The Creative Curriculum

You may see below, in older posts (I can’t believe I haven’t written anything in more than a year), that I enjoyed tremendously the book from Sir Ken Robinson “The Element” which then led me to his other two books.  Thanks to those books, I now deeply believe that creativity takes a major role in a person’s life and that teachers must take responsibility into fostering creativity in children but it has been extremely difficult, for me, to be creative enough in order to develop a small curriculum which would promote creation in students.

So here you are, the general scope of what can be implemented inside any classroom barely designed by me. In later posts I will explain more explicitly each step and how it will be implemented. I hope you may send feedback!

Phase 1: Make Students Think

I love Tim Burton’s work, it is just amazing, and what he has created reflects how incredible his mind produces astounding images that then their host turns into real magic. If you have watched any of Tim Burton’s movies you cannot question he is truly a creative mind. Some years ago he turned Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” into a great movie and he showed us that you may have your own vision and understanding of things.

There are two great things that this movie can teach teachers and students alike, and both of them are at the beginning of the movie. One of those is that all the best people are completely mad, bunkers and off their heads. What a great lifesaver. The second one is that you can think impossible things, and if they are six before breakfast then that is even better.

Can you imagine 20-ish kids running to your class eager to share their six unique ideas?

Phase 2: Motivation

I am an English teacher and for a person to learn a new language, which is not easily accessible outside the classroom, he must be motivated. I always make emphasis wherever I am as an English teacher that English class does not mean to embrace new knowledge but to change the knowledge in your mind to see the world in a different way. Therefore, learning a new language is a cognitive process and to accept a change inside of your mind takes a lot of motivation.

Most of you would agree that students taking decisions and making choices in their learning process is the best way to increase motivation levels but how would this be without having 20-ish different syllabus for each student’s personal interest? Or without increasing the teacher’s amount of work in designing and grading?

The best solution to these problems is quite simple: challenge your students instead of giving homework.

Phase 3: Creation into Practice

I hope students are already highly motivated and may brainstorm with ease at this phase because this will require so much from them in a short time span.

Through the correct guidance and leadership students must analyze their school, their class, their everyday little school moments and find the one which may be improved, the one that needs to be more fun, the one that is going to be… gamify.


This small project based “curriculum” will be put into practice this school year under my supervision in secondary school. This means teenagers will be quite busy and the teacher a just a bit more. As I already mentioned, each step will be covered in depth in following posts and if everything turns fine (fingers crossed) I will be posting reflection as each phase finishes.

Let me know what you think, have you done something similar? How did it go? Have you thought of the same?

GAME Epic Season of Gaming PreRoll – THE DROP from Finger Industries on Vimeo.



Hoy festejamos al indígena zapoteco a quien se le presentó la oportunidad de estudiar y estudió. Celebramos al pastor que con trabajo y dedicación se graduó como abogado y llegó a ser gobernador de su estado primero, y luego Presidente de la Suprema Corte de Justicia. Conmemoramos al mexicano que por casualidades del destino se hizo presidente de un pueblo marginado, explotado e ignorante.

Honramos al mexicano que tomó las decisiones más difíciles desde la independencia de México, y que hoy, creo yo, lo siguen siendo. Por esto es reconocido como el fundador del estado mexicano. Un héroe, que al fin y al cabo es humano con errores y virtudes. Pero México necesita de héroes; los mexicanos necesitamos saber que es posible un México prospero. Necesitamos reconocer el valor inalienable del espíritu humano. Necesitamos vanagloriar las acciones que hacen de nosotros, la nación mexicana, un ser capaz de inculcar los principios de un futuro brillante. No dejes que caudillos se apoderen de tus héroes, aferrate a aquellos personajes que admiras y siéntete orgulloso de ellos y de tu país. Porque México eres tú, y solo nosotros lo hacemos tan grande como queremos.





Reasons for Not Maturing 2

Have you ever realized how the word childish is so undermined? and, have you ever seen how it seems that in adulthood the word “childish” is treated as a means to undervalue adults and their actions alike?

