Day 12

Still raining in Americana! But much like the past few days, we’ll pretend it’s not. ūüôā
This morning Adriana and Cesar picked us up around 8, and we went to a government building in Americana, Secretaria¬†de Estado¬†da Educacao, for a meeting of teachers who teach English. These meetings are held twice a year; today’s theme was “How to get students’ participation.” First on the agenda was a presentation by a group of hearing impaired students. They played a video of their class on the overhead screen as they sang and signed “Imagine” by John Lennon. It was a very moving performance. I spoke to their teacher at the break to ask for a copy if their performance. I would like to show it to my students, and I think my daughter-in-law Laura, who teaches at Louisiana School for the Deaf, may like to share it with her students as well. Their teacher pointed out something I hadn’t thought of – these students were managing three languages at the same time. They are thinking in Portuguese, singing in English, and using their hands for sign language. When you think of how much we struggle with one language sometimes, you really appreciate the efforts of these children.

Hearing impaired students using sign language for “Imagine.”

Next up on the agenda was intercultural presentations by Рyou guessed it РTeri and Melanie. We have done this so many times and Adriana has listened to it so many times that we laughingly say she could probably do it without us. The difference today is that we added some info to our presentation to go more in-depth about education issues, policies, and practices in our schools, districts, and states. The 50+ teachers in the meeting were a very attentive audience and asked many questions when we were done. We are all so curious about the experiences of teachers in other places. During the break, I had interesting additional conversations with several of the teachers.

giving my PowerPoint presentation at the teachers’ meeting

Then a gentleman presented to the group about technology, web 2.0 resources, the future of technology, and applications in the classroom. The presentation was entirely in Portuguese, and as I don’t know Portuguese, and technology is also frequently a foreign language to me, I had some difficulty following along. I did copy down some web addresses that I’ll check out this summer. After lunch, the coordinator of the English teachers, Maristela, and a teacher in the room presented some music. He came from the back of the room playing a saxophone.

When he got to the front, Maristela joined him on her guitar. He then switched to guitar, and they played “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as everyone joined them in singing. (We had been given the words to the song in both English and Portuguese.) It was so lovely! It was such a creative thing to do, and everyone was very engaged.

teacher beginning the music presentation at the meeting

Afterwards, the floor was opened to questions for Melanie and me. There were many, and we had some very rich discussions about topics and issues that matter to all of us. I told the teachers that I would leave my email address for her to share with them, and I hope to hear from many of them. There is so much to be gained from collaboration with like-minded peers, and there is so much we can learn from one another. Next was a presentation about how to use movie trailers on the internet to help teach English. It’s a perfect vehicle to use to engage students because they enjoy technology, and the young people in Brazil really enjoy American movies. I saw great potential benefits in the strategy, and I plan to share it with the foreign language teachers at our school to see if they can adapt it for use in their instruction. I also have thought of a few things I can use it for in my classroom. The presentation was excellent.

Melanie and I with the teachers at the meeting.

About 7:30 this evening, Adriana met us at the hotel and Maristela¬†came to pick us up. She had very graciously invited us into her home for an evening of dinner and conversation. When we arrived, we met her three lovely daughters and her husband. We enjoyed juice, appetizers, and conversation in a family room before dinner. Then we moved to a large kitchen/dining room for dinner. The room was very warm and welcoming and had three walls and one side open to the outdoors. We have seen that very frequently in both Brasilia and Americana – living areas open to the outside. I love the fresh air you can enjoy and the sound of the rain. The climate here is very compatible to this wonderful way of living. For dinner we had a lovely salad of fresh greens, dried tomatoes, palm, and olives. The main dish was escomdidinho, which has a layer of seasoned, shredded beef topped with a layer of potatoes and is very similar to shepherd’s pie. There were two dishes of it; one made with potato and the other made with manioc, a vegetable colored like potato and grows in the ground, but it’s much longer and has a different taste. We also enjoyed beans and rice. For dessert, there were two things. First there was brigadier0, a dessert I have grown very¬†fond of in my time here. Next was sagu, a mixture of manioc¬†balls, grape juice, and ? It is refrigerated and is in a jelled¬†consistency when it’s served. The meal was wonderful, and we greatly enjoyed a home cooked meal since we’ve been gone from home for a while now. Maristela and her family were very excellent and gracious hosts and we thoroughly enjoyed our evening with them. She remarked that it was the first time for her to host Americans in her home. I told her it was our first time to be guests in a Brazilian home. ¬†Everyone was very warm and welcoming and it was a wonderful way to complete our stay in Americana.

