José the Bear Travels to Latin America


Those of you who have been with us for a few months will
remember guestblogger Silvia Tolisano, technology integration facilitator at
San Jose Episcopal Day School (SJEDS) in Jacksonville, Florida. In a series of three
posts Silvia described her work using web 2.0 technologies, maps (both the
traditional sort and new generation tools), and a teddy bear named José to
bring the world—and 21st century learning—to her students.

Silvia’s been busy this fall exploring new sites and sharing her adventures with the
students at SJEDS and the rest of the World Wide Web. In the third of her
international expeditions, Silvia and fellow SJEDS educator Mrs. Pickering
journey to Costa Rica and Peru in Latin America.
They’ve even worked up a fun theme playing off of the popularity of the latest
Indiana Jones film: “Indiana José and the Quest for Pachamama.” José the teddy
bear is tasked with finding a crystal skull to unlock the “Book of Knowledge,”
as explained in this excerpt from Silvia’s
travel blog

“Indiana Jones gave Mrs. Pickering,
Mrs. Tolisano and me very clear instructions.

We absolutely HAVE to find Pachamama. Indiana Jones
said that Pachamama is the only one that can help save the rainforest and so
many endangered animals that live there. If we don’t find Pachamama, they will
disappear from earth FOREVER.

We can’t let that happen!!

problem is though, we don’t know who Pachamama is and where we can find her.

Indiana Jones told us that the the only way to find Pachamama is if we are
able to return a piece of quartz that has fallen out of some crystal skull. We
need to find it and return the quartz. It is  the ONLY way to open THE
Book of Knowledge that will reveal who and where Pachamama is…

Indiana Jones gave me, José the
travel bear, a flash drive that is guarding the quartz. I am keeping it safe in
my pouch. I can’t loose it. Mrs. Pickering, Mrs. Tolisano and I are on our way
to Costa Rica and Peru and we have promised Indiana Jones
that we would find a way to
save the precious animals and their habitat.”

Oh the drama! The adventure! The…rich learning opportunities!

I hope you’ll follow along with Silvia and the students at SJEDS as they
travel around Latin Americain search of
Pachamama. I can’t stress enough how wonderful the blog is as an example of how
to use technology to bring real-world learning to students.

Of course, geographic knowledge and skills are central to Silvia’s Latin America blogging curriculum. But read just a couple
posts and you’ll quickly discover an impressive breadth of interdisciplinary focus.
Here a few of my favorites from the Costa Rica leg of the trip covering
a range of topics:

1. Bon Voyage! Don’t miss videos and pictures from
the kickoff
event at SJEDS; these really provide context
and set the tone for the journey. I think you’ll find the students’ excitement contagious!

2. Stages
of the Butterfly
. Can you put the developmental stages of the butterfly in
the correct order? Watch the video for clues!(biology)

      3. Fruits
of Costa Rica
. Warning: Do not read this post if hungry; it will leave
your mouth watering.
I remember when I traveled to Costa Rica and was similarly awestruck
to see pineapples growing–
in bushes on the ground! (agriculture)

4. President’s
. Did you know that voting is mandatory
in Costa Rica?
Talk about civic participation. (civics/politics)

5. Miguel
Angel and Chepe
. Meet Miguel Angel, intrepid tour guide whose family regularly
hosts foreign exchange students. Can you calculate when the Arenal Volcano had
its last major eruption? [It’s still experiencing minor eruptions and lava
flows today—this was one of my favorite sites when I traveled to Costa Rica five
years ago!(foreign exchange/math)

6. Coffee, Café, Grano de Oro.
Mmmmm coffee. (science, agriculture,
global economics/fair trade)

7. Money! Learn about Costa Rican currency. (math/exchange rates)

8. Cloud
. I can tell you from my own travels that these regions are aptly–and
not merely fancifully–named. They truly are forests amidst the clouds! (animals, sustainable tourism, geographic

9. Crocodile
Dramatic video of a real crocodile encounter. ¡Ten cuidado José!

      10. Off to Perú.
Silvia has a layover in Quito before heading to Lima, Perú. (maps, geography)

I’ll feature highlights from Silvia and José’s trip to Peru next week on the blog. Stay

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