Explaining the Integractor

Today I am going to explain the integractor, the structure of integraction, piece by piece and form by form. Remember that integraction is a personal formation model with four processes: integration, action, realization and projection. The explication that I am going to give in this post can help you a lot to visualize integraction. So, let’s begin to explain the integractor!

The first form of the integractor is a triangle, like this one:

This triangle is formed by 14 pieces: seven orange sticks and seven wood connectors. The integractor has two of these triangles:

Each one of these triangles forms a dimension of the integration, the first of the four processes of integraction. Let’s talk about these triangles.

The first triangle forms the organic dimension of integration. Each orange stick of this triangle is a property of the organic dimension:

Hierarchical Property: every human body is ordered hierarchically.

Nutritive Property: every human body is capable of obtaining the energy that he or she needs to subsist.

Regulative Property: every human body is capable of maintaining his or her internal equilibrium towards the environmental changing circumstances.

Reproductive Property: every human body is capable or replicating himself or herself. Sexual reproduction requires a feminine gamete and a masculine gamete, and supposes a longer maturation time related to asexual reproduction.

Evolutive Property: every human body evolves maximizing his or her survival.

Progressive Property: every human body grows, develops and matures progressively through life time.

Sensitive Property: every human body reacts to changes and interacts with the stimulus that surrounds them.

Each wood connector is a Christian attribute of the organic dimension of ecclesial integraction. The Christian attributes of the organic dimension are the seven sacraments:

Baptism: this sacrament frees the human person from original sin, incorporates the human person to Christ and makes the human person a member of the living body of Christ, the Church. It is administered with natural water and chrism, and invoking the Holy Trinity. Anyone can be baptized once in his or her lifetime.

Penance: when a sin is committed the human person betrays God and the Church where he or she belongs. This sacrament forgives the committed sins with an absolution given by a priest, and reconciliates the sinner with God. Contrition and satisfaction are required. Anyone can receive the sacrament of penance as many times as needed during lifetime.

Eucharist: in this sacrament the human person becomes one with Christ, present in the Blessed Sacrament, when eating bread and drinking wine. Bread and wine are transubstantiated into the Holy Body and the Holy Blood of our Lord: Christ offers himself through a priest. The Eucharist is part of the Mass, that commemorates the Passion and Resurrection of our Lord. Anyone can receive the sacrament of Eucharist once daily or weekly if the person is in state of grace (without mortal sins).

Confirmation: this sacrament is administered by a bishop who lay on his hands and anoints with chrism the human person while saying a prayer. Anyone can be confirmed once in his or her lifetime.

Matrimony: this sacraments is administered by the spouses, with a priest as a witness. With this sacrament the spouses commit to help each other in their sanctification. Any woman and man couple can receive the sacrament of matrimony, but once given it can’t be repeated until the death of one of the spouses.

Holy Orders: this sacrament ordains priests. It is administered by a bishop by laying of his hands and following the ordination formula. The laity is also part of priesthood, but in a different manner, not through holy orders. Only men, authorized by the bishop after years of study and preparation, can receive the Holy Orders.

Extremeunction: this sacrament gives strength to the soul and the remission of sins, if necessary. It is administered by a priest that anoints the human person with blessed oil, accompanied by a prayer. This sacrament can be received by any baptized person that is in danger of death.

The second triangle forms the onthological dimension. Each orange stick of this triangle is a property of the onthological dimension:

Ens Property: every human entity is a being.

Res Property: every human entity is a thing.

Aliquid Property: every human entity is something.

Unum Property: every human entity is a unity.

Verum Property: every human entity is true.

Bonum Property: every human entity is good.

Pulchrum Property: every human entity is beautiful.

Each wood connector of this second triangle is a Christian attribute of the onthological dimension of ecclesial integraction. The Christian attributes of the onthological dimension are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit:

Wisdom: this gift helps the human person to keep God in the center of the personal formation, to embrace spiritual values over worldly values and to view everything from God’s perspective.

Understanding: this gift helps the human person to comprehend the meaning of God’s words, to be leaded to God’s truth and to embrace God’s mystery.

Counsel: this gift helps the human person to choose the best options to follow God’s will when choices are given, to recognize the difference between good and evil or right and wrong, and to avoid sin.

Fortitude: this gift helps the human person to be committed to what he or she knows that is right, to sustain the choice of pursuing God’s will even when threaten by injury or even death and to endure evil when choosing to do the right thing.

Knowledge: this gift helps the human person to contemplate God’s revelation, to be aware of God’s will, to grasp God’s creative project and how he or she should answer to God and to discern if he or she is living according to God’s plan.

Piety: this gift helps the human person to pray with true devotion, to honor to God’s creative will and to correspond His creative will with love.

Wonder: this gift helps the human person to embrace God with respect and amazement, to be conscious of His glory, majesty and kindness, to increase his or her desire to be closer to Him, to dread sin and to fear not honoring His creative plan.

These two triangles are united by seven pink sticks and fourteen wood caps:

These seven pink sticks and fourteen wood caps form the filial dimension of integration. Each pink stick is a principle of the filial dimension:

Humanization Principle: every human subject is  called to become more human.

Autonomy Principle: every human subject is called to determine by himself or herself.