Sometimes, I feel like I can see people waiting for the right moment in order to point out how childish any adult is behaving in a certain context. They are like childish-like-behavior patrol, and it seems like this kind of behavior is very offensive for these people. Playing on the ground, touching, creating, solving, getting your hands full of dirt, and laughing in the meantime are activities that must be avoided by all means when in among adults.

I completely agree that there are situations, ceremonies, rituals and positions where a specific type of behavior is expected from any person. And it is the best practice because this behavior is a social contract accepted by everyone within their culture, hence the Pope is expected to perform in a specific way, the president is expected to address with such correctness that no one would behold otherwise, brides and grooms are expected to develop their love for each other in rituals only people in love may understand and so on. A teacher is expected to perform and conduct their duties in ways to favor children’s learning. Besides, teachers also have the duty to protect their students and keep them out of danger and because teachers are adults, students expect all that and maybe more from them, even though nobody has ever told anything about this to a child. However, none of these examples have anything to do with the “fact” that an adult must not be childish at all times.

Have you ever been a teacher in a kindergarten? -If you are a parent, it works too. I’m not one though- But I am the coordinator of many things in the school I work, and part of my duties is to oversee my peers, so I have to go to kindergarten classrooms many times and it must be mentioned that I absolutely love it. This is the best place to watch childish actions happening; it always amazes me how a child explores any little thing that appeals to her or him and the awe phase children always experience with that new little thing is what I cherish the most. Once I read that in order to continue learning throughout life is to never stop being in awe; to be amazed by new knowledge is what will make that new information remain stored in our heads, just like a child.

Another childish action that I love is the lack of fear of being wrong, a child will continue on doing or undoing until he or she gets what he or she wants, or the child may speak out his/her mind trying to answer the teacher’s inquiries no matter what. As people get older, people start to think before speaking and that is perfect; I do not like people participating with arguments not worth sharing. But what people must not forget is their capacity to being wrong, and that being wrong is not wrong at all, and that no matter what, people have to explore every possibility in order to be right. As teacher, I sometimes need to teach children that being wrong is right an that it is only an opportunity to learn a little bit more about that fact and about ourselves.

Because a child likes to explore, a child needs to move around and because I am childish I like to move too… a lot. A different responsibility of mine is to give a “lecture” from time to time, so I have to hand the books/copies/booklets out to the rest of the staff and to settle a date and time for the feedback. I always try to make the meetings interesting, motivating and not boring, as a result I move the participants around, change teams, find out more about the others and small activities that would make them to be in awe. Unfortunately, this does not appeal to some and they feel threatened and maybe even disgusted by the idea of moving because they already are “mature” teachers.

I embed an animation that I enjoyed tremendously and the first time I watched it I could not stop laughing. It is an excellent reminder of not getting mature. Enjoy.


The Chase from Philippe Gamer on Vimeo.


A Book I Read: The Element

Just last week I finished reading the book “The Element” by Sir Ken Robinson and this is one of those books that you really need to write what you learned from it, the amount of new ideas you got, the concepts and perceptions that opened a different world and the sentiments that you felt while reading a wonderful text.


I first “met” Sir Ken Robinson when I watched his famous video from a TED conference “Schools Kill Creativity” -video below- and I remember I thought if it was possible that a single man was trying to change education paradigms which were around for centuries. As any other youngster I was trying to make my own path and in my field I was expecting to change what I didn’t feel comfortable with or didn’t like but I did not have any idea of how to do it. Now, I do.

I think it is fantastic to read about those great men and women who are trying to change little by little the way education is performed at schools. It is quite interesting to see how these people face problems that many of us would never be able to solve; how, no matter what, they fight with anyone in order to show that we can really change things to make them better. After what I have read I just want to change everything, I know this is impossible but I have found the path to reach it.

The end of the school year is four months away but today I am trying to move the pieces of the puzzle to do something new. Let us wait and see what comes out.

P.S. I am excted, are you?



