as a tool, their other focus was on art. Students created some of the most beautiful art work which is proudly displayed throughout the campus.

We share a common challenge of trying to educate children with many needs. At Aiea Elementary School where I work, a large majority of our families are considered poor and on welfare. Over 80% of our students receive free lunch subsidies and a recent study showed that over 60% of our students came from single parent homes. I know from your sharing that the students at your school are very lucky to have you as their Director.

I'm interested in learning from you if your parents are supportive of the teachers of their children and are involved in your school's activities? This is always a challenge for some of our schools.

Muito obrigada

Adri: This is another tale... As you know, we have many social problems. Families are not as they were once... It's not prejudice... NO!!! I am sure that the world is chaning more and more, and we cannot keep the old ideas of the families of our grandparents... Woman plays another role now, marriage means something else... So... As I told you, the structure has lots of points of discussion...

  • Many woman have to work during the all day, so they cannot be close to the school;
  • It becomes a responsability of grandmothers or older sisters;
  • Lots of families are very big, with lots of children and the moms who don't work must take care of the babies;
  • There are parents who don't care... Have time and opportunities, but no interest... These are the worst!
But I try to make things to call them into the school... Slowly I can "fish" some...

We prepare workshops (Next week we will offer the first [origami for parties]), we call doctors to talk about children diseases, we prepare video sessions, etc... They come... first just a few, then more and more. All of them? Never!!!

I hope we can help each other with good ideas... What do you think???

Uma beijoca,

Patti: Adri, How big is your school? How many students?

Adri: My school still has 10 classes (5 in the morning + 5 in the evening). I said still because they will build 5 new rooms to duplicate our vacancies... We have 313 students now.

Patti: Can you reach the Internet at school or only at your home?

Adri: Only at home. There's a neighbor school that can access... but they don't like a lot to do that... If we really need, we can take some children there... This is another problem that, if you want, I can tell later...

Patti: I have been to your city and I love it but I have never seen such poverty as I have in the favelas. I could see the "houses" on the mountain side from my hotel window. Where do these children go to school?

Adri: My school is on a poor part of the city, but it's not a favela... We are at a rural place, far from downtown, near farms and industries, but nothing like the favelas. My children houses are really small and poor, but they aren't made of wood as the ones in the favelas...

Patti: Tell us a little about the hours that the children are in school.

Adri: The new law says: 200 days per year or 800 hours. Our children stay at schooll for 4 hours and a half per day. There are two groups. One in the morning and the other after lunch. There are a few schools that keep children from the morning until the evening. There they have breakfast, lunch, evening lunch and dinner. At my school they have breakfast and lunch (morning) and lunch and milk (evening).

There's something curious that I would like to share with you... You could think... Poor children probably eat a lot, trying to reduce their needs because at home things aren't very good... OK? WRONG!!! Our habits have to do with our cultures and poverty makes things more complex on this point. They are accustumed with bread, eggs, macarrone, sausage, rice, beans and potatoes... They don't like when you offer chicken, fish, vegetables or soups... Can you understand? They don't eat it at home... So they don't eat at the school too. Meat??? They hate... So, as teachers (and nurses, and mothers, and psychologists...) we must seat beside them, we eat too, we show the importance of the properties of each one... So they say... - Ok. I will taste, but just a little. Some of them start to eat other kinds of lunch, different from the ones prepared by their mothers... But it is a hard job...

I think it's one of my tales... There are more...


Patti: Adri, You have told me in other e-mails that you did not have enough teachers when school opened this year. You have also told me that there is not such a thing as substitutes. When a teacher is ill her class is divided among other classes. When I first wrote and asked you to join us in our little group you said that you were happy to join us and that you had three teachers who would be ready to do projects. Tell us about their time management. You have computers at school, yes? How do the teachers organize their classes to use the computers effectively?

Adri: You are almost right, my dear... To explain an structure from a different country insn't easy, but I will try... At school there are only 2 computers (and authorities brought them for administrative work... :0((( ). I don't agree with that, so, we use the computers with other objectives (nobody needs to know... and I don't need to tell you that children love it!!!)

About projects: Our inside organization alows us to take part in projects, as we did last year with Dennis Buccola and Richard Martin. We are now preparing MATH PUZZLES (It was a secret, Patti... But now it isn't anymore!!!), but this project comes together with another that we are running on March (Transit - We have a new legislation of transit that is changing things here...), so our puzzles have to do with transit... Did you get???

In general, I lead this organization, by selecting with classes will take part in what project. I't's like this because the other teachers don't use Internet yet... These 3 ones I mentioned are the ones who helps the projects go on, but the other ones and the other classes can be there too...

The organization of classes and the computers has to do with the projects needs... If it's needed, we can go to another school, with more computers (but it's not very easy...) There's much more to explain... I can't be sure if you really understood our reality... But one thing is OK. We, teachers and students from Escola Leila Mehl M. de Mattos want to be here. And it is enough now!!! And we feel very happy on having all of you with us!!!

Uma beijoca