Equality Principle: every human subject have the same rights and duties.

Complexity Principle: every human subject is called to act according to what is determined by his or her own discernment, departing from what they know from reality.

Totality Principle: every human subject is responsible of the totality of their personal being. 

Solidarity Principle: every human subject is called to contribute to the common good according to his or her possibilities.

Subsidiarity Principle: every human subject is called to develop all his or her talents to the best expression possible, assuming everything that he or she can by himself or herself.

Each wood cap is a Christian quality of the filial dimension of the ecclesial integraction. The wood cap of one extreme of each pink stick is a capital virtue and the other extreme of the same stick is a capital vice. The seven capital virtues are:

Chastity: the inclination to embrace purity and gives to the gift of sexuality the proper respect in thoughts, emotions and behaviors, in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the brothers and sisters. This virtue is counter to lust.

Moderation: the inclination to embrace self-control in thoughts, emotions and behaviors, in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the brothers and sisters. This virtue is counter to gluttony.

Generosity: the inclination to embrace giving and the appropriate concern of earthly possessions in thoughts, emotions and behaviors, in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the brothers and sisters. This virtue is counter to greed.

Diligence: the inclination to embrace persistence and the effectiveness in thoughts, emotions and behaviors, in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the brothers and sisters. This virtue is counter to sloth.

Forgiveness: the inclination to embrace patience and mercy in thoughts, emotions and behaviors, in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the brothers and sisters. This virtue is counter to wrath.

Kindness: the inclination to embrace brotherly love and compassionate concern for others in thoughts, emotions and behaviors, in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the brothers and sisters. This virtue is counter to envy.

Humility: the inclination to embrace modesty, appropriate appreciation of one’s self worth and selflessness in thoughts, emotions and behaviors, in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the brothers and sisters. This virtue is counter to pride.

The seven capital vices are:

Lust: the inclination to sin of uncontrollable passion and lack of respect for sexuality in thoughts, emotions and behaviors, in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the brothers and sisters. This vice is counter to chastity.

Gluttony: the inclination to sin of over indulging in thoughts, emotions and behaviors, in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the brothers and sisters. This vice is counter to temperance.

Greed: the inclination to sin of avarice or excessive desires of material possessions in thoughts, emotions and behaviors, in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the brothers and sisters. This vice is counter to generosity.

Sloth: the inclination to sin of laziness or lack of using talents diligently in thoughts, emotions and behaviors, in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the brothers and sisters. This vice is counter to diligence.

Wrath: the inclination to sin of anger, hate and conflict-seeking attitudes in thoughts, emotions and behaviors, in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the brothers and sisters. This vice is counter to forgiveness.

Envy: the inclination to sin of sorrow over the goods of another person in thoughts, emotions and behaviors, in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the brothers and sisters. This vice is counter to kindness.

Pride: the inclination to sin of inappropriate appreciation of one’s self worth in thoughts, emotions and behaviors, in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the brothers and sisters. This vice is counter to humility.

When the two triangles are united with the seven pink sticks and the fourteen wood caps, they form a tridimensional triangle:

Each one of the three dimensions forms a Christian aptitude of the integration of the ecclesial integraction. The Christian aptitude of the organic dimension is charity. The Christian aptitude of the ontological dimension is faith. The Christian aptitude of the filial dimension is hope. The unity of all the properties, principles, attributes, qualities and dimensions forms the formative task of integration: helping to be.

The integractor has three crosses:

Each cross has one wood center, four green sticks and four wood connectors.

Each wood center is a factor of the action:

Thoughts: developing your ideas.

Emotions: developing your sentiments.

Abilities: developing your skills.

Each green stick is an expression of the action:

Intention: developing the motivation of action.

Disposition: developing the attitude of action.

Signification: developing the meaning of action.

Volition: developing the determination of action.

Each wood connector is a moral standard of the action:

Prudence: developing the faculty to judge actions appropriately, according to truth.

Temperance: developing the faculty to temper the action appropriately, controlling the appetite.

Courage: developing the faculty to confront actions appropriately, without fear.

Justice: developing the faculty to undertake actions appropriately, fairly.

The integractor has twelve springs:

Ideally, six of these springs would be of one color and the other six would be of another color, but today they are all the same color (the store where I bought the wire did not had the same kind of wire in two different colors, that’s why I used wire of only one color).

Six of these springs are the influences of integraction. The human integraction has six influences and the ecclesial integraction has six influences. The influence of the human organic dimension is genetics. The influence of the human ontological dimension is knowledge. The influence of human filial dimension is laws. The influence of human action is role models. The influence of human realization is the priority of needs. The influence of human projection is goals. The influence of ecclesial organic dimension is the Revelation. The influence of ecclesial ontological dimension is the Magisterium. The influence of ecclesial filial dimension is Canon Law. The influence of ecclesial action is prayer. The influence of ecclesial realization is mission. The influence of ecclesial projection is personal consecration.

