• The Tragedy of Armero

As we sit down on the couch, each sipping a cup of coffee, my mother, Carmen, reminisces about her life back in Colombia. Memories she believes she had forgotten come flooding back full force. Soon she begins telling me stories of her childhood; how she loved to read and draw and how her brothers had the most fun torturing her. She tells me of the school run by nasty nuns and of her father's extremely strict rules. As we continue strolling down memory lane, my mother tells me of her teenage years and her days as a college student. She soon begins telling me the story of Armero.
Armero was a little village built on top of the ruins of a previous eruption from the volcano Nevado del Ruiz. On November 13, 1985, the volcano erupted and the damage was terrible. Very reminiscent of Pompeii , the lava and ash destroyed the village and killed almost all of its inhabitants. Of the 23,000 people that lived in Armero, 21,000 people either died or were lost amongst all of the debris.external image armero.jpg
“I had just gotten out of college when this tragedy occurred,” she says.“I was completely shocked when I saw how many people were actually affected. There were so many people that disappeared and as of today no one knows what happened to them. I remember seeing

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on the news all of the people searching through the shelters and hospitals for loved ones.” She takes another sip of her coffee and sets it aside; now realizing it is cold, she does not find it as appealing.She continues on with her story , yet she seems distant as if she were in a