Saturday, January 30, 2010

Well, one of the things I appreciate in our culture is the chenchulé system, for it’s one that has assisted my family in times of need. I remember when my Tata passed away, hundreds of people gathered in support to assist in his burial, not only emotionally but financially as well. Many people gave ika, such as delicious food for the rosaries, or money to help our family.

I was amazed with the countless people who paid their respect to him. I was also told by my parents that the chenchulé given was part of a reciprocal connection for various good deeds my Tata had done to help others while he was still alive.

It brightens my spirit to know that if any big event should occur, whether it be a funeral, wedding, or christening, I know there will be that network of financial and emotional support.

*chenchulé: present (money), donation, thing that is given away, gift.
*ika: donation, gift – given to the family of a deceased person.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

List of cultural activities that include mathematical practices and knowledge

Tan Floren 's woven creations
Image source:

Here's my list of Chamorro activities that include mathematical practices and knowledge:

Chamorro counting system

Chamorro calendar

Chamorro measuring system

Chamorro shapes

Coconut weaving in the Chamorro culture

Mathematics used in farming in the Chamorro culture

Measurements used in cooking Chamorro food

Mathematics in Chamorro carving

Mathematics used in fishing in the Chamorro culture

Mathematics used in dancing in the Chamorro culture

Mathematics used in singing in the Chamorro culture

Mathematics used in Chamorro art

Mathematics used in the Chamorro culture

Mathematics used in Chamorro language

Mathematics used in Chamorro writing

Mathematics used in Chamorro words

Mathematics used in Chamorro grammar

Mathematics used in Chamorro drawings

Chamorro mathematics standards

Mathematics used in the environment

Mathematics used for objects/non-living things in the Chamorro culture

Mathematics used for living things in the Chamorro culture

Mathematics used in caring for plants in the Chamorro culture

Mathematics used in harvesting Chamorro fruits

Mathematics used in harvesting Chamorro vegetables

Mathematics used in Chamorro medicine

Mathematics used in Chamorro music

Mathematics used in Chamorro arts and crafts

Mathematics used in Chamorro agriculture

Mathematics used in Chamorro aquaculture

Mathematics used in building ancient Chamorro homes

Mathematics used in Chamorro celebrations

Mathematics used in Chamorro chants

Mathematics used in Chamorro navigation

Mathematics used in Chamorro legends and myths

Mathematics used in Chamorro ceremonies

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mathematical Figures in Gassing Our Vehicles

Each vehicle that my family owns is a gas guzzler, so we spend about $70 each week for each vehicle, which adds up to $140 a week. However, the price of gas also changes on a weekly basis, it seems, so the cost may vary depending on the gas price. On the military base, the cost is $2.92 a gallon and off-base it's over $3.00. Hopefully, the price will decrease, but it is unlikely.

I drive a Mazda van, while my husband drives a Ford F-150 truck. We drive about over 30 miles each day with every destination that we go to on a daily basis. We live in Yona, which is the central part of the island; although I must admit that we live closer to Talofofo than the main village of Yona. In any event, every morning I have to drive to Tamuning, which is in the northern part of the island, since that is where I teach at, namely LBJ Elementary School. En route to LBJ, I have to stop by at the daycare to drop off my youngest son. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to drive to LBJ, since the school traffic is extremely heavy every morning. Since I teach part-time at the University of Guam, I also travel there throughout the week to conduct my courses, so that's another destination with an additional 30-minute travel time. Thereafter, I have to head back to the daycare in Tamuning (another 30-minute travel) to pick up my youngest son, and then I head back home to the quieter part of the island.

My husband takes about 30 minutes to go to work, namely the Navy Exchange, unless there is a large crowd that is also heading to work en route the Cross Island Road down south. Although, since he gets up around 5:30 a.m. to get ready and heads to work quite early, he usually doesn’t encounter the type of heavy traffic I do on a daily basis.

What's your mathematical figure like when it comes to gassing your vehicle(s)? Is it outrageous like mine or more reasonable? I'm hoping it's the latter part.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Project MACIMISE Story

Hafa Adai! First of all, I’d like to say Si Yu’os Ma’ase (thank you) to Don, Neil, Joe, and Sandy (Father of the project) for paving the way for us to start the Project MACIMISE Journey! Without all of them, we wouldn’t be here!