The six other springs are the manifestations of integraction. The human integraction has six manifestatioms and the ecclesial integraction has six manifestations. The manifestation of the human organic dimension is health. The manifestation of human ontological dimension is health. The manifestation of human filial dimension is politics. The manifestation of human action is behavior. The manifestation of human realization is economy (management of available resources). The manifestation of human projection is obration (work in formation). The manifestation of ecclesial organic dimension is the resurrection. The manifestation of ecclesial ontological dimension is adoration. The manifestation of filial ecclesial dimension is living the Mandatum Novum (the Commandment of Love). The manifestation of ecclesial action is liturgy. The manifestation of ecclesial realization is apostolate. The manifestation of ecclesial projection is communion of the saints.

The unity of each of the three crosses with the tridimensional triangle forms the formative task of the action, helping to do:

Please notice that there are two springs in each side of the cross: an influence and a manifestation. It can be hard to notice because the two springs are of the same color.

Each cross of the integractor can move by rotation:

The movement of each cross is a cause of the realization:

Creating Communion: generating gifts through sharing who we are.

Creating Family: generating bonds through engaging ourselves.

Creating Community: generating values through inspiring others.

Please notice that the direction of the rotation can be neither to the left or to the right. Each direction is an emanation of realization:

Actuality: grow as who we are.

Potentiality: grow as who we are meant to be.

The unity of the movements of the three crosses forms the formative task of realization: helping to grow.

Now, let’s imagine that the crosses, that have four extremities, radiate light when they move in coherence. The light that is radiated by each extremity of each cross forms a key of the projection:

Vital Identity: cultivate dreams that project love.

Vital Vocation: cultivate freedom that projects service.

Vital Communication: cultivate self-giving that projects life.

Vital Perfection: cultivate plenitude that projects joy.

The light can be radiated horizontally, vertically and circularly. Each way the light is radiated, horizontally, vertically or circularly, forms an emission of projection. The emissions of human projection are:

-Primacy of the Good: esthetic criteria, arts.

Primacy of the Right: ethical criteria, religion.

Primacy of the True: logical criteria, science.

The emissions of ecclesial projection are:

-Primacy of the Person: the person is sacred because he is image and likeness of God. Personcentrism, new humanization, sacralization or the person.

-Primacy of Christ: the person is ecclesialized because he follows Christ. Christcentrism, new ecclesialization, Christianization of the person.

Primacy of Love: the person is sacramentalized because he becomes a living sign of God’s Love. Lovecentrism, new evangelization, sacramentalization of the person.

The unity of all this lights forms the formative task of projection: helping to radiate.

The complete integractor looks like this:

So, this is an integractor, the structure of integraction. As you can see now, the whole integraction can be explained with the integractor. The difference between explaining integraction with the integractor and without the integractor is that if you use the integractor it is impossible to separate ecclesial integraction from human integration: both are merged. If you explain integraction without the integractor, you can explain the Christian elements of integration separated from the other elements.

When you explain integraction with the integractor it is easier to explain why integration is formed by four processes that happen at the same time, not by sequential stages or phases. That’s why integraction is a model of personal formation and not a model of human development: it intends to explain how the person becomes who he is and who is called to be; it intends to explain the personal formation. Integraction doesn’t intend to explain the stages of physical growth of human development (although that is taken in count in the organic dimension), or the psychological phases of human development (although that is taken in count in the action). You will be very disappointed if that is what you expected.

I hope this post has helped you to visualize integraction as model of personal formation and the integractor as its structure. In the near future I will write another post about integractive education.

Let’s keep growing!

The Origins of the Integractor

We are in the spring break, so I will write about something that I wouldn’t have the time to write about during school time, as I usually do during Sunday’s posts. Today I will write about the integractor, the structure of integration that is made with Tinker Toys. How the integractor was conceived? It has a story.

For those who need an image of an integractor, here is one:

How the idea of designing and building an integractor began? In the moment that I conceived this Tinker Toy structure I was studying in two faculties: in an ecclesiastical faculty of philosophy and in a graduate faculty of philosophy. In the ecclesiastical faculty of philosophy the focus was Saint Thomas Aquinas. In the graduate faculty of philosophy the focus was Charles S. Peirce. I wanted to integrate, somehow, the thoughts of both philosophers in a single visual structure. Those who know these two philosophers know that thomist thoughts and pragmatic thoughts can’t be easily merged, besides their curious tendency of using trychotomies (as a matter of fact, many philosophers use trychotomies, Aquinas and Peirce are not the only ones).

I integrated thoughts of both philosophers by creating a Tinker Toy robot called “Charlie.” Charlie moved with a control remote, it was not a completely independent machine. He had two kinds of movements: the external movements and the internal movements. The internal movements were independent from the remote control, but the external movements depended on the remote control. That was my way of explaining the two kinds of movements of human beings: the “inside” movements and the “physical” movements. The movement I was focusing on for my graduate thesis, that was about creating a philosophy of education based on the philosophy of Peirce, was the “inside” movements. However, action by its own is worthless. It needs a three-dimensional structure to sustain it. Later on I would observe and discover that action can’t be and end by itself neither; humans do no act with the aim of solely acting, human actions, besides an integration, also have a realization and a projection.

