Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A world-renowned education personality visits, and high school students set out to impact their community

“My son told me that at The Abba’s Orchard School, they are taught to think beyond themselves.”  

That was from a conversation I had the other day with a parent in the school I work for.  She then continued: “That is what this country needs.”  I can’t help but agree wholeheartedly.

This past month was a whirlwind of activity, as a world-renowned education personality visits our Montessori school here in the Philippines, and high school students of said school set out to impact their community.  Here is a FANTASTIC video documentary that showcases both; and it is also a great showcase to what the Erdkinder adolescent program of the Abba’s Orchard School is all about.  It’s a long one (18 minutes), but you’re really, really gonna enjoy it.  A big thanks to MVP Digital Video for their masterful work.

Abba's Orchard Erdkinder from The Abba's Orchard School on Vimeo.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The student-run business of my daughter, IMAGINE CHICKENS

One of the coolest things about the school I work for, and where my children go to school, is that it subscribes to the Montessori method of teaching, which aims not only for academic excellence but also excellence in life (btw, many schools may have the “Montessori” name, but deviate greatly from the method; here’s a great post I made in the past that shows what the true method is).

In the adolescent program, for example, the students are immersed in the socio-economic world of the adult; and one of the main aspects of this is that they come up with student-run businesses, which is usually naturally-raised animals, as Maria Montessori envisioned that farm schools are the perfect school environments for the adolescents (more on this later).  The Abba’s Orchard La Granja farm campus, located near uptown Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, is the first Montessori farm campus in Asia.

These student run-businesses are led by grade 10 students (the oldest students in our school) and with them are grade 9 to 7 students.  I have posted about this when my eldest daughter, Lynn, was a grade 7 freshman (high schools here in the Philippines currently go from grade 7 to grade 10, but that will change with the current G10’s), but now this is the year where she gets to lead the student run business, along with her best friend Raine.  Their business: IMAGINE CHICKENS.  

The pair, along with three juniors (grade 9), two sophomores (grade 8), and three freshmen (grade 7) will raise three cycles of 35 heads of free-range chicken from chicks up to slaughter (which they will do themselves, yuck).  Other groups will raise naturally-raised pigs, free-range chicken eggs, and, new this year, fish through aquaponics.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The World's Toughest Job

Some of you may already have seen this, but this video is especially relevant today.  There is this group that created a fake job and posted it online and in newspapers.  Then they held real interviews…interviews for this ridiculously difficult job...the world's toughest job.

It is really worth watching, and so please do not read on until you watch the video in its entirety.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 10, 2015

My eldest daughter's first prom; and AOS does prom differently.

The school year has just ended here in the Philippines, and I hope you noticed my recent flurry of blogging activity lately, as I am currently consuming my left over leaves before things get really busy again over the summer as we prepare for the next school year.  There are a lot of huge changes, as we’re implementing the K-12 program (this is the last year we graduated our seniors at G10, or Grade 10.  The next graduating class will be in 2018).

No longer a baby.  Lynn in her school's 1920's themed CVT
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely dread the unavoidable fact that my kids are getting older, especially my daughters.  I had mixed feelings when my eldest daughter turned teen, and I felt the said mixed feelings again when she went to her first prom as a G9 junior, which is the topic of this blog entry.

Can’t my girls just stay little girls?  You can grow up later, you know, like when you turn 40!  But kidding aside, there is a good side to an event that usually gives nightmares to first-time fathers (but, interestingly, not so much to the stage-mother moms).

For starters, I actually work at the school she goes to, a great Montessori school in the Philippines with many campuses (the one I work in being the one in the Cagayan de Oro area).  So needless  to say, I’ve got my eye on her and everyone she’s around.

Secondly, the school doesn’t follow the west’s model of prom.  Good thing too, as I grew up in the States and, well, you know, things can get a little naughty during prom time.  Trust me, I know.  But The Abba’s Orchard School (AOS for short) keeps it at a very wholesome level (no “boy asking girl to prom,” no slow dances, among others), which this father here greatly appreciates.