Maristela and her family invited Melanie, Adriana, and me into their lovely home. Her husband took the photo for us.


Day 11

Last night the weather was terrible here. It was raining hard and the winds were strong. Around midnight it started waking me up because I could hear thudding noises, I suppose from things hitting the building. At about 12:30 the power went out. I was fumbling around with light switches in the dark until I gathered my wits enough to use my cell phone as a flashlight. Then the power kicked on about 4 and the lights and noise woke me up again. Ugh. I guess the sunny and mild weather we’ve enjoyed since we arrived couldn’t last indefinitely.

dressed for the Festa Junina

This morning a coworker of Adriana’s picked us up at 7:30. We got to the school and helped to prepare for the Festa Junina. The June parties originated in Brazil long ago to honor St. Anthony (the matchmaker) on the 13th, St. John (corn harvest) on the 24th, and St. Peter (rains) on the 29th. This originated in rural areas where people were more dependent on crops and were more religious. It has evolved to most areas of Brazil and parties take place anytime in June and don’t require religious context. Young people traditionally dress like hillbillies, girls with pigtails and freckles, boys with moustaches and beards, everyone in plaid shirts. Quite a few of the students at Niomar today had pigtails, drawn on facial hair, and/or plaid shirts. There was an enormous amount of food gathered, prepared, and set out for the kids. As is tradition, there were strings of colored tissue flags strung back and forth across the area for decoration. There was a sound system set up for music. The kids spent the two hours of the party eating and socializing. A few people made some short-lived attempts, but on the whole most were too shy to dance. About two dozen did participate in a traditional dance I would describe as very close to square dancing as a teacher called out the directions. Several times during the party, groups of students gathered around Melanie and me to talk and ask questions. Communication was successful in varying degrees and we improvised with some hand signals and halting guesses at words. Everyone had a nice time, and it’s always fun to watch young people outside of a classroom environment.

After the kids left at noon, the adults sat down to a meal prepared by the principal. I don’t know the name of the dish, but it was a creamy, seasoned, orange toned sauce containing shrimp, and it was served over white rice. It reminded me of shrimp etouffee, but it wasn’t as darkly colored. It was very good, and I appreciate the work involved for him to make something special for us. Adriana had meetings for the rest of the day so her principal drove us back to the hotel about 1:30.

As you know, Melanie and I have been wanting to go to the botanical gardens. It was raining quite steadily when we got to the hotel, but we didn’t want to stay in for the rest of the day so we decided to strike out on our own. We asked a lady at the hotel desk to call a taxi for us, and we rolled up our jeans and packed our umbrellas and took off. The cab driver spoke English (which is why the hotel recommended him) and he was very helpful. On the way there, he pointed out some Americana landmarks and gave us some information. He asked the people at the gardens if we could use their phone to call him when we were done which was great since that would have been difficult to pantomine. Melanie and I went through the zoo first (it’s connected to garden) and then walked through the gardens. It rained at different intensities for a great deal of the time, but what the heck? We both felt that we aren’t in Brazil often enough to stay in our hotel rooms. Both the zoo and the gardens were nice and well worth the trip. Most of the information signs were in all Portuguese, but we were able to figure out a good bit of it. We got back to the hotel and changed for Cesar to pick us up at 7:15. Adriana wanted us to go to her Rotary Club meeting tonight. They installed new members and new officers. Everything was in Portuguese, but it appeared to be a meaningful ceremony. Later on in the evening, Adriana asked someone there to take Melanie and me back to the hotel and they dropped us off at 11:00.

Ingrid, a student of Adriana’s, accompanied us to the Rotary Club meeting. She speaks English really well.

FF: A lady at the school today asked me, “Cassado?” I said, “No falo Portuguese.” I asked someone who knows both languages to translate her question. She was asking if I am married. I found this curious since my wedding set is on the third finger of my left hand as it has been for 32+ years. Well, come to find out, there’s an explanation. As it was explained to me, when women in Brazil are steadily seeing someone, they wear a silver band (with or without design) on the third finger of their left hand. Once they are married, they wear a plain gold band on that finger. They don’t wear engagement rings with stones and wedding sets. She didn’t think my ring or Melanie’s ring was a wedding band and she was curious. After the explanation, I scrutinized women’s left hands for the remainder of the day, and based on that unscientific survey, the explanation appears to be accurate. ūüôā

Boa noite!

well……not so traditional dance…..

traditional dance

For a donation, students could give a shout out to each other. Melanie and I both received one. ūüôā

Melanie and I with students at the June party. We were invited to dress up, but we hadn’t packed any plaid.

pathway in the zoo

peeping, probably wondering why we’re at the zoo in the rain

the first unfriendly Brazilian I’ve seen :-/

at the entrance to the gardens and zoo

pathway in the Botanical Garden

apparently you can’t enter without a shirt on….