How did Charlie united thoughts of Charles S. Peirce and Saint Thomas Aquinas? The tridimensional external structure of Charlie (the triangles) was inspired by the trascendentals of Saint Thomas Aquinas, that later evolved and become the seven properties of every being (ens, res, etc.). I later integrated to those first seven properties the seven properties of every living being, that I learned in a graduate neuroscience class where we studied a real brain. These properties did not caught my attention in the class, where I was focused on studying the human brain. It was later on that this information made “click” on me while thinking the integraction, that initially had only three processes (integration, action and realization), not four.

The thought of Charles S. Peirce was integrated in the three moving crosses inside Charlie. Peirce talks about firstness, secondness and thirdness. That’s why I built three crosses inside Charlie’s tridimensional body: one for firstness (essentially monadic), one for secondness (essentially dyadic) and one for thirdness (essentially monadic). They were not meant to be moved at the same time, that came later on, with the idea of unity and coherence.

I did not used Charlie for my graduate thesis project very long. Someone told me that students do not come to philosophy graduate school to play with toys, I got discouraged and never brought it to the graduate faculty of philosophy. Sadly, I had to destroy Charlie myself because I couldn’t move back to Puerto Rico with it, I didn’t had enough space. I trashed all those materials prior traveling so they didn’t become excess weight in my baggage.

Later, when I chose to design a personal formation model, I rebuilt again what I destroyed with new materials, but I did not rebuilt it as a robot (I did not had the materials for doing that), but simply as a Tinker Toy structure. As the time passed by, the search for meaning of the Tinker Toy’s structure became more contemplative. That means that I began to pray how to build a personal formation model inspired in the Trinity and in the commandment of Love. In other words: I used the same Tinker Toy structure that I used for building Charlie, but now for building a new personal formation model. That way the integractor was conceived: as a structure for a new personal formation model. The model came after contemplating the integractor in prayer and in ordinary life, applying both reason and faith while observing human nature to define better all the processes.

By the way, the seven principles of humanization were added to the properties of the integractor later on, in a social ethics class. That completed the three dimensions of human personal formation. These three dimensions were the first elements of integraction that were concreted.

At the beginning, I couldn’t study integraction without using the integractor. Now I can explain integraction without using the integractor, but by writing only. For explaining it orally I still need to play a little bit with the integractor in order to remember all the terms that I know (I don’t know everything by memory yet). When I brought the integractor to the schools kids loved playing with it! Of course, I didn’t explained to them what it was for me, I just let them use it as a toy. Moving the three crosses at the same time requires an excellent two-hands coordination!

How integraction was inspired by the Holy Trinity? I think I have never explained it before. I have explained how integraction is inspired in the Commandment of Love, but not how it is inspired by the Holy Trinity. It would seem like the three crosses are inspired by the Trinity, but as I explained before, that was inspired by Peirce. The Trinitarian inspiration is in the processes’ conception, not in the integractor’s conception. Integration is inspired in the Father’s role. Action is inspired in the Son’s role. Realization is inspired in the Holy Spirit’s role. Projection is inspired in the Trinity’s role, it integrates the three roles. I know that creating a personal formation model that is faith-inspired can be conflictive to some, but integraction can also be founded with theories of the three integractive faculties: the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Education. I have studied in two of those faculties academically, in Education and in Humanities, and has studied classes of the other faculty, Social Sciences, although not as many as in the other two faculties. I had thought about taking a psychological theories of personality course many times, but the fact that I am a twice-exceptional student has refrained me from doing so. Those courses tend to be evaluated mostly by memory-based assessment, and I usually have problems with passing a class whose assessment relies more than 30% on memorization. There is no reasonable accommodation that substitutes the memory-based assessment, I must adapt to whichever assessment the professors choose.

Another question. Why I built a robot for studying something like philosophy? This is also related to being a twice- exceptional student. I did it because I am a visual learner. Visualizing, somehow, the ideas of these two philosophers helped me to integrate information about their thought. “Building ideas” also helps me to keep inquiring. “Never block the way to inquiry,” Peirce says. At the very end, the integractor did retained something from Peirce: the criteria of the emissions (primacy of the good, primacy of the right and primacy of the true) is inspired in the three Peircean normatives (the good, the right and the true).

This is all I have to say about the origins of the integractor. In the next post, I will explain the parts of the integractor as the structure of integraction.

Let’s keep growing!

Inquiry Time

Well, today I gave to my cooperator teacher the lesson plans for Monday, April 2, and Tuesday, April 3 (the school is closed the whole next week). I made a change in the lesson plan’s structure: I added an “integractive context” in the teacher reflection section. In the “integractive context” I explain how I apply integraction to my teaching. In reality all teachers have a “context”: all lesson plans have a philosophical “frame.” The difference is that I am assuming the context of my lesson plans consciously. I justified the change explaining integraction as a model of personal formation. I even brought an integractor (a structure made with toys that is like the abacus of integraction) to the school! Today was the first time ever that I explained integraction verbally to someone, ant the integractor helped me a lot to verbalize the ideas related to integraction as system. Until now I was simply reflecting how I was applying integraction in the classroom in separate papers, but it is truly a paper mess, so I united that reflection to the lesson plan. I chose to include it in the teacher reflection section because the integractive context is something very personal. I do not intent to change the “official” lesson plan, but enrich it with my context, with the how I embrace the teaching process personally. Here is a picture of me in the classroom with the integractor:


I prepared a diagnostic test of the next theme for my third grade students. I am giving it today. This test is for an effect of instruction (measuring the student’s knowledge before and after giving a lesson) that I am required to do as part of my practicum. In general, they did not remembered what superlatives adjectives were. Here is a picture of that test:

Superlatives Diagnostic Test

I also prepared a poster about The Butterfly Circus for the classroom. I wanted to post it today in the wall because today the parents come to get the student’s grades. Here is a pic of the poster I made:


I finished today the Comparative Adjectives Power Point presentation I began a day ago. I needed a computer for giving that presentation because mine does not have hdmi and I still do not have the thunderbolt hdmi adapter (it is on its way from Amazon, but Amazon takes a whole week and a half just to process the order, not including the shipping time), so I learned how to borrow a computer from the library. Last time a fellow student teacher borrowed me hers, but I did not wanted to interrupt her again.

While giving my class today I realized that I need to learn how to make more inquiry questions during teaching time. My cooperator teacher has an amazing ability to transform the class into an inquiry time.

Let’s keep growing!

Comparative Adjectives

My students still want to talk about The Butterfly Circus, so I prepared for them a daily lesson plan with examples of The Butterfly Circus and their learning environment. The daily lesson plan is about comparative adjectives. This is the lesson plan I prepared to them: Comparative Adjectives

The most important sentence of The Butterfly Circus, “The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph,” has two comparative adjectives, so it is perfect to discuss this lesson plan. I also prepared a Power Point presentation for them: Comparative Adjectives

I also created a sheet of their beginning class routine. Here is that sheet:

Beginning Routine


Besides preparing and correcting this lesson plan, preparing and correcting the Power Point presentation and giving the class about comparative adjectives using the beginning class routine, today I organized some papers of the teacher binder and the lesson plan binder, and tabulated the student’s interest inventories and homework. I prepared a sheet for having evidence of their activities, classwork and homework’s hand in date, so I can know who handed in his work and when, and who did not. This is the sheet: Classwork and Activities

Of course, the original sheet has my students’ names written on it, but I will not share a document with my students’ names on a public blog. I shared a blank sheet instead. I did the table with space for two different hand in dates because in case there is a student absent I can have another day to receive his work.

Finally, today I also observed the first grade ESL class. They had a fashion show today. The teachers created a paper runway, each student dressed with their favorite outfit and each one described the outfit of a classmate. They are learning everything about clothing. It was really fun. Here is a picture of the beginning of the fashion show:


I confessed a very deep secret to my third grade students today: I hate tests, but they are part of assessment, so we must face them together and we are going to learn how to face them together.

I will continue today’s Power Point presentation on Friday.

Let’s keep growing!

More About “The Butterfly Circus”

Yesterday’s class movie, The Butterfly Circus, had a huge impact among the students, so the classroom plans changed and I am going to continue teaching today about the movie and about integrating diversity and being diverse. I prepared this handout to give to the students today:

The Butterfly Circus Drawing

The questions I prepared for today’s class were: What do you think about The Butterfly Circus? What did you not understood? What is being diverse? (Including people with diverse abilities.) How the Butterfly Circus is diverse? (By allowing Will to act in the circus according to what he can do, not according to what he cannot do.) How is our school diverse? (By allowing everyone to learn according to what they can do, including the teachers.) What was your favorite part of the movie? My third grade students love to draw, so they loved the handout.

My cooperator teacher, along with other ESL teacher of the school, is going to make a research for next year’s TESOL convention. He kindly invited the student teachers to participate, if they want to, and I want to. In order to participate in the research, I need to be certified by CIPSHI (“Comité institucional para la Protección de los Seres Humanos en la Investigación”). I did not understand the instructions to get myself certified by them, so I am requesting a personal meeting with someone of CIPSHI to know what I must do to be certified. My cooperator teacher is going to research the perceptions of English use within the school’s students. This would be my first formal research experience! I had a hard time looking for the CIPSHI contact information, but I finally found a telephone and some emails. No one answered the phone, so I emailed them. I am waiting their response.

After my third grade ESL class I had a meeting with the special education teacher to talk about a very important thing that is related with integrating diversity: we talked about the reasonable accommodations that I need to take in count when planning and assessing my third grade ESL group. This is a learning community meeting. Because learning community meetings are a required part of my teaching practicum, I prepared a “learning community meeting sheet” to fill out in each meeting. This is the sheet I prepared:


A student gave me a paper flower and another student gave me a hug.

Let’s keep growing!

My First Class Day

Today I observed the fourth grade class. They are giving oral presentation about the Universe, made with Power Point. Today I also began to create my physical teaching binder. It has several documents: the self-evaluation, the practice hours evidence, the effect of instruction, the schedules of community relations meetings and action researches. I have another physical binder only for the lesson plans and corrected handouts. I have already created a digital binder with my philosophy of education, my teaching journal, my daily activities report, among other things. This is one of the hardest parts of being a teacher for me: keeping up with all the required administrative documents. I designed an archive system from the very beginning.

