Showing posts with label The Teacher in Me. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Teacher in Me. Show all posts

Thursday, September 17, 2015

REVIEW: Geronimo Stilton Academy Pawbooks

On the 31st of July, Miss Joyce Bautista, Scholastic Philippines' Trade Manager, invited me to Geronimo Stilton Academy Pawbooks Trade Launch on August 22 at Powerbooks, Greenbelt 4, Makati City. I immediately said yes and asked if I could bring Kuya with me. 

When Miss Joyce said yes that I could bring Kuya to the launch, I immediately marked his calendar for him to see. He was in school then. I wanted to witness his reaction after taking a glance. He was surprised. It never failed to give him so much joy and excitement! Having the notion of being one of the first kids to see the newest Geronimo Stilton book series made him jump for joy!
 
Kuya's an avid reader of Geronimo Stilton Series, the fondness which he shares with his cousin, Kate. Whenever we go to any bookstore or book fair, he always asks me if he can check out Geronimo Stilton. He's also thinking of Kate during those times because Geronimo Stilton is always her request as "pasalubong" everytime we go for a visit to the province.

On the day of launch itself, the weather was not in favor of us. It was stormy that prompted us to cancel our attendance two hours before the start of the event. What made us cancel that late was we kept on hoping that the rain would stop. I had no choice but to do it despite of thinking that it was very unprofessional. Our home was far away from the venue, we would commute, and my primary concern was Kuya's safety. I really felt relieved when Miss Joyce sent a text message stating that she sincerely understood.

Kuya was very sad and disappointed. I was so sad too because a promise was broken. As a consolation, I assured him that once the books were out in the nearby National Bookstore, we would get copies for him and Kate. That premise still didn't work to take away his weariness. Imagine, it took him until the next day to accept the reality that we weren't able to make it.

Miss Joyce was very thoughtful. She informed me that she would send us copies of Geronimo Stilton Academy Pawbooks which I didn't tell Kuya right away. I wanted to surprise him again. I wanted to make amends because we were not able to attend the book launch.

When the parcel arrived, Papa and I had a connivance. I told him to let Kuya pick it up and let him open it for me. By the way, we observe privacy at home. We don't open other family member's mail or parcel unless we're authorized to do so.

Kuya was tired from school and he decided to open it in front of us after resting a bit. Then when he did, he was speechless! His eyes literally popped with so much delight! He couldn't contain his happiness. He thanked me but I said he should thank Miss Joyce for thinking of us.

Look what I got in the mail on August 27! I was #kiligtothebones when I received the complete set of the recently launched Geronimo Stilton Academy Pawbooks. The books came with badges and plastic folder pa (Kuya brought it to school due to too much excitement. LOL!) ! Thank you so much, Scholastic Philippines! I missed the book launched but still you sent me copies! Kuya and my niece, Kate, are big fans of Geronimo Stilton and they are going to enjoy answering them!









He hurriedly opened and answered one of the Pawbooks. He's being voracious reader of Geronimo Stilton made him  read and answer the activities with ease. 


Before I go further and tell you more about Kuya's learning experience, let me give you some facts about Geronimo Stilton.


Who is Geronimo Stilton?

According to Wikipedia, in the series, Geronimo Stilton, the title character is a talking mouse who lives in New Mouse City on Mouse Island. He is a best selling author that works as a journalist and editor for the fictional newspaper The Rodent's Gazette.

He has a younger sister named Thea Stilton, a cousin named Trap Stilton, and a favorite little nephew, nine-year-old Benjamin Stilton. Geronimo is a nervous, mild-mannered mouse who likes nothing better than to live a quiet life. But he keeps getting involved in far-away adventures with Thea, Trap, and Benjamin, and sometimes Aunt Sweetfur.

More about Geronimo Stilton and the complete list of books HERE.


What is his philosophy?

I've found some facts that I've adapted about Geronimo Stilton at www.geronimostilton.com that can make you understand his character more. You can read here that Geronimo Stilton teaches children not just to be cognitively smart but to become well-rounded persons with  good hearts as well.

