Room for Improvement

It is my fifth year of being an adviser and I’m back to my favorite level–grade 4! (I tried handling a grade 6 advisory class last year.) Yay!

I’m also glad that my passion for classroom designing is still intact.

While I was working (i.e. cutting, pasting, pasting, brain-squeezing) this afternoon in ¬†my classroom, I’ve realized that designing a classroom is something that I am actually good at. This is a very indispensable skill that I hope to share with others.

I hope that Art Education classes would develop this among pre-service teachers.I hope to influence more teachers in creating informative, educational, inviting, theme-based classrooms without spending much–the earth-friendly way ūüôā

Just the right combination of creativity, research and hard work, I must say.

Here’s a glimpse of my 5 advisory classrooms. Enjoy! Click the thumbnails ūüôā


Theme: Outdoor Land Sports


Theme: Nature-Conservation


Theme: Transportation


Theme: Birds and Eggs


Theme: None


Summer for Others

Volunteer activities are a staple of my summer. In the past five years, I have gone to places near and far, met people old and young and did mental and manual works in the name of service. It seems that aside from traveling and wandering (aimlessly), volunteering best defines my idea of a great summer escapade.

In high school, I was in utter disbelief when I was named one of the Service-Oriented Students. I can’t remember any significant contribution of Jerson for the welfare of the students. Yes, I was part of the school paper, but I don’t ¬†think my write-ups echo the voices of the¬†students. Yes, I was in the student council as the secretary, but I really didn’t understand why I was there, honestly. (Apologies to our adviser.)But, lo and behold, that undeserved recognition is a prophetic one.

That award was a hint that I’d be part of our organization’s outreach committee, that I’d tell stories in hospitals, schools and even along the Nagtahan Road. That recognition was a foreshadowing of the many volunteer jobs that I’d be taking.

There are really no accidents, as long as you ask God for explanations. Volunteering is a self-edification exercise. This is what God has shown us when He gave Jesus Christ to us, for us. Jesus is volunteerism personified.

Now, it’s one of my advocacy to lead people into different volunteer works. I encourage you to look for opportunities to be of service to others. It might be in your own church (ministry involvement) or in places where help is needed.

Here are some info that might help you get started with your volunteer career:


1. Facilitate workshops of your interest in ATD’s ¬†Festival of Learning. Aside from this, they hold street library activities in three urban poor areas in Manila. You may volunteer there any time you want.


2. Join this facebook group of pinoy volunteers: Kapit Kamay Kaibigan. I love the passion for service of these people. They are the hope of this nation. Bow. Most of their activities benefit our lolos and lolas, but are not limited to that.

3. Ask your friends if they know organizations who are looking for volunteers. Express your interest even if they haven’t asked you out. This works. My Museo Pambata Gift Giving volunteer work is a product of this strategy. They need volunteers every December. (Side story: I’ve met one staff from MP in our Mt. Balagbag Climb. So make friends!)


4. Google. Most established groups like Save Philippine Seas have sign-up forms in their site. Just fill out the form and wait for their next call for volunteers. I had the opportunity to be a marshal-turned-mural painter during their Q.Ave gig.


5. Start your own outreach activity. Grassroots efforts are the best. I know a group of alumni who gives a free two-month College Admission Test Review to students in our city. Pure love. And mind you, most of the instructors are former students of the review. That’s the volunteerism¬†virus!¬†

Another grassroots activity is sharing the things you have to others. I dream of doing another book giving activity soon.  In December 2011, books were given to a public school in Misamis Oriental (my hometown).



Friends, the possibilities are endless. You can give away pre-loved or brand new toys, celebrate your birthday in an orphanage (artista level), donate in an NGO,  assist in running events, etc.  Volunteerism is for everyone.  Age, socio-economic status, education, religious and political views should not hinder you to serve.

 Go and volunteer!

But a word of advice, guard your heart.

Side Notes


The encircled words are the unfamiliar ones. They have the option to look up for the meaning of the words after reading.

I have found out that writing side notes while reading lengthy texts ( and even shorter ones) helps in monitoring your understanding, or the lack of it, of the material.

I encourage (and require to a certain degree) my Grade 6 students to write

-comments about the characters
-personal thoughts related to the story
-summarizing words ( use of brackets)
-questions (
-revelations (e.g. I can’t understand this part.)

The good thing about it is their side notes could be in either Filipino or English.

Now, I’m seeing improvement in how they respond to the reading assignments I give. (The selections in our book are really loooong–excerpted from young adult novels.)

And mind you, they enjoy interacting with the story.

International Book Giving Day

International Book Giving Day

Looking for a fresh(er) way to look at and celebrate February 14? Try celebrating it with the thousand book fairies.

Be part of the International Book Giving Day.

According to its website, IBGD is a day dedicated to getting new, used and borrowed books in the hands of as many children as possible. It is a grass root initiative of people who seek to increase children’s access and enthusiasm for books.

You can participate in this activity by doing any of the following:

1. Give a Book to a Friend or Relative.
It doesn’t matter whether the it’s a new or a pre-loved one.

2. Leave a Book in a Waiting Room or Lobby.
Just make sure that you’ve labeled the book FREE. Add also snippets about the celebration.

3. Donate a Book.
It could be to a public school library or to any organization that promotes the love of reading among children.

Spread the news. Give books. Give love.

* The International Book Giving Day poster is by Indian children’s illustrator Priya Kuriyan.



Silence means yes to greener Earth. Free peaceful ride in this electric jitney during the Tour of the Fireflies 2012 volunteer activity. Bye mechanical noise and sound.

Thanks to Greenpeace friends for letting me hitch in this joyride!

It would be fantastic if students would also experience this ride. A great springboard for a discussion on renewable energy.

Pumping Up the New Year

Going back to school (and work) after an almost two-week vacation is an enormous challenge to some students. Rarely would you find a class with all the students present after the holiday break. The Holiday Syndrome.

So Teacher, what do you do on the first school day of the year to pump up those sleeping neurons?

The writing of New Year’s Resolutions is a staple in many classes–from kinder to grade 10. True story. (I guess that’s one reason why some students opt to miss the first school day of the year.)

Today, I almost did the same.

  • In my sixth grade class, my pupils listed down the good practices (last year) that they will continue doing this year.
  • In my third year class, my students wrote a letter to 2013. Personified version of 2013 actually. They made requests,¬†whispered¬†their wishes and bargained with him/her.
  • In my third grade class, my pupils wrote a ‘thank-you’ poem to God for all the blessings/gifts He blessed us in the previous year. I’ve provided the first and last line of the poem, so technically it’s just a list poem. Regular rhyme scheme was emphasized during the writing activity. This is where the real challenge begins.

So Teacher, how did your day go? Share your best practices and let’s begin the new year right.merry

Well, come.

Well, come.

If you are a teach-er,

a learn-er, a volunteer work-er,

a wander-er, a mountain-eer,

a children’s lit read-er, a book hunt-er

a run-ner, a walk-er, a tree-hugger

a photograph-er, a struggling write-r,

a listener, a lone-r, a tight sleep-er

a crowd please-r, a passenger

a breathe-r, a hope-r

a lover, a follow-er

a dolphin watch-er,

an onlook-er