I created a very particular interest inventory titled “My style” to know the style of my students’ personal formation. I will be giving it to them today as homework. It is a little bit long for a third grade, that’s why I chose to give it as a homework. Here are the images of my interest inventory:

My style interest inventory

My style interest inventory 2.jpgThose images are, of course, of the interest inventory that has been already corrected by my cooperator teacher. Here are the pics of first draft with all the corrections:



Please notice that I only wrote 6 questions, of 28, correctly! Let’s see it the positive way: it had so many mistakes that it was obvious its content was not copy-pasted from internet. I sincerely apologized to my cooperator teacher: I did so many mistakes in that interest inventory, especially considering that I am becoming an English teacher! He said that everything was all right: I am here to learn, and mistakes are part of the process of learning. He also corrected my first lesson plan and the “My abilities” handout. Those did not have so many mistakes as the interest inventory, thanks God.

I had been honored by my cooperator teacher because he told me that he had never had a student who begins her classes in the way I am doing it, admitting that I need help to achieve the best way I can and letting the students know of both my abilities and my limits. He truly believes that embracing diversity is a great way to begin to teach.

Finally, today I gave my very first class: I taught the The Butterfly Circus lesson plan I made about integrating diversity. My students were attentive and asked many question. They needed to understand why Will does not have arms and legs, among other questions. My biggest flaw as teacher was not ending in time. I need to learn the students’ names too!

Today was a great day. Let’s keep growing!

My Graduate School Admission Essay

I plan to finish my studies leading to my certification as elementary ESL teacher at June 2018. After that, the plan is to get a job during the days and to study a master’s degree during the nights. I am eager to begin working, I do not see myself studying full time more time beyond the necessary. I am currently requesting admission to the graduate program of the Faculty of Education at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus. I am interested in studying a master in Differentiated Education. I think it is a good combination with the ESL certification and with my interest in personal-formation based learning. I want to study at UPRRP because they have a very good institutional support system for the reasonable accommodations.

In order to request admission to that program they require a few things: completing the admission’s form with two recommendation letters, the EXADEP or the GRE (the graduate admissions test), a bachelor’s degree, a minimum of 3.00 undergraduate GPA (that is proved by sending two transcripts) and an admission’s essay.

I began the admission’s process with the two recommendation letters. I requested a recommendation letter to my pre-practicum teacher and another one to my practicum supervisor professor in December, so that part was easy to complete.

What about doing the EXAPEP or the GRE? I could do the GRE in English but I chose to do the EXADEP in Spanish for the simply reason that it was cheaper than the GRE and I needed no reasonable accommodation for doing the EXADEP (it did not had any handwritten part or any written part that needs extra time to complete). These are my EXADEP scores:


Considering that the graduate program I am requesting to be admitted does not require a minimum score (some graduate programs in the same faculty and in the UPR require an EXADEP minimum score of 500), 667 is a very good score, specially the English score, where I got a 75. The maximum score per part is 80. I expected a lower score in math and analytic reasoning not because a lack of analytical reasoning but because I have not studied math since high school and I could not pay a review for taking this test, as I did for the PCMAS (the teacher certification test). It was my lower score indeed, but it was higher than the expected score if I considered my circumstances with maths (I had never liked math a lot and I had never been good at them neither).

The undergraduate GPA of my Humanities bachelor’s degree was 2.90 when I graduated, but that was before taking all my ESL teacher certification classes, where I have got all A’s except for one B in a Humanities literature class (that profesor was too memory-based, his assessment was based in asking very small details of our readings in a multiple-choice test, without any discussion of the literature work; that’s why I got a B in an elective class). With all the A’s I got in the ESL teacher certification program, surely that GPA got above 3.00, so I had no problems with that requirement neither. I sent my two transcripts without hesitation. Although I have not checker exactly where my GPA is, I assume that it is above the 3.00 minimum GPA. I will request a student transcript and check that out soon.

Finally, I needed to write an admissions essay. This part delayed the completion of my graduate school admissions forms during weeks, since the lasts weeks of December to be more exact. I had an idea of what things I wanted to write, but the instruction of doing it in only 500 words requires time and patience from my part, because I tend to use a lot of words and integrate many diverse ideas when I write essays. I finally chose which ideas and details I wanted to include and completed my essay a few days ago, using exactly 500 words. I focused it on my research interests, my professional interests and on personal perspectives pertinent to the studies I wanted to pursue.

My graduate admissions essay is this one (in Spanish):

¿Por qué me interesa completar una maestría en educación diferenciada e investigar el cómo aplicar el Project Based Learning (PBL) en la educación diferenciada? Hay al menos tres razones: una personal, una académica y una profesional.

La razón personal para querer investigar la aplicación del PBL en la educación diferencida es que yo misma soy una estudiante excepcional. De hecho, soy twice-exceptional: tengo ADD y también soy gifted (Mi IQ es de 140). Sé en carne propia las dificultades que puede confrontar un estudiante excepcional a la hora de aprender: el aburrimiento feroz ante un trabajo que no requiera aplicar, la profunda impotencia por no poder hacer las cosas como los demás, la gran frustración que provoca confrontar el que un maestro piense que eres “bruta” el mero hecho de no ser aprender según su método… Todo esto lo he vivido en carne propia. Estoy determinada a encontrar métodos que ayuden a la población excepcional a aprender de manera más integractiva. El concepto de “educación integractiva” me lo inventé yo. El término “integractivo” une los vocablos “integración”, “acción” y “realización”. Esas tres palabras me parecen fundamentales para estudiar la educación diferenciada de tal forma que abarque la totalidad de la formación personal. La formación personal es importante para mí porque pienso que lo que más caracteriza a la educación diferenciada es que necesariamente se aplica a la persona, cosa que debería ser una meta para toda educación, no solo la diferenciada.