Ouch! The bark of this tree in the Botanical Gardens is not inviting.

dwarfed by the bamboo

Day 10

We had our first rainy day since arriving in Brazil. We’ve been positively spoiled by the mild and sunny weather we’ve had until today, but I guess a little rain is a good thing where it’s falling. Besides, Melanie bought a spiffy new rain jacket for our trip and she was eager to give it a try.
A coworker of Adriana’s picked us up this morning at 7:30. We arrived at Adriana’s school and gave our presentations to a class of 12th grade students. They asked questions and we gave out some of the candy and mementos we brought. Next we spent time with her class of 11th grade students. After the presentation, we passed out things to them as well. For each class we’ve used an assortment of the fleur-de-lis Mardi Gras beads, some Mardi Gras magnets and New Orleans key chains I picked up in the French Quarter, and some feathered Mardi Gras masks. Adriana puts their names in a box and draws them one at a time for me to hand out the goodies. Afterwards everyone is given a gold New Orleans pencil so everyone gets something. They really seem to enjoy the anticipation and they get excited waiting to hear their names. We do it after the slide show so that the item connects to the culture we’ve just talked about. Those bags of things were so heavy to pack and carry here, but now I’m glad I did it.


class of 11th grade students at Niomar

a gift for the student whose name was chosen

Another friend of Adriana’s picked us up at the school, and we went to a restaurant named Rancho da Linguica that serves traditional Brazilian food. This place was just off the highway and was literally set in the middle of mile after mile of sugar cane fields.

open air restaurant

fields of sugar cane between Americana and Sta. Barbara


street signs in Americana

We went to the mall we were in a few days ago as Adriana had some shopping to do. After she and Cesar were done, they dropped Melanie and I at the hotel. It was still lightly raining, but there were still a couple of hours of daylight, and Melanie and I wanted to get out so we got our umbrella and rain jacket and walked around a bit. It was interesting to look around, but this isn’t an area with much you can get to by walking. We stayed out for a little more than an hour and then went back to the hotel to dry out. Hopefully, the rain will not crash our day tomorrow as we’re still hoping to get to the botanical gardens. Keep your fingers crossed!

We won’t be stopped by a little rain!

Street art (aka graffiti) on a wall across from the hotel

Day 9

view from the second story of the hotel

This morning Melanie and I decided to be a bit adventurous. Cesar was scheduled to be here at 2:00 to pick us up so we decided to walk a bit in the area of the hotel beforehand. The hotel is on a hill, and from the top of it we can see a main street and some retail shops in the near distance. Yesterday afternoon Adriana asked the people at the front desk if they thought it would be safe enough for us to walk in that direction today. We were given a green light and some words of caution by all involved so we headed in that direction at 11:30. We had different strategies. I wore my large sunglasses as a clever disguise so that passersby could not tell that I’m foreign. (Adriana says my light eyes help give me away.) My fierce young companion, however, opted for a different approach. She didn’t cover her eyes so that she could strike fear in the hearts of any would-be assailants with her menacing glare. You have no doubt noticed some obvious (and humorous) flaws in both strategies, but we worked with what we have. ūüôā

views on our walk

We walked up a street towards the main street and in the first block there’s a school where it seemed students had just been dismissed. These crowds of adolescents look and sound like the crowds we see at our schools. If you’re looking for and listening for details, there are differences. But in the big picture, much is the same. They walk in tight chattering clusters, some are looking at others with joy or affection, and from the moving groups there are periodic outbursts of giggles of teenage girls. Yes, much is the same.

