Clase del Mundo:
My ultimate vision for my future is to host and lead a team of passionate individuals in an online educational show. I’ve had this vision for over two years now, although there have been many times that I have questioned it’s attainability. If you’re reading this, chances are you already know the title of the show, “¡balaga!”, but what most of you may not know is that I am already in the process of building that vision! Part of the catalyst for my inspiration has come from a the words of Kathy Eldon who sent to me a message awhile back:
- Sept. 7, 2011 – Hi Benji, what a wonderful letter. It inspires ME! I so appreciate you taking the time to write- and would encourage you to visit your local school and see how you can begin sharing your vision of the world. Just start. No need to wait. I am racing this week- but let’s stay in touch- one day you could visit our Center and share your story. Warm wishes, Kathy
Although I may have not heeded that advice then, it has definitely stuck with me and has pushed me to action now. Kathy Eldon is the founder of Creative Visions Foundation and mother of Dan Eldon, a Photojournalist who was stoned to death more than 20 years ago. I’ve followed Kathy and Dan’s creative leadership over the past year and a half, but during the past two and a half months, I’ve done just what she highlighted in those words above. I’ve been sharing my vision of the world with schools and students in the San Joaquin Valley. However, I’ve taken a step further to begin building my vision, piece by piece, through creation of a classroom for which I can lead my online educational show. But what will be the curriculum I focus on for my online show?
My curriculum will cover myriad topics relating to the experiences I’ve participated in as a global citizen. My first virtual lesson will expand on the two first lessons I gave to 7th grade class at Jefferson Middle School in my hometown of Tracy, CA [For the lectures, look in the 'Presentations - Prezi' in my Portfolio.] The title of the third lesson will be “Living Sustainably in Tracy“ and will enliven the ideas I introduced in the first two lessons through ways that I achieve those goals of sustainable living at home. I plan on continuing with other lessons of enlivenment as I continue to live life as a balaga!
For the past two weeks, I’ve been creating my global classroom, which I’ll be calling the Clase del Mundo [World Classroom in Spanish]. Creating the classroom has helped me focus on my vision for the world, and instead of thinking about it, I’ve decide to build it! Here are a few photos and descriptions of the progression thus far:
1. DESIGNING THE AREA for the chalkboard (the centerpiece for and entry into the Clase del Mundo) was probably the most time consuming part of this experience. I came up with the idea while I was doing a workout in my room and I thought, “If I can workout from my own room, why can’t I just teach from my own room?!” I began reorganizing my room immediately after my workout. After about a week of freeing up space in front of the largest wall in the room with the most light hitting it, I began plastering the wall so that I could create an smooth surface to write on. After plastering, I sanded the surface down to remove bumps and create more of an even surface.
Plastering the area to create an even surface
2. PAINTING THE CHALKBOARD took a few coats of both the Magnetic Primer and Chalkboard Paint, both made by Rust Oleum. If you’re thinking of doing a similar project, I would recommend not using the primer because 1) it’s actually pretty expensive and 2) it requires several coats to get enough strength to put magnets on it and 3) you can find alternatives for creating magnetization. For the color, I decided on the Peapod Green because it gave off the classic classroom look with more vibrancy than the darker Schoolhouse Green.
Unfortunately, the surface texture didn’t ultimately come out how I wanted it, so I will likely cover the chalkboard area with sheetrock and paint ANOTHER chalkboard. #PERFECTIONIST But I’ve always sucked at plastering, so getting more experience during this test run has helped me realize how I can make it perfect the second time around! See the final product below.
3. CREATING THE TRACK LIGHTING
Probably one of the more difficult tasks I would have would be installing proper lighting to enliven the chalkboard and the teaching I will be doing. Luckily I had the two things I needed, a 4 bulb track light fixture that my dad had in his warehouse and an electrician of his that could install it! The result was track light that beautifully aims focus at chalkboard while allowing each individual light to rotate 360 degrees onto other objects!
4. CREATING THE SHELVES for my books came from the question “What is a classroom without books?”. Although most of my learning happens in the world outside of book covers, books are essential to our learning when we’re not out exploring and creating. All of the shelves are actually recycled wood from around my house. The main wood piece, seen below, and the brackets were all found around the house. No purchase necessary!
The smaller shelves were all taken from an unused dresser that was building up dust. Although most people won’t notice the idea that I reused most of the materials I’ve used to build the classroom, I know the meaning and quality of the idea will carry beyond these walls.
Sustainable Book Shelves
One thing I’ve been meaning to make for awhile was a guitar mount. Music has always been like picking up a pen for me, sometimes you just have to pick one up and let your imagination do the rest. I wanted to create a mount that would be simple enough to just grab off the wall and play, but also be different than the typical guitar mounts on Amazon. I started by trying to find items around the house and after a long search, I found these crutches and thought they’d be perfect! Another reason I liked them is because I feel like music has a certain meaning for everyone. At times, music has been a crutch for me and has helped me stay positive and enthusiastic even when I’ve been down.
Prior to shortening the Crutches
I can’t tell you how long it took me to create this mount! I had tried so many different variations of placing the guitar, but in the end, they either hurt the guitar somehow, or were just unsafe for it. The final design allowed for a comfy, secure, but also abstract look that will catch my students and guests attention whenever they enter my classroom.
UCI Emblem [in progress]
The chalkboard, shelves, and guitar mount all embody the do-it-yourself (DIY) spirit that I want to convey to my students through ‘¡balaga!’. I want them to see everything in the Clase del Mundo as an example of the way I live and how I WANT to live. Each project is a lesson learned and reminds us of all what the word balaga means! The journey of creating this classroom has allowed me to focus my desire to teach, enliven, and inspire youth to tackle new adventures, projects, and hobbies. Trying something new is fun, invigorating, and you never really know what you may discover!
Although building my classroom has helped me focus on my desire to teach, the mission of building this classroom is create an ‘environment’ where I can begin to SHARE MY PURPOSE. I have a lesson plan ready to execute and am just waiting to coordinate with the 7th grade classroom I’ve been working with. Using my experiences and lessons that I’ve gained in my global classroom, I will be designing short online lessons that will be catered to a specific audience. During November and December, I shared lessons on my experiences in Costa Rica, as well as on the topic of Sustainable Living. Now I plan to directly show HOW I live sustainably, using video to capture the various ways.
The final product for my chalkboard, with stage lights and all!