La razón académica, intrínsecamente unida a la razón personal, para querer investigar la aplicación del PBL en la educación diferenciada es que es un tema que necesita ser investigado. Al buscar respecto al tema solo encontré, y con mucho esfuerzo, dos artículos en inglés. No hay un solo libro en Amazon respecto al tema. Así pues, este tema es uno en el que puedo hacer una aportación académica relevante. Si bien es cierto que hay muy pocas referencias de este tema en las bases de datos disponibles en la biblioteca de la UPR, hay algunos artículos que pueden dar luz respecto a cómo conseguir más referencias en otras bases de datos. Además, la maestría de educación especial provee la oportunidad de hacer un action research, pues tiene una práctica integrada, por lo que hay otros medios para investigar el tema.

Finalmente, la razón profesional para querer estudiar este tema es que actualmente el PBL se está aplicando con muchísima más asiduidad en Puerto Rico. Como maestra me interesa dominar el PBL para poder aplicarlo oportunamente en mi salón de clase cuando me toque impartir clases. Aunque mi certificación docente actual sea en inglés elemental, al aprender a aplicar el PBL en la educación diferenciada también aprenderé a aplicarlo como maestra de inglés, por lo que estudiarlo en mis estudios universitarios graduados será de muchísimo provecho en mi quehacer profesional. Así pues, al estudiar este tema no solo podría hacer una aportación académica relevante en el campo de la educación diferenciada, sino también en el campo de la educación puertorriqueña.

I had no space to mention that I also have dysgraphia and problems with handwritting (I thought about leaving the IQ part out, so I could have space to mention the dysgraphia, but usually persons ask themselves what I mean when I describe myself as “gifted”, so I left the IQ information there because is the shorter way, although not my favorite way, to describe what I mean when I use the word “gifted”) or to make reference of this blog to look for further information about me. It had a small but clearly visible typo too, in the beginning of the second paragraph (I saw that typo when I copy-pasted the essay here).

Once I completed this essay my admission’s form was ready to be sent to the graduate admission’s department. I completed the whole graduate admission’s form a few days ago.

Let’s see what happens with this admission request, and let’s keep growing!

My First Lesson Plan

Today we had a living museum in the school: the first grade students dressed each one like a famous person, and when you stepped in a construction paper star that was glued in the floor, in front of them, each one would describe who he or she was. It was a very creative activity.

Today I also made my first daily lesson plan. It is a very particular daily lesson plan because it is not only about English: it is about integrating diversity, but it is given in English. Why did I chose that theme for my first class? Because I am a twice-exceptional student: I am gifted and have ADD and dysgraphia at the same time, and I need my students to understand that I won’t be writing a lot in the whiteboard due my dysgraphia. I am very creative, but because I have problems writing by hand, I avoid using the whiteboard and use the computer to write a lot. I wanted to start my classes explaining to my students that I have a disability, I can’t write by hand too much, but I am also gifted: I know English and can teach very creatively. So, I planned my first class about the theme of diversity using the short movie “The Butterfly Circus”. That way I can explain that I have a disability and a giftedness explaining the protagonist’s disability and his ability to swim despite not having arms and legs. I just sent my lesson plan by email to my cooperator teacher, let’s see what he says.

For that class I made an “abilities” handout, so we can discuss our diverse abilities together. This is a pic of the handout:

Abilities Handout

Many people have asked me how I am able to be so good with the task of writing ideas if I have so many difficulties with writing by hand. The answer: my dysgraphia is very mechanical, it doesn’t affect my written expression but my writing mechanical capacity. I struggle with writing by hand, but I am quite gifted with the task of putting my ideas on writing with the help of technology. As a matter of fact, I usually organize my thoughts through writing, so my iPad is almost like a best friend!

My third grade group is right now discussing the comparative adjectives, so it seems that my second English class, after the first class discussing “The Butterfly Circus,” will be about superlative adjectives. I won’t be seeing them today: I leave early on Fridays. Usually their English class is on the mornings on Fridays, instead of being in the afternoon like the rest of the week, but today, as an exception, their English class will be in the afternoon, so today I won’t be seeing them.

I am eager to give my first class on Monday! Here is my lesson plan: The Butterfly Circus

Let’s keep growing!

My Presentation Letter

Today I created a presentation letter for the parents, using the template of a fellow student teacher from the School of San Juan. It is a fun presentation letter, full of color and with my most basic information. I included the web address of this blog, in case anyone of the parents want to know what I am doing with their kids, they can know right away. If you are a parent of any of my students, welcome to my teaching blog!