I am married with three beautiful young children, one girl and two boys, ages 16, 15, and 5 respectively. My children are the source of my inspiration to continue to make a difference in whatever capacity I can as a mother, teacher/professor, and servant of the community. I am an ESL Teacher/Coordinator at LBJ Elementary School, where I have taught for nearly 13 years. I am also an Adjunct Professor for the Language and Literacy, TESOL, and Instructional Technology Programs & Department of English and Applied Linguistics at the University of Guam.

My experience with mathematics includes alignment of mathematics curriculum with NCTM standards, SAT-9 standards, and Guam Department of Education content standards, as part of the Language Arts, Reading, Math (LARM) Curriculum Alignment Project for grades K-12; language of Math and sequential age-appropriate aligned mathematics activities, as part of the Guam English Language Proficiency (GELPS) Project for grades Pre-K-12; integrated mathematics activities/presentations at the M.A.S.C.O.T. (Math and Science Conference on Technology) Conference; and mathematics integrated with other content areas, such as Reading in the Content Areas: Math. With the intense work/training in mathematics that each of the aforementioned curriculum projects/presentations required, I am confident that I possess the schema necessary to participate in Project MACIMISE. However, I understand that the final decision of those selected for the second phase of Project MACIMISE will be in May. I hope and pray that I’ll be one of those selected. I will do my best as a student in this course to show that I am capable of contributing greatly to this valuable project.

Shifting to my interest with Project MACIMISE, I find the project to be a valuable one that will make an impact on our island, as we explore indigenous mathematics, and eventually increase our students’ mathematics scores. Being a native of Guam, I am excited to further research mathematics our elders and even ancestors used in their everyday living. I have already began interviewing my parents, who are of Chamorro descent. In particular, my father shared his experience in using mathematics with reference to farming, with the number of cows, chickens, feeding, etc. morning and night, before and after school, day in and day out. It was a way of life for him. My mother shared about the use of mathematics in her cooking with my grandma. She mentioned that you had to put just the right amount of ingredients, but the funny thing is that she had no measuring cups, spoons, etc. The way to tell if the cooking was done right was to taste the soup every now and then. It’s quite interesting of how both my mother and grandma had the right amount of ingredients without the use of measuring tools to make the most delicious Chamorro meals!

My long-term professional objectives and participation in Project MACIMISE will prove to be instrumental. I have committed myself to train teachers to understand and become familiar with instructional practices in the area of local mathematical practices and to create relevant mathematics curriculum to be introduced to local schools on Guam.

The following information I’d like to share with you is relative to my expertise with local languages and knowledge of local cultural practices. Among the cultural activities I have participated in are the following: Advocate for preserving Guam’s culture through literature, as I am the Authorizing Official and Project Director for a cultural anthology I co-authored with Lois Taitano Gumataotao titled, Our Native Daughters’ Reflection of Guam and Its People, funded by a Guam Humanities Council and National Endowment for the Humanities grant, as part of the Korasón Organization (GHC 01-20R). I also contributed poems to the cultural photo-documentary entitled, “Legacy of Guam, i Kustrembren Chamoru” by Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Manny Crisostomo, 1991.

I am the founder and webmaster of the Guam Poets Club and Micronesian Poets Club. I have provided editorial contributions for the Chamorro Heritage series, Pacific Daily News. I have conducted numerous ESL Awareness workshops. I am also a member and webmaster for the Pacific Islands Bilingual Bicultural Association (PIBBA), as well as an ESL Cadre member and a member of the University of Guam’s Tri-College Team, coordinated by the Micronesian Language Institute and Guam ESL Certification Plus Project.

I served as a steering committee member/instructor for the 26th Annual Pacific Educational Conference (PEC) and 22nd Annual Regional Language Arts Conference (LAC) held in Guam. I also serve as the webmaster for the websites, A World of Languages, Family Literacy in the Pacific, Hafa Adai, and Hello to all around the globe.

I have also reviewed and critiqued PREL status reports, namely Pacific English Language Proficiency Assessment and Ensuring Effective Student Learning in Kindergarten, both funded through the U.S. Department of Education, Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Pacific Program. I have served as a volunteer for the Storytelling in the Pacific Festival and published an online book review on the Chamorro Word Book.