car rider line at school dismissal

We made it to the main street without issue, and we navigated the crosswalks in the four lane highway. Adriana’s words were ringing in my ears, “This is not like the U.S. People in cars will not stop for you.” We didn’t attempt to disprove her theory. At this point you shouldn’t be expecting a tantalizing description of exotic foods because we selected McDonalds for our midday meal. I know, I know……but it was right there on the corner and we thought the combo meals would be numbered and we could hold up the appropriate number of fingers to order. Wrong. There were no numbers and no menu low enough for me to touch. Hmmm. I said, “No Portuguese.” The teenager behind the counter said, “No Ingles.” At least we both were smiling. Well I forged ahead trying to say quarterpounder with a Portuguese flair. It apparently wasn’t as effective as I thought it was. She called for someone else to come listen to my gibberish. This next person tried but then signaled me to wait while they summoned someone else. A boy came from the back and tried but still no success. Bear in mind that this is just before noon and a line is steadily lengthening behind me. Finally I resorted to pointing in the direction of the menu board which seemed to be nearly on the ceiling behind him. I said, “One” and moved my hand side to side to indicate the top row. . I was encouraged by his nod of understanding. And then I said, “One, two” to show I meant the second item on the row. Success! Then, with my Portuguese phrase book clutched in my sweaty palms, I said, “Sem cebola. Por favor.” I’m quite proud to say that I did end up with a quarterpounder with no onions. ūüôā After we ate we walked around the block behind the McDonalds and enjoyed looking around.

the elusive goal…

McDonald’s in Americana

Later we met up with Adriana and went to an administrative office of her school system to meet with the coordinator of English teachers, Maristela. She and I reviewed and discussed my PowerPoint presentation and then talked as her English is very good. Then she drove Adriana, Melanie, and me to get something to eat. It proved to be quite difficult to find a place as it was just after 5 and people here usually don’t eat the evening meal until 7:30 and later, We ended up at Habib’s, which had quite an odd menu, with everything from Brazilian food to Lebanese food to pizza. We ended up with an assortment of items to sample including kibe, stuffed grape leaves, humus, and esfiha. I particularly enjoyed the kibe, a football shaped mixture of meat and cheese (about the size of a golf ball) that’s breaded and fried.

Niomar school during the evening session

We then went back to Adriana’s school and met with the students in her 7:45 class. We shared our presentations with them as Adriana translated. They were a boisterous group of 40+ and most spoke little or no English. They were attentive and ended up asking us quite a few questions. Adriana didn’t ask us to stay for her next class because it doesn’t end until 11:00. The large classes and late hours still boggle my mind. Tomorrow we will start at 7:30 and will meet with two or three of her morning classes.

senior students in a class in the evening session

FF: At the risk of being indelicate, did you know that in Brazil one does not put tissue paper in the toilet? In both hotels I’ve been in, there’s a hand held sprayer (much like the spray nozzle many of us have on our kitchen sinks) on the wall near the toilet and a waste basket for your tissue is there, too. Lindsey told me about this beforehand, but it still surprised me. Let me just hold onto some decorum and end by saying that old habits are indeed hard to break.

Boa noite.

Day 8

housing along the highway on the way to Sao Paulo

This morning we left about 8 headed to Sao Paulo.¬† It was a nice ride and scenery between American and Sao Paulo.¬† Sao Paulo is a huge city.¬† As you are approaching it, you get a real idea of the expanse of it.¬† The skyline of the city just stretches on and on.¬† There’s a lot of very crowded housing next to the highway on the outskirts of the city.¬† Once you’re in the city itself, you kind of lose perspective of just how large it is.¬† Then you realize that no matter what direction you look, you just see tall buildings as far as you can see.¬† It’s a mixture of beautiful older, ornate¬†buildings and really tall and sleek skyscrapers.

The first place we went was Parque da Luz.¬† It’s a gorgeous, tranquil park in the midst of all these buildings.¬† It’s a very tropical feel with lots of thick greenery and a variety of trees and water features.¬† The nature is its own artistry, but I was really impressed by all of the sculpture in the park.¬† Like the city, it’s a mixture of old and traditional and new and contemporary.¬† There are sculpture displays that are abstract and¬†metal and then there are displays that are older, more traditional¬†garden statues.¬† The park is big and we walked around for a while seeing different areas.¬† There’s an area with workout equipment where we saw quite a few industrious people.

Next we went to Museu da Lingua Portuguesa, Museum of Portuguese Language. Everything was, obviously, in Portuguese so we couldn’t read anything or understand the movie, but it is a beautiful place. At one point we sat in this darkened room with high ceilings that acted like a projector screen. Images scrolled and burst on the ceilings as poetry readings were played. I really enjoyed it because even without knowing what was being said, the¬†mood of the poems were very evident because of the images, voice tones, and background music. It gave me a great idea for a lesson plan for next school year, and the more I thought about it during the day, the bigger and better the plan grew. ūüôā

In another area of the museum¬†I sat at a screen to view the words from English that have been incorporated into Portuguese. How ironic that we gave them “banana-split” AND “diet.”

