Monday, June 29, 2009


Another activity I did with the kids was coloring mandalas. I downloaded thirteen different mandalas, and had the kids color them with crayons or colored pencils (the waxier, the better). When they had finished coloring them, they had to wrinkle the paper with the mandala.
Afterwards the mandalas were covered with tempera paint, and let to dry. The idea was to have the paint get into the cracks that was done when the paper was wrinkled. This technique here is called "crackeling".
Once the paint was dry, the mandala is "washed" to remove the excess paint. We took the mandalas and the boys to the bathrooms (here the bathrooms are outside, with the sinks in plain view). The day was windy and the boy's mandalas were ruined. So I took the girls to the teacher's bathroom (with only one sink!) and had them wash the mandalas one by one. These came out great.
After letting them dry, they were cut along the line and pasted to colored posterboard.
The boys made some new ones, but didn't want to wash them.
Whew! Kinda long explanation. Hope I didn't bore you.
Anyway, here are the photos of the process.

Coloring a square mandala.

This one looked like a snake's skin.
(At least up close.)

After the wrinkling, tempera paint is applied.

We used different paint colors.

Here the mandalas are drying after washing. This one
has red paint.


...and green
(pretty obvious).

These two were not washed....

....but these were.

All lined up.
We think they came out pretty cool.

Kids also enjoyed this activity. I give the boys three cheers for being great sports, and coloring again after their first try was ruined.
Tomorrow another activity.
Hope I don't get you snoring with all this art attack, though if you're suffering insomnia, you have just found the cure.
Have a great beginning of week!

Friday, June 26, 2009


As I've stated before, we have finished with all the academic work at school, and the report cards have been given out, but because of the influenza bout, we still have two and a half weeks left of school.
So here we are (teachers), going crazy about what to do with the students. Fortunately, a physical education teacher, here at school, knows how to do clay modeling. So she stepped in to the rescue of a few hysterical teachers.
She brings all the material needed for a very low price, and explains a very simple but entertaining procedure for making clay figures. These figures do not have to be baked, and the whole thing from start to end took three days (yipee!).
The photos show both girls and boys making their figures.

The teacher uses some foamy templates for
one of the figures chosen by the girls.

After outlining the figure,
it was "cut" with toothpicks.

Using small pieces of clay for the crown.

Using the toothpick again, the rest of the "drawing" was made,
and a little crown was attached.
This is going to be a small "Virgen de Guadalupe".

The girls also decided to make a picture frame.
Here they are "kneading" the clay.

Attaching the borders to the frame.

The boys were going to make some cute bunny
piggy banks...

....but they started getting "creative", and designed some
crazy creatures.

After having completed the design,
the girls started to apply white glue to different parts.
What for, you may ask?

Well, for the GLITTER, of course.
Because, what 12 year old girl in her right mind
does not LOVE glitter?

Oh, I forgot, what 12 year old Girl or Boy in their
right mind doesn't love GLITTER?
(Yes, the boys liked it also.)

The pig still needed to have the eyes pasted on.

This is one of the "Virgen the Guadalupe"made
and decorated by the girls.

Here's another one.

One of the picture frames.
Nice and sparkly, don't you think?

The students really enjoyed this activity, and got to develop their creativity.
We have been making more stuff I will share with you tomorrow.
Do you have any ideas for fast, easy, and cheap crafts for 6th graders? If you do, let me know. I will be thankful forever.
Good night!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

¡Felíz Cumpleaños, Ian!

Happy Birthay, dear son!
Sunday was my "baby's" birthday. Twelve years old!!
Can't believe he's so big, and time has gone
by so fast.
How did we celebrate? We took the birthday boy for pizza,
then to the cinema to see Up.
In the evening, a delicious chocolate cake.

We are so proud of him. He has great grades at school,
and is always making us laugh!!

For breakfast, his dad made him his
num. 12 birthday pancakes.
Kind of crooked, but very good.

The chocolate Birthday cake.

We love you so much, dear son. God bless you!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Se fueron las Jacarandas, llegaron los Tabachines.

When spring started, Jacaranda trees stared to bloom like crazy with their purple flowers . Well, they're all gone now. In their place, Tabachines have made their appearance filling the space with bright red flowers. Many parts of town have these trees that are appropiate with the red hot weather we are living.
Although we do not have marked seasons here (cold winters, cool springs, etc.), we do have different trees and flowers that bloom at certain times of the year marking each period with a special color or form.
So here is the Tabachin...

These trees grow to a considerable height.

The streets below get covered with a beautiful red rug.

In Puerto Rico these trees are called Flamboyán. The
name comes from flame (fire).

And I end this post with the view from my school.
The vegetation is still gray and brown, but once the rain starts,
in less than two weeks it will turn into a luxuriant green.

We really need the rain. Everything is wilting, even the people. Any day now, the rain season will start with a boom (thunder), and then we will have lots rain and even flooding.
Yes, this is a country of extremes.
Have a good night.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Every year, the teachers of our school go on retreat (I work at a Catholic School). And we just had our annual retreat this weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). This year we went to a small town about one hour from where I live called Yuriria. Yururia has a lake, and the retreat center overlooked the lake. The retreat center, called Centro Espiritual Agustiniano, is really beautiful with a colonial architecture (al least that's the way it is called here because of the way the Spanish built here while Mexico was a colony of Spain).

I had a wonderful weekend, and want to share some photos with you.

On the road.

This is the chapel. It is not finished yet.

The wooden cross has a very expicit painting.
The Spanish made paintings like this when
Mexico was a colony.

Stone carving of San Agustín.

This was the room I shared with Lolis.

View of the rooms and the columns.

The stone fountain in a courtyard.

Colonial architecture used this blue color very often.
Here is a wooden carving of San Agustín in a niche.

This bush is called "Huele de Noche· (smells at night).

This is the small flower of the "Huele de Noche". During the day
no smell can be detected from it, but at night, the smell is intoxicating.
It is a sweet smell that I love, but many people don't like it.

The heat was terrible. Since this is not a hotel, it had no air conditioning.
Most of us slept with the doors of the rooms open.
So it is logical to have some of the gardens with different types of cacti.
This cactus is called "mounstro" here.

I have some small "mounstros" in my garden,
but I didn't know it flowered. I was really suprised to see these big flowers.

I hadn't seen cactus with yellow flowers either

There were dozens of hummingbirds around. Of course
it was very difficult to get a photo of one. But this one stayed still
long enough to ge a shot of him.
They were of different color. This one has a white front, but there
were some that had a beautiful turquoise color.

The retreat center is about 10 minutes from downtown Yuriria.
On our way back home, we took some photos of the church there.
They were taken from the car, so I don't know the name of
it nor when it was built.
We may go back to visit this town next Sunday to celebrate Father's Day.
I'll try to get more information then.

It looks really old!!

I read two novels that have to do with church construction during
the middle ages: The Pillars of Earth by Ken Follet and
La Cathedral del Mar by Ildefonso Falcones.
I was easy to visualize both novels by looking at this church.

Here most of the church can be

I liked this place very much. I hope we can come back to see more of Yuriria next week.
Have a great beggining of week!!!

*Ooops, I just noticed I didn't upload a photo of the lake! I will put it up tomorrow. Night, night.