*GERONIMO STILTON AND HIS MOTIVATIONS 

The weaknesses of Geronimo Stilton make him even more likeable: you feel sorry for him, you laugh with him and you celebrate with him at the end, because all of his defeats become successes.

With his actions and his ability to laugh at himself, Geronimo Stilton conveys ever present values: the importance of family, the capacity to overcome your fears, the acceptance of other peoples faults, the importance of education, consistency, approachability, open mindedness towards other cultures, curiosity about what you don't know, the knowledge that teamwork is more successful than acting as an individual, world peace, friendship, love. Further to that, solidarity, honesty, loyalty, sincerity, respect for the elderly, and those with lesser abilities.

Geronimo Stilton's stories are adventurous and full of surprises but are not exaggerated or use vulgarity. In his stories there are no weapons, violence, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, hunting, violation of laws or rude words, behaviour with a disregard for safety, racism, magic, astrology, or deviant behaviour.
 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND THE UNIVERSAL VALUES OF LIFE

Geronimo Stilton's behaviour is based on universal ethical values, like being approachable for others, the desire to do good, the commitment to grow and improve oneself. Additionally, Geronimo is brought to life with a healthy optimism: he is never discouraged in negative situations. At that moment, he may become depressed, even practically inconsolable. However, this state of mind never lasts long and is replaced by positive action. 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND EQUALITY

Geronimo Stilton lives in a multi-cultural society, based on the principles of respecting diversity. Furthermore, Geronimo is very aware of the theme of equality between males and females both in a social and working sense. 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND LIFE 

Sometimes Geronimo feels like as though he's the victim of the unfortunate circumstances he finds himself in. His job absorbs him completely and he feels suffocated by his responsibility to his co-workers, his friends and his family. But at the end of every adventure Geronimo has the feeling of being in complete harmony with himself and the world, because life is beautiful and he is happy to have so many friends and a family as special as his. 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND HAPPINESS 

Geronimo teaches that real happiness is not wanting what you don't have, but appreciating that which you do have. Attention should be focused on the positive aspects of existence and not on the what is missing. True gratification isn't tied to fleeting and occasional pleasures, but derives from putting your energy towards positive purposes. 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND PEACE

In his adventures, Geronimo Stilton always highlights the horrors of war, enhancing the importance of peace. His books want to be reassuring: you have to remember that the future awaiting us is beautiful. His motto is: 'Instead of being against war, support peace!' 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND COURAGE 

Geronimo teaches that confronting your fears is the simplest and most effective way of overcoming them. The best experiences require more effort but make you grow, stimulating you to develop new capabilities. Real courage is not being without fear, but confronting it whilst being aware of your limits and trying to overcome them. 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND FAMILY 

For Geronimo Stilton, family and loved ones are fundamental: they are the backbone of his whole life.
 
Family represents the caress on your heart that can brighten even the darkest of days.
Disagreements between relatives and friends that can't be resolved don't exist, nor do problems that can't be sorted out.
 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND FRIENDSHIP 

For Geronimo friendship is a fundamental value and he is ready to put all his fears aside and to face up to any difficulties in order to preserve it. Geronimo often takes the role of the 'chance hero', who confronts danger in the name of friendship. 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND WORK 

Geronimo loves his job and always says: 'Oh, how I love books! I like reading them, flicking through them, smelling them: I love the smell of fresh ink on freshly printed pages! How wonderful it is to be a publisher!'.
 
Geronimo works a lot and is always very busy. But he does it with joy, because working is his life and he feels privileged to be able to do a job that he likes so much.
 
Geronimo approaches his work in a deeply ethical way: he puts his heart into every story that he writes, to inspire courage, optimism and energy.
 
A book written from the heart is different from others: it's more beautiful, more real, better! 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND HIS ADVERSARIES 

Geronimo's attitude when facing his adversaries is never one of violent confrontation but always of competition with fair play, in the sense of civility and respect for others. He often considers the teasing from his enemies as an opportunity to practice his patience. 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND FANTASY 

The word Fantasy derives from the Greek work "phaino", meaning to show. It is the ability of the mind to invent stories or imaginary situations (without ties to reality, lived situations or concrete references).
 