I have published various cultural poems in the Pacific Daily News blog, and have served as a cadre member for the Guam English Language Proficiency Standards developed to meet the needs of English Language Learners. I have also received numerous awards for my advocacy of language, literacy and education, including the following: Governor’s Art Awards Special Projects Literary Trophy, 1991; Governor’s Art Awards nominee certificates; Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency Certificate of Recognition as an author and poet; Pacific Islands Bilingual Bicultural Association appreciation/presentation certificates; LBJ Elementary School Chamorro Settefikon Agradesimento (Certificate of Appreciation), SETTEFIKON PǺTTEPASION (Certificate of Participation) for the Chamorro Culture Conference, and the following legislative resolutions: 30th Guam Legislative Resolution No. 132-30, 29th Guam Legislative Resolution No. 43, 28th Guam Legislative Resolution No. 106, 26th Guam Legislative Resolution No. 38, 26th Guam Legislative Resolution No. 39, 24th Guam Legislative Resolution No. 2, 21st Guam Legislative Resolution No. 39; 21st Guam Legislative Resolution No. 224; and 20th Guam Legislative Resolution No. 147.

Among the culturally-relevant courses I have taught are the following: ED600: Issues and Philosophies in Culturally Diverse Schools (Distance Education: Saipan Program), Fall 2008; ED640: Language and Literacy Development: Fall 2003, Fall 2006; ED647: Special Topics in Language and Literacy; ED661: Second Language Theory and Development: Fall 2007, Summer 2008; ED668: Teaching Content to Second Language Students, Spring 2006; ED894: Multicultural Approaches in Language Arts Education, Fall 2009;ED894: Preparing the Pacific Child for Life, Summer 2009; ED894: Scaffolding Academic Literacy Skills for Asian-Pacific Islanders at the Post-Secondary Level, Co-Instructor with Dr. Catherine Stoicovy; and ED894: Invigorating Languages and Cultures of the Pacific; Summer 2009.

I think I better stop here, as my Project MACIMISE journey description is beginning to sound more like a resume. In any event, it is always important to employ “best practices” during instruction, in order to impact student learning. I feel that all students deserve quality instruction and must be provided with the support they need in order to excel in mathematics and other academic areas. By ensuring this is provided, we will ultimately provide our students with the “best practices” of instructional strategies that can truly make a difference!

As I mentioned in my statement of objectives, it is my hope that the panel will consider my experience in education, expertise with local languages, knowledge of local cultural practices, ability to collaborate professionally with local people, my long-term professional objectives, goals, relating to Project MACIMISE, and my sincere desire to strengthen the GDOE mathematics curriculum, and grant me the opportunity to become a Ph.D. student as part of the Project MACIMISE. I have no doubt that the team of Project MACIMISE will be rewarded with work well done. Un Dangkulo Na Si Yu’os Ma’ase’ (Thank you very much)!

Mathematics in Shopping

We were tasked to reflect on our use of mathematics during our shopping experience. Well, many factors come to mind in the process. First of all, I have three kids, one girl and two boys, ages 16, 15, and 5 respectively. They are on the top of my shopping list. I think of the number of items each of my kids needs for school and home. The youngest one still goes to the daycare, namely, Palomares Child Care Center, since he is a late baby and does not meet the cut-off date for the kindergarten age requirement. In any event, he has specific food for the daycare, along with baby wipes and other daycare necessities. He loves noodles, so we literally count how many days in the week he'll need his favorite food, since holidays don't count. If we have enough money, we stretch his food to 2 weeks. But, of course, we can't forget that he needs snacks, so we get his favorite crackers, cookies, and we try to throw in healthy snacks as well. Now with all the snacks, we must count at least 2 snacks for each day throughout the week, or maybe even for 2 weeks. It doesn't stop there, because we have the two oldest children who also have their favorite meals, such as spaghetti, ravioli, beefaroni, chicken, pizza, cheese, roast beef, cookies, cereal, milk, fruits, vegetables, and so much more! The bigger the kids get, the more they want to eat, so that means even more counting on our part, to ensure that they have enough food to eat during the week. Because they consume more food than the youngest one, we usually get a week's worth of food, and we'd be lucky if we have enough money to get an additional week's worth of food. We have to also add up how much their food costs, not including their baby brother's meals, baby wipes, etc. So what does all the math add up to? Well, it's over $150, that's for sure, and this doesn't include gassing the vehicles! That adds up even more in math figures. If I were to include the kids' tuition, that would be another astronomical figure, so I'll stop here, since the focus Don recommended was on "shopping." Now you have an insight on my mathematics experience with shopping on a weekly basis! How about yours? I'd love to hear about your experience!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Project MACIMISE Readings