Here is the pic of my presentation letter:

Presentation Letter.jpg

I still have not started giving my assigned third grade class. I am in the preparations to start giving the class: I am observing the class and trying to learn the names of everyone while observing them (today I discovered that I have already learned three names), I am planning an interest inventory to know how my students are, I am talking with my cooperator teacher to know where the students are and what I must teach, I am coordinating a meeting with the differentiated education teacher (also known as special education teacher, but I prefer to use the term “differentiated education” or “exceptional education”) to know which reasonable accommodations I must take in count when planning my classes…

There are few things to do prior beginning to give an ESL class. I am on those kinds of things during these days. One of those things is recording my cooperator teacher’s beginning routine so I can make his same routine when giving my class, because I think that it creates continuity in the learning environment and that is easier to the students to learn when there is some continuity between the different teachers in the classroom. Today I am going to do those recordings, so I can practice the welcome song and the today’s song, among other practices of my cooperator teacher’s beginning routine, during the weekend.

This week I had been doing a lot of desk job, and I am not used to be on a desk so much time, so in my lunch break I go to the hallway just to walk. Students are prohibited from running in the hallways, they have the Physical Education class for that, and they do run a lot in that class (my third grade class has ESL class just after Physical Education, and they enter to the classroom with very red cheeks). Although the students know they are forbidden of running in the hallways, three of them begin to run there. A teacher catches two of them and punishes them: they must remain seated the rest of the lunch break. The third student hides behind a door, so the teacher does not see him, but I do see him. The poor student jumps, freaked out, when I walk besides him: he did not saw me coming. I adopt a serious face: “you know the rule, and you know the consequence…” The student defends himself: “the teacher did not saw me”. I erase the seriousness of my face, put myself at his height and try to be more understanding with him: “Let’s see, we are going to make things wrong because others can’t see us or we are going to make them right because we want to grow as persons? Relax, I will not tell the other teacher that you are here, but please answer my question…” The student relaxes when I say to him that I will not tell the teacher he is there and answers my question: “I am going to make things for growing.” Then I say to the student: If you know that the norm is not running in the hallways, that your classmates were punished for running in the hallway and that you were running in the hallway too, what is the best thing you can do?” The student answers me quickly: “not running in the hallway again, although I am not seen…” I tell him: “Besides that, what else you can do?” This time the student does not answers me so quickly, so I just smile to him and tell him: “Let’s think…” The student concludes by himself: “I can go a sit down with my punished classmates and accompany them, although the teacher did not catch me…” I smile widely: “Exactly, very good. Go and seat with them, and do not run in the hallway again…”

My lunch break was over pretty soon after that, so I came back to my desk to keep working in the preparations to start giving ESL classes. I completed my philosophy of education.

In the third grade ESL class my cooperator teacher reviewed adjectives. The teacher asked for an example of an adjective. A student told him: “Your t-shirt is black.” The teacher said that it was an excellent example and asked the student to explain her example. The student answered him: “black is describing your t-shirt.” The teacher asked her: “What word is describing my t-shirt?” The student said: “Black.” The teacher asked her: “And what king of word is t-shirt?” The student answered him: “A noun.” The teacher asked her: “Why it is a noun?” The student said: “Because adjectives describe nouns.” The teacher helps the students to understand the material by themselves. He keeps students connected and asks “why” a lot. I am observing and learning everything.

Today was a great growing day. Let’s keep growing!

My Teaching Practicum Classroom

Today was the first time in my life that a student called me “teacher.” She was a fourth grade student that wanted to ask me something. I did not realized she was talking to me the first time she said “teacher” because I had never been named that way before! When I did not answered her, she pulled my oxford shirt and almost shouted “teacher!” and then I finally realized she was talking to me. I laughed and apologized to her: you are the first person who calls me teacher.

Today I also received the permission to create my lesson plans in the school practicum time because I don’t have power in my house yet due hurricane Maria. That is a huge help for me, because I am very limited without electricity at home.

In the first of the morning the fourth grade had a test about adjectives. The theme of the test is rainforests. A student asked me what “warms” means, another student asked me what “feathers” means and the same student came back to me to asked me what “conspicuous” means. I knew the first two words by memory but I needed to check the third word in Google to know what it means. Besides asking the meanings of some words, they needed no more help. They completed the test by themselves without any problems. It was during that test I was called “teacher” by a student for the first time.

At the other periods of the morning and in the first period of the afternoon I helped my cooperator teacher, teacher Richard, to correct yesterday’s third grade test. It was also about adjectives.

At the second period after recess I knew for the first time the group that I am going to be teaching as student teacher: third grade. The two earlier days I needed to leave at 12:30 pm and that class begins at 1:20, that is why I did not meet them before. The teacher presented me as their student teacher and we discussed the test I corrected.

Now I am going to describe my teacher practicum classroom. It is a big classroom, with 26 student chairs and a student worktable with three chairs. It has two teacher desks, one per cooperator teacher (two cooperator teachers give class in the same classroom, at different hours), one computer desk with a computer used mostly for printing documents and two reading corners with many, many, many books. The classroom also has a Smart Board, a whiteboard and five bulletin boards.

I located myself in the student’s worktable, because there is a big power outlet for my computer right beside that table. The students use that outlet to charge their tablets.

Here are some pics of my teaching practicum classroom.





I like my teaching practicum classroom a lot, it has a lot of creative and thinking space. Technology is a plus!

Let’s keep growing!