It's fantasy that stimulates playing, to 'make believe', in the sense of creating big, exciting adventures with your playmates. It must not be an escape from the real world, but a sort of trip from which you return having grown. Creative people see the world through different eyes and can see what other people can't, they are able to solve problems looking at them from another point of view using creativity, initiative and optimism. 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND IMAGINATION

The term 'imagination' derives from the Latin words 'imaginatio , imaginari' (imagine). It is the capacity to visualize things or situations based on the stimulus of everyday life. For example, if you read a book or watch a film, you can imagine you are the protagonist of the book or film. Imagination is a quality that, if used in the right way, can also be very useful to surpass various difficulties and fears like exams, sporting competitions or public speaking... Imagining yourself in a positive situation helps you to become more trusting and optimistic and leads to the realization of dreams! 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND MAGIC 

Magic is just a negative illusion! A magic wand is not enough to change reality or to transform things that we don't want to accept. Since the dawn of time man has tried to find help in magic to resolve problems... but magic doesn't exist!

Magic amulets are useless, magic spells don't work...and witches, wizards, fairies, elves, gnomes, ogres and giants only exist in fairy tales and we can only accept them as protagonists of imaginative stories.
 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND NEGATIVE CHARACTERS 

In the world of fantasy, negative characters also exist, like ogres and witches. They are represented as evil and unkind characters, not to be imitated, because they are losers and unhappy. Good always triumphs over Evil, even if it's not immediately verifiable. 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND HAPPY ENDINGS 

Geronimo isn't a hero, he's not sporty nor muscular and is afraid of practically everything. But withstanding this, at the end he is always able to win, to obtain his goals and to resolve difficult situations. This is thanks to his humour, his capacity to see the positive side of everything and, above all, to the help of his friends.
 
If you identify yourself with him for his weaknesses, you feel reassured: if that blunderer Geronimo can do it... you will be able to beat your fears and overcome your difficulties!
In this sense you can say that happy endings aren't an illusion but a message of hope, because Geronimo teaches us to have faith in the future, not to be discouraged during difficult times and to build a better future.
 


There you go! Now that you know the basics about Geronimo Stilton, let's proceed to the Pawbooks.

Geronimo Stilton Academy Pawbooks are based on the best-selling children's book series. These books are activity based that motivates learners to read, develop their comprehension skills, enrich their vocabulary and knowledge in English language, and learn the basics of writing.

The following are the skill focus of the different Pawbooks and where the feature excerpts are coming from:

PAWBOOK 1

Skills Focus: predicting, inferring, sequencing, comparing and contrasting, recalling details and main ideas

Feature Excerpts from: 
#57 The Stinky Cheese Vacation
#46 The Haunted Castle
#43 I'm Not a Supermouse
#42 The Peculiar Pumpkin Thief


PAWBOOK 2

Skills Focus: Additional skills such as drawing conclusions and summarizing

Feature Excerpts from: 
#44 The Giant Diamond Robbery
#48 The Mystery in Venice
#51 The Enormous Pearl Heist
#55 The Golden Statue Plot


PAWBOOK 3

Skills Focus: Additional skills such as giving reasons, stating opinions and point of view

Feature Excepts from: 
#50 This Hotel is Haunted
#45 Save the White Whale
#56 Flight of the Red Bandit
#52 Mouse in Space          

Here are the strengths of the Pawbooks that Kuya and I have observed 

1     Excerpts and colorful texts and illustrations are developmentally appropriate. The fonts that are used conforms with the reading capacity of younger kids.

2     Presence of English parts of speech helps children in their command of the language.


3    Whilst-reading questions stimulate learners to interact with the text.


4    Comprehension questions develop literal, inferential, and higher order thinking skills.



5    Graphic activities develop learners' visual text comprehension.


Parents, I encourage you to teach your children the love of reading and learning and strengthen their values through Geronimo Stilton Academy Pawbook Series. Remember, it is research proven that children even adults learn when they are engaged and motivated. This series has been developed to build on children's interest in Geronimo Stilton to enhance their literary skills by doing a series of guided and structured exercises.