Hafa Adai! The reading assignments Don provided were culturally insightful regarding the various methods of measurement with focus on Woleai Atoll, Caroline Islands, the multicultural view of numbers: words and symbols, the use of mathematics and importance of the machi, ceremonies, and so much more!

It was interesting to read about the section on "Counting Coconuts" and the role chiefs play in the culture. It's sad to say that Guam has lost part of its culture with regards to village chiefs and other language and cultural practices. I'm glad though that there are attempts to revive the culture and language of our island with the different cultural organizations, including Hurao, TaoTao Tano, Gef Pago, Natibu, storytelling, PIBBA, etc. I guess you can say that the Governor of Guam would be considered our chief in the island. He holds the power to make decisions that impact our people. Yes, he does not exactly exemplify practices from the ancient Chamorro days, but this is where we stand now. We must continue to move forward and resurrect what we can to continue to revive our culture and language and postively impact student learning. In addition, the Project MACIMISE is an excellent way for us to research indigenous Math and strengthen our curriculum with practices that will increase our students mathematics skills.

The navigation and designing of the canoe is also part of Guam's history, and findings tell us how our ancestors used mathematics to navigate by measuring, studying the environment, the tide, sky, etc. Our culture has historically followed an oral tradition of passing on our culture, customs, traditions, songs, dance, weaving, carving, fishing, etc. from generation to generation. There are some written accounts available at UOG's Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC), but we still need to publish additional writings relative to our culture, especially since our elders will not be around forever, as much as we'd like them to. Once again, Project MACIMISE will provide us the means to produce written works that we can publish and also provide to MARC to build the database available to our residents, researchers, etc.

The reading pertaining to number words and number symbols was very insightful, as some people simply don't take the time to appreciate the importance of such and its uniqueness to the Pacific cultures. I appreciate the concepts Ascher shared in her article. Don's articles also provided much insight on the use of mathematics and importance of the machi, ceremonies, and so much more. I was able to connect the concepts with what he shared with us via the PowerPoint presentation in our last Elluminate session! The pictures also provided additional schema on cultural importance and significant patterns & symmetry of the sacred machi in Fais.

Thank you for enlightening me on the importance of indigenous mathematics, which I have always valued! BIBA PROJECT MACIMISE! Un Dangkulo Na Si Yu'os Ma'ase'!

Laulima Blog

I think the Laulima blog feature is a wonderful tool for all of us to further collaborate on mathematical topics and other class issues beyond our weekly Elluminate class sessions! It provides an avenue for us to continue the learning process in our Project MACIMISE venture.

Our class blog provides a non-threatening way to challenge each other cognitively, to think about issues and express our opinions on the various class topics our instructors, Don, Neil, and Joe introduce to us. Of course, we can't forget Sandy, as he guides in the process. It is also a time saver, as it further provides an effective way to reinforce material discussed in our Elluminate class sessions. There's no doubt that I look forward to working with everyone this semester!

Welcome to my Project MACIMISE Blog!

Hafa Adai! Welcome to my Project MACIMISE blog, which will serve as my written log for the course EDCS-606- Math and Culture in Micronesia – Integrating Societal Experiences. This course is held online and instructed by Don Rubinstein, along with Joe Zilliox, and Neil Pateman. Sandy Dawson is also instrumental in the course, as he is the coordinator for Project MACIMISE. He was my first contact before I even started the course.

As stated by Don, the main objective of this course is to begin mapping out indigenous mathematical practices and knowledge in selected Pacific Islands cultures. A description of the research project can be found here:

In any event, I found the first class on Elluminate to be an enjoyable one, as we met our fellow Project MACIMISE participants in both the Eastern and Western Pacific regions! It was wonderful to meet my fellow Micronesian islanders from Guam, CNMI, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, Hawaii, and Palau.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this meaningful project! Un Dangkulo Na Si Yu'os Ma'ase'!