Then we rode the subway to a market, Mercado Municipal Paulistano. This was a huge building packed with vendors, deli style eateries, and people. We ate lunch at Hocca on Adriana’s recommendation. She and I split a mortadelo sandwich and a pastel. Both were very good. Afterwards we walked around the fruit vendors. There are mountains of fresh fruit stacked in the booths, and men stand in front of them hawking their wares and offering samples to the crowd. Yum! The first thing I tried was atemoia, a fruit that looked kind of like an artichoke to me. I know this sounds odd, but the consistency of the inside reminded me of lump crab meat – not taste, just texture. It was very sweet and really good. We walked along the aisles in samplers’ heaven tasting several things I’ve never heard of. One fruit was round, about the size of a plum, and its outside reminded me of a blow fish. It was covered in prickly looking spines. I think it’s called rambota. The man cut around the exterior and removed the top half of the outercovering. Inside was a milky white almond shaped fruit. I bit into it and discovered it had a nut/core inside tnat I assumed wasn’t meant to be eaten. The fruit part was good, but between the size of the intact item, the thickness of the outer covering, and the inedible core, there really isn’t that much to eat. Despite that, it was good. We made a stop in the market building to purchase some touristy things and then left. Cesar picked us up and we rode down Paulista Avenue. We saw some beautiful and massive buildings. Around the Contemporary Art Museum we saw lots of vendors with booths set up. It looked like they were selling craft type items.

Beautiful buildings on Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo

Pay phone on Paulista Avenue

Melanie and I had dinner in the hotel this evening. The menu is set up where you can easily point to order. I never could figure out how to ask for ketchup, but we did manage to eat.

FF: Did you know that Brazil is a major producer of granite? The industry is particularly active in this, the Sao Paulo region, of the country. Melanie and I had noticed that there was a lot of granite and other stone everywhere we’ve been. I mean even in open air eating areas where you carry your tray to a table with attached chairs, the table tops are granite. And the hotel we’re in nolw is really decked out in hard surfaces. A long granite desk top runs the length of the room.The floor is granite and its trimmed by baseboards of 3 inch granite. The wall space from the underside of the desk to the floor is granite. The other two walls of the room are granite to about 4 feet up the wall. The two nightstands are granite slabs attached to the granite wall. The bathroom floor is granite and the sink is undermounted in a huge slab of granite. The bathroom walls are covered in white stone tiles from the ceiling to the floor. The windowsills are also granite. I think I’ll hazard a guess that granite is much more affordable here than it is in the U.S.

We’ll be meeting with classes of students and some educators tomorrow. Melanie and I are looking forward to that. We’re also looking forward to seeing other sights in Americana, including the botanical gardens, which are supossed to be lovely. With all the exotic greenery I’ve already seen, I’m sure that it will be great.

Melanie getting a sample from a fruit vendor in the mercado

rambota reminded me of a blow fish, but it’s quite tasty

atemoia looks kind of like an artichoke to me (regional bias!) but it’s a sweet fruit

vendors around park’s perimeter

inside of subway station in Sao Paulo

outside of the Portuguese Language Museum

sculpture made from casts of animal fossils, all made from recycled materials

eerie silhouettes on the ceiling during the poetry reading in the Room of Words

This is one of the displays projected on the ceiling in the Room of Words. It was a quick moving show across the ceiling. The room is in the dark and the ceiling, walls, and floor are black. All surfaces are used for projection and/or backlighting.

video wall in the museum

couldn’t resist! I’m here for global studies, right?

Portuguese poetry backlit on the floor in the Room of Palavras (words) at the museum

beautiful display of light fixtures made from recycled glass, in the subway corridors. There was a sign that explained the process and gave the artist’s name.

Neymar is a wildly popular soccer star here. Just like in the U.S., that translates into advertising dollars (in the case of Brazil, reais) This ad is in the subway corridors in Sao Paulo

fruit stand at the mercado

Day 7 (continued)

I seem to have a lot of technical problems when my post gets long so I’m trying to address that by starting a new screen.