Reasons for Not Maturing 1


It’s been two weeks since I got these thoughts about what the reasons might be for a person to not get mature, which is not the same as growing older. And so they have moved me into writing a post about it.

I’m 27 years old and I’m a teacher, an English teacher, and of course part of my job has always been to teach students to behave properly in certain situations. But to have tolerance towards other people’s ideas and respect to the people expressing them does not have to be the opposite to having fun and learning. I’m not getting married in any time soon and I’m not having children of my own in the near future. I also like to tell jokes with my friends, to make fun at ridiculous things, to laugh at my own disagrace and stupidities and certainly, to have a blast whenever I can. My Facebook page is full of irrational thoughts and jokes which some people may find extremely funny and others not at all, but they understand to whom this “special” page belongs to. All of these situations have made people, at least half of them, think of me as a childish inmature man. Maybe, it is because the society I live in is quite traditional and reserved -if you don’t know where I live, I live in a small city called Pachuca in Mexico.

Then one day wandering the streets of Twitter,I ran into this particular tweet which made me laugh and to rethink the way I carry on with my life, and I realized that even though my life is not as perfect as it could be it is certainly a good one and that I am not as wrong as several people might think. The tweet, in Spanish, was “Un adulto creativo es un niño que ha sobrevivido.” In English, “A creative adult is a child that has survived”. Beautiful, isn’t it?

I am not what you might call an artist, I don’t paint or draw, I don’t play an instrument and obviously I have never compose a piece of music. Although I have a blog, I write when I have the right inspiration to do so; despite all of this I absolutely consider myself a creative person. I like to invent jokes in different and so diverse moments, I try to make new activities for my classes, sometimes, I invent stories to explain something. And on my Facebook page I try to put funny thoughts that had occurred to me a few moments before. Finally, and for me the best of all, after I have finished reading a book about techniques or methods that might be helpful to my classes I immediately try to imagine ways to implement them.

Part of my obligation in the school is to plan events for Christmas, Spelling Bee, and this year for the first time ever, Saint Patrick’s Day. It is my responsability to search and print drawings that will be the decoration used for that day. In three different occasions I have had a discussion with a collegue also in charge of chosing the best theme. The first time the problem was that the elves -Santa’s little helpers- had pointy ears and therefore, they weren’t cute enough. The second time almost the same thing happened; we were chosing a TV family for Family Day and I had chosen the families of Rugrats -a Nickelodeon cartoon- but again, for my coworker they weren’t cute enough. And finally, just last week, we had a problem because she wanted something for the stage and I wanted something slightly different for the gate at the entrance, and my question was that if it was strictly mandatory to have absolutely the same figures in both places. The first time I won, the other two she did. For this paragraph I have no conclusion instead I do have a question: Why?… Can you answer my question?

Yesterday, I watched Tim Brown’s video about creativity and play and I loved a statement he said during his presentation and it was something like this: “A child asks what it is but he also asks what he can do with it”. And if the child is smart he will ask the question to himself and he will try various uses for that object. So the imagination of a child is endless and it will provide him opportunities to discover and to invent but it will come the day when an adult will teach the child the “correct” use and tell him to do so. This is reason number two to not become mature.

In following posts I will try to go deeper into what I think the word “mature” involves and why I think being childish is best. Meanwhile, I’ll keep looking for more reasons to stay as I am: immature.

This is the video I mentioned before, totally worth watching. Enjoy!




Attacking Tardiness

This week I asked the principal office permission to hand out some articles about teaching students to arrive on time, or even early, to appointments we have to attend to. Without hesitation the principal agreed and asked me to immediately invite my coworkers to apply some strategies found on such articles.

Unpunctuality among students is not one of my direct responsibilities, but I deeply thought I had to do something to decrease this unfortunate situation of some alumni. Fortunately, it is not a grave problem and the great majority of the students arrive on time. Unfortunately, the students who do have this problem tend to repeat it several times a week. Besides, today March 2nd the winter schedule is over and everybody has to come to school something before 8 a.m. Therefore, something had to be done; this week.