In fact, we don’t have use the name, “prom.”  We call our event the CVT, or Celebration of Valediction and Turnover.  Other than our deviation from the western model in name, the unique community-like structure of our school allows the ceremony to be different as well.  Oh, and what a ceremony it was!  Thanks to the juniors for the job well done (they organized this).  Thanks also to Limketkai Luxe Hotel for being a great venue for our event.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Do you want your child to BREAK FREE from boredom? Sign them up here.

Are you a parent of small children aged 4-12?  Do you sometimes have a difficult time teaching them about God and spiritual principles?  If you are like a lot of people I know, you’d probably equate the spiritual activities of your childhood with boredom, even though you know you would benefit from these.  Yet now you have kids of your own, and you hope that they will not only travel a Godly path…you also hope that they will also, somehow, enjoy it.

Well, enter a week full of fun, games, songs, snacks, and…yes, God.  The church I go to strongly believes in the importance of investing in children, and so it has an awesome children’s program called NxtGen.  Other that the great Orange program that NxtGen delivers to the kids every Sunday, the said week full of fun, generally called a DVBS, happens in the summer and it is usually NxtGen’s biggest event of the year.  This year's DVBS is themed BREAKING FREE, and I am positive your child will have a great, great time in addition to learning valuable lessons and Biblical principles.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Pinoys, wanna help your country? Buy its products. Here's a teen that had to do so for a project.

I'm a high school Literature teacher by profession (I teach at this awesome Montessori school, here), and one of the books I have my students read is called 12 Little Things Filipino Youth Can Do To Help Our Country and a few chapters of the original book, both by Alex Lacson.

The original book.  My students do the youth version as well.
It's one of the "grow books" in the curriculum, meaning that they aren't there for literature's sake, but for personal growth.  Knowing that Filipinos are seriously lacking in love for country (until a foreigner insults us, that is), I feature Alex Lacson's work, and one of the "great work" projects is that they have to replace imported stuff that they use everyday with Filipino products for at least a month and then submit a paper afterwards.

This blog site has been up since 2011, but probably my favorite article is still the one I made that describes the BUY PINOY project (it's an oldie but very much a goodie, see it here).  This article goes back to that, but instead I am posting a submission by one of the Grade 9 students, and one of my eldest daughter's dearest friends, Maria.

The moment I saw how "blog friendly" her paper was, I immediately asked her permission to publish it.  She obliged, and here it is.  Her words are in green (the school's color) while I make some comments in black (I often make comments on my students' work).

Maria Gonzalez
Mr. Carlo
Buy Filipino Products Project

Being a Grade 9 student and finishing the book "12 little things our youth can do for our country" means we were required to do the BUY FILIPINO PRODUCTS project. This project meant that we'd choose at least 10 foreign products that we use daily and replace them with Filipino products for at least a month. Here's my list:

Friday, January 2, 2015

My New Year’s Resolution is just One Word

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year celebration.  Ours was simple, just visiting relatives and enjoying our new toys (like our new flat screen TV that we bought during the crazy deals of the post-Christmas sales) and new additions to our household (we have a new puppy we named Frodo).

Now, everyone usually makes New Year’s Resolutions during the Holiday Season…and usually these fail even before the season is over.  Maybe the timing isn’t right.  Seriously, how can you be resolute in losing weight and getting fitter when your refrigerator is stuffed with leftovers from the holiday festivities?  Maybe another reason why these resolutions do not work is because they’re so lengthy and convoluted.  I used to list down a page’s worth of goals and resolutions for the new year, and then I found it hard to remember much of what I wrote, much less put them into practice.

Enter the One Word Movement.