Our presentations to the graduate students at Unimep went well and there were several questions afterwards. During my discussion about notable foods from the New Orleans area, I was surprised that no one there had heard of cooking with a roux. Obviously that’s something I grew up with and assumed was part of everyone’s vocabulary. I explained what it was and why and how it’s made. People here are familiar with crab, shrimp, and oysters but not so much with crawfish. One of the teachers told me afterwards that she loves to cook and would love to learn more about New Orleans cooking. I invited her to come visit me in the states and assured her that my husband would be happy to show her some of his wonderful cooking. (It’s best to give credit where it’s due.)
We came back to the hotel for a few hours and then Cesar and Adriana picked us up and we went.out to eat. We ate at a place where you can choose ingredients and pasta and they will pan fry it while you wait. You can also sit at a table and servers continuously circulate with all different kinds of pizza. If you agree, they put a slice on your plate. There were many great combinations to sample.

Afterwards we were driving back and we saw a WalMart. The front of the parking lot was covered spaces and there was a juice bar in front of the building. Other than that, it looked like WalMart looks everywhere I suppose. I was again surprised by the cost of some things here. A can of Pringles is 8,38 reais.¬† Since the exchange rate was about two reais per one dollar, that’s¬†just over $4 a can. Wow, that’s pricey.

colorful display of items customarily purchased for the June parties

other than the tent coverings over the front parking places, it looks like our hometown

FF: when you shop here, it’s not customary to be given a bag. You load your purchases in the cart or stack them in your arms to go to the car. Adriana says if you know you’re going for many things, you bring bags or sacks from home. Considering the high price of things, maybe people don’t often buy many things at once? I guess the reality of the high prices and the limitations of what can reasonably be stacked in your arms can combine to reduce impulse buying. I also found it interesting yesterday that the grocery store we were in had a stack of car tires for sale on the end of one of the aisles. Produce and car tires??

tires at the end of the aisle at the local grocery

Well, we’re off to the city of Sao Paulo in the morning. I believe it’s the sixth largest city in the world and the largest in the southern hemisphere. It should be a memorable experience!

Day 7

This morning Cesar picked us up and we drove to the university where Adriana spends her Saturdays. We drove out of Americana, through a city named Santa Barbara, and into the adjacent city of Piracicaba. Along the way I noticed fields of sugar cane. I’ve seen enough of those in south Louisiana to identify them. We went onto the campus of Unimep, Methodist University of Piracicaba. The campus was really pretty with a lot of palm trees and colorful landscaping. There is a beautiful and long tile mosaic on a wall near the cafeteria. Melanie and I walked through an area around the cafeteria and window shopped at the variety of small shops there.

Intricate tile work is everywhere in Brazil.

Melanie and I on the Unimep campus.







I always find it humorous for some reason to see titles of books we know written in a language other than English. It’s that feeling you get when you see someone you know but they aren’t in the place you normally encounter them. It’s interesting for someone who has always stayed in her native country to see that stories like Harry Potter, The Three Musketeers, and Pippi Longstocking have life beyond the U. S. borders.

We met Adriana, some of her colleagues, and her teacher for lunch. In this restaurant you pick up a hard plastic numbered card and a plate. You go through a line with all types of foods and serve yourself. At the end of the line, your plate is weighed and the weight put in a computer with your number. (At this point of my visiting/eating adventure in Brazil, I couln’t help but feel a strong aversion to any type of scale.) Anyway, you sit at a table and enjoy your meal; only afterwards as you’re leaving do you hand over the card to a cashier who announces the damage and collects your money.

open air common area on campus

This pastry is called Mother-in-law’s eye. It’s a plum combined with condensed milk and other delightful ingredients. Quite tasty!

We then went to a classroom on campus where there were rows of computers. I put my jumpdrive into the teacher’s computer at the front and the image appeared on the monitors throughout the room. As I gave my presentation, they could see right in front of them what I could see on my monitor, including the movements of my cursor. I haven’t seen that technology before, and I really like it. I began my presentation to the 10 or 12 graduate students and adults there, and on about the 5th slide another group came in asking to sit in on the presentation. They very kindly asked if I minded, and of course I didn’t. Speaking to two dozen feels much the same as speaking to one dozen. I started over and worked through the information, including new information I added last night about curriculum, state requirements, and the condition of education in my state, my school district, and my school. My powerpoint includes pictures of my husband, my daughter, and my son and his family in the context of the culture of our region. I have Lindsey and Ellie at a parade, Donald and Drew on the street car on St. Charles, and Craig, Laura, and the babies on the boat in Lake Maurepas. It makes me happy to see their smiling faces while we’re so far apart, and my audiences have not objected. ūüôā

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