I had been searching for these type of articles since last December as well as translating them, and although one always has a vision of what is right, they were very enlightening and made me understand the principles and consequences of being late. I do hope some teachers may find them as good as I did.

Here you have the links to the articles used in the compendium (in English) :

  1. Forefront Families
  2. The Best Solutions fo the Latest Students
  3. How to Teach Punctuality to Children
  4. Lesson Plan on the Importance of Punctuality
  5. Punctuality Tips and Strategies

Below you can read what was delivered to the teachers. (In Spanish)

Promoviendo Puntualidad


Lo Más de 2010

Lo sé, este post tiene un mes y medio de retraso; pero como dice el dicho: mejor tarde que nunca. No lo pude hacer antes por todas las razones que ustedes puedan pensar, pero yo me quedo con el síndrome del escritor bloqueado.

Hace un año escribí una entrada parecida a esta la cual acabo de leer para inspirarme un poco, pensar sobre aquellas categorías pero ahora del 2010, si era necesario escribir una nueva o quitar otra. Deben de tener en mente que estas categorías y la entrada en general no necesariamente tienen que ver con mi ámbito profesional, sino también envuelve situaciones familiares o personal que hayan hecho un cambio en mi ser, pensar, sentir o idear.

De igual manera debes de tener en mente que estas categorías abarcan desde enero hasta diciembre del 2010 y que por lo tanto hay dos ciclos escolares en final de 2009 -2010 y el inicio del 2010 – 2011; ambos con alumnos diferentes y muy posiblemente con grados igualmente diferentes.

Sin más preámbulo, aquí están los momentos “más”:

1. Momento más feliz: cuando decidí que era tiempo de cerrar una puerta y una ventana se abrió. Me sentí feliz porque me di cuenta que era lo que yo quería, anhelaba y necesitaba en ese momento; simple y llanamente la vida que llevaba en ese entonces me hacía infeliz y se tenía que terminar de tajo. Desde que me inculcaron en un curso que en una vida profesional atraviesas por tres pasos, siempre he tratado de aplicarlos. El paso uno es conocer tu empresa y que ella te conozca a ti. El siguiente paso es que en tu área puedas ver si estás en acuerdo con las normas, reglas o puntos de vista; si estás en desacuerdo, ver si lo puedes cambiar o innovar. Y el último paso es entender si aquello es para ti, si lo aceptas como está o si lo puedes cambiar; o entender que es mejor irte. Yo decidí: Gracias, pero no gracias.

2. Momento más triste: aquellas personas que deje detrás, aquellas que me apoyaron incondicionalmente, me divertían, me hacían la vida más fácil día con día, se preocupaban por mí y lo más importante, me querían. Gracias por todo.

3. Momento de mayor satisfacción: ver todo lo que se hizo dentro del salón y de los grupos de secundaria. Debo admitir que hubo momentos muy difíciles (los adolescentes son algo especial) pero al final entendimos que aprendimos de ambas partes y se lo reconocimos. Fue la primera vez que aplique el blog como herramienta de publicación de trabajos, y fue la primera vez que mis alumnos se enorgullecieron por lo que sabían hacer con el inglés.

4. Momento de mayor orgullo: Los dos reconocimientos que mis alumnos de secundaria me dieron; me reconocían lo bueno y lo malo, pero por ello mismo, son los reconocimientos que más aprecio. Es cierto, dentro de la escuela es una actividad obligatoria pero no es obligatorio dárselos a todos los maestros, ni es obligatorio que te lo enmarquen.

5. Momento de mayor sorpresa: En agosto regresé a una gran escuela con grandes alumnos, la sorpresa fue ver que con aquellos no se había perdido la amistad, el cariño y familiaridad que ya habíamos construido durante dos años de clases juntos. Ellos me conocían muy bien, yo los conocía mejor, ¿cómo nos llevamos?, de maravilla.


Actulización en Proceso

Pues ha empezado un nuevo ciclo escolar, el del bicentenario: 2010-2011. Y es tiempo de actualizar el blog, ya hay nuevas páginas, nueva escuela, nuevos alumnos y ¡NUEVA forma de trabajo!