Even without a prior knowledge and experience in reading Geronimo Stilton story books, parents and children can catch up and understand what the character stands for due to the chosen excerpts written on the Pawbooks. However, I advise you, dear parents, to let your children read the story books prior to answering the Pawbook activities to make it more fun and engaging for them. I assure you that you and your children are going to love doing both. 

All Geronimo Stilton books are available at National Bookstore, Powerbooks, and other leading bookstores nationwide.



Sunday, July 26, 2015

Kids Get Burned Out Too!

School-aged kids nowadays are bombarded with too much school work but it's noticeable that they tend to be more resilient in dealing with the ups and downs of school life. Sometimes they become so adept with their daily routines that they forget to slow down, leading them to confusion, boredom, and sadness especially maybe, when they are being raised by authoritarian grade conscious parents.

In my opinion, being a grade conscious parent is okay as long as he/she is an authoritative parent. Authoritative parenting is needed when it comes to guiding our kids to succeed in school. In fact, according to Grace Shangkuan Koo, PhD on her book Raising Wise Dads, Moms, & Kids, "Authoritative parenting is high on responsiveness and demandingness... Unlike authoritarian parents (high on demandingness but low in responsiveness), authoritative parents combine warmth and support with enforcement of rules and use of sanctions when necessary. Yes, authoritative parents are controlling and demanding as they hold high expectations for mature behavior, yet at the same time they are warm and nurturant, listening patiently and sensitively to their children's point of view."

Papa and I consider ourselves as authoritative parents. When it comes to Kuya's schooling, my husband and I are very hands-on although we don't pressure him that much. We guide him using our "Three Basic Rules for his School Success" but I admit, there are times when he needs more pushing as the school year progresses. No matter how I want to avoid it, the pushing becomes intense when the major exams are approaching. Kuya tends to feel lax and says that he knows the lessons already and there's no need to review. He has this attitude of being too cool and that makes me so anxious and worried about what's going to happen next.

I trust my son but I have reasons to worry. (1) Kuya doesn't like to memorize. He's now a fifth grader and his lessons are harder and requires mastery of knowledge so he needs to remember all the important details from formula to rules, etc, etc. (2) He doesn't like to review his least favorite subjects (Parang sa akin yata siya nagmana, 'no? OMG! Blame it to my genes!).  He doesn't like Math and Filipino that much, subjects that entail too much memorization. (3) He is always tired after school. Aside from studying the whole day, he does his homework while waiting for his Papa. When he arrives at home, I check his homework and if I tell him to review some more, he says that he only wants to eat and rest.

I tell Papa about my sentiments regarding Kuya's behavior towards studying. He always says that I don't have to worry. Both of us should keep on believing that Kuya can do it on his own pace and time. In the first place, Kuya does his best when he's in school. How does Papa know? He's a teacher in the school where Kuya's attending.

He also says that Kuya's like him. Carbon copy daw siya ni Kuya.  

He would tell me that when he was still a kid, he also had the same attitude. But as he grew, maturity set in and all the teachings that Tatay and Nanay taught him sinked in that made him learn how to balance his life. Modesty aside, Papa was a consistent honor student from grade school to high school, an achiever in college, and an excellent teacher and student up to this point.

Papa always eases my worries. What we do to Kuya when he's not in the mood to study yet is we let him play his favorite toys or watch a short film. Then he resumes studying after. Kuya still complains about tons of things to do but by showing him that we trust him and believing that he can deliver make him feel assured that he is doing just fine. This also makes him realize that he is at the right age to become more responsible with his studies.

I feel guilty that sometimes I forget that kids get burned out too and that includes my son! I'm so worried about what's going to happen on his exams that I forget to understand he needs time to relax. The nagging and pushing that I do to Kuya make him more pressured and these lead him to  dislike studying or worse to have low self-esteem. I'm hurting my child unconsciously which is bad.

Papa says, "We are here to live and not to survive!" Yes, it's true. I may not see clearly right now the results of guiding Kuya but I believe that Kuya's going to be a good, talented, and successful person in the future.

Putting myself on his shoes is always a must for me to do. It's not degrading to go down to the level of my son. I was once a kid. I remember that I got burned out too when I was his age! And of course, adults get burned out, mga bata pa kaya? Who am I not to understand?

 
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