The premise behind the One Word Movement is as simple as it sounds: instead of coming up with lengthy resolutions, just focus on one word, one simple word that you want your year to represent and that would exemplify your life for 2015.  For the next 12 months, you saturate yourself with that word, using it as a guide so that your life will be more purposeful and focused.  Seems better than trying to memorize a page-full of do’s and don’ts, eh?

So in 2015, my New Year’s Resolution is just One Word.  Wanna know what it is?  I chose the word AMBASSADOR.

This is based on 2 Corinthians 5:20, which says: “We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

Below are the many reasons why I chose AMBASSADOR as my One Word:

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

One of my favorite requirements for my Literature class. You'll enjoy watching this.

Hello everyone.  Long time no see.  Work and schooling have been brutal in these “ber” months, but now that it’s Christmas break, I can sneak in a few articles before things become hectic again.  But since work was all encompassing, this blog entry will be about, well, work.  Don’t worry, that’s a good thing, because if you’re a parent who wants your child to learn confidence, responsibility, and excellence look no further than The Abba’s Orchard School, the awesome Montessori school where I teach.  

I am a Literature teacher of the Adolescent Program of the La Granja Bukidnon farm campus, located near the old Cagayan de Oro airport (there are other campuses around the country, which I will identify later).  The current Literature program entails that the students read 8-9 novels per school year.  Usually, at the end of these books, the students do what is called a Dramatis Personae, where the students choose a character that they like, make up a script, put together a costume, and do a one-man show in front of their peers (including schoolmates from other year levels).  This is one of my favorite requirements for my Literature class.  Read on and check out the videos, and I'm sure you'll see why.

Here’s one such dramatis personae, performed by a grade 9 student, Franklin Chaves.  He played the character Mr. Jones from the book, Animal Farm by George Orwell.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Kiddos bored every Sunday? Give them ORANGE!

Hello friends.  If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you’d know that we are a church going family.  If your family is, too, the read on because I will give a fantastic solution on a pretty rampant problem among church going families, especially in this country (the Philippines).

Are your kiddos bored silly when your family goes to church?  Especially here in the Philippines, where the majority of the people go to the type of churches where kids have no choice but to sit with their parents, this is an all too common scenario.  Needless to say, Sunday mornings for most kids are usually not very pleasant, not only because of the boredom, but because they get chastised by expressing their boredom (squirming, fidgeting, complaining, etc.).

The church I go to invests heavily in children, and for many years I have been a very big part of serving these young people Sunday in Sunday out.  Well, earlier today, said church launched quite possibly the best curriculum we’ve ever had, called ORANGE…and as luck would have it, the Kids Church team that would launch it for the 7-12 year olds will be the team that I used to lead, a team that includes my daughters and my mom (unfortunately, I can no longer be involved because I now do Graduate School in addition to full time teaching).

The kids had an absolute BLAST…while learning about God and Biblical principles.  My blog will be all about today’s events, and if you live in any of the major cities of the Philippines, your kids can enjoy ORANGE as well (you'll find out how, later).  Game?  Let’s go.

Before I share ORANGE with you, let me share with you a quick video of why this is sooooo important.  Did you know that there is a great battle for the hearts and minds of our children?  Please watch this video, made back in 2011 but relevant today more than ever.  It’s a part of a bigger video here, but I just have a snippet of it to prove a point.  It’s not that long, so please view it before you go on further.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hayden Kho's very heartfelt testimony. There's redemption even for the worst of us.

I’ve you’re an adult living in the Philippines who’s even remotely connected to national or even showbiz news, I’m sure you’ve heard of Dr. Hayden Kho and his exploits.  For those of you who don’t, let me give you a short description of why he became so famous.  He dabbled into showbiz and became a minor celebrity, but he’s most famous for a series of sex video scandals that took the nation, and the internet, by storm.   This incident earned him nationwide scorn and infamy, as you would imagine...he was even voted the most hated man in the Philippines.

Well, he gave a very, very, VERY heartfelt testimony last Sunday, and I would like to share that with you here.  I was mind-blown.

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