También ya actualice la sección “Acerca de Mi”, escribí las nuevas experiencias que se adquirieron en un año y modifiqué uno que otro detalle.

Ahora, ¿Sobre que escribiré?


Massive History Reaching People

Yesterday night, I among a lot others was able to be completely amazed by a great history show, the “200 Years of Being Proudly Mexicans“. The show was first presented a few months ago in Mexico City by the President Felipe Calderon (his Twitter account) and it is part of the celebrations which are taking place this year for the bicentennial.

It was quite fantastic to watch rivers of people flowing out after the first presentation ended and another river, even bigger, flowing in. Another impressive river was made out of cars as traffic was an unwanted guest. Nevertheless, You could see how families were rushing in and how grandparents, parents, teenagers and small children were all having excitement faces when passing by the check point. Once inside, everyone were respectfully and calmly trying to hold the best spot to watch and hear the biggest screen ever built for a public park; meanwhile classic Mexican songs were being played: mariachis, rancheras, huapangos and indigenous. One high tone sounded when the clock started the countdown and ten minutes seemed 200 years.

Another high tone for the second call… five minutes more.

Finally, the show started and people got quiet. Music and lights were dancing together as people sighed and clapped. 35 minutes of being proudly Mexican ended with one of the greatest songs ever composed for a country “Mexico Lindo y Querido” (Beautiful and Beloved Mexico) … and people began to sing and men started to make the mariachis singer’s yell. I’m sure that in this moment people had never felt so proud of being Mexican, and so had I. Century after century people could see how this amazing country was and is still being built.

Because an image is more than ten thousand words, here you can watch the complete show.


100 Years of History

Here, in Mexico, the bicentennial celebration of Independence is taking place in every town, big or small. Unfortunately, there have been difficult times in our country lately and some people are not as excited as one Mexican should be. Nevertheless, this post is to express how excited I am.

The title of the post is not a typo; one hundred and six years ago when Mexico was about to celebrate the first century of Independence the dictator Don Porfirio Díaz gave the order to every governor of every state to build a monument in each capital which would commemorate the first 100 years of liberty.

In Pachuca de Soto, Hidalgo, the city and state I live, the governor recovered a previous project of building a tower in the “Plaza de las Diligencias” or “Diligences’ Square”. It had that name because it was there where stagecoaches used to depart or arrive from or to Mexico City, the trip used to last 12 hours!

The construction cost was 300 000 gold pesos and it was funded with mining companies donations and government money. The tower was built with quarry blocks put on top of each other, they were brought from a nearby town called Tezoantla. Finally, the tower is crowned with a copper dome melted in Fundidora de Fierro y Acero in Monterrey, Mexico.

Below the dome there is the chime for the four clocks; the chime was brought from Austria and was made in the same factory of which The Big Ben’s chime was done, that’s why both machinery is equal. Under each clock there is one feminine statue representing an important event in Mexico’s history until that year: 1810 the Independence, 1857 the Constitution, 1859 the Reform Laws and 1910 the one hundred years of independence. Because of this, each marble statue is different.

The clock tower was inaugurated in September 15th, 1910 at 23:00 the bells rang the national anthem.

Today the tower has become the biggest symbol of the capital and its state and it is called Reloj Momumental or Monumental Clock Tower. The bells ring every 15 minutes and the national anthem can be heard at 6:00 and 18:00 every day. The square has also changed its name and now it is called Plaza Independencia, Independence Square.

I wanted to write a post about the monument because of the great celebration Mexico is doing, and the great birthday party the local municipality is preparing for the city’s symbol; one of which my family is taking part. The party started two years ago with a remodeling and now it continues with a documentary of those families who have lived in the city for more than 100 years and who want to share their history.

In the videos below pictures of the Clock Tower can be seen and the national anthem can be heard. Both videos were made after the remodeling. And the photographs were taken by me during the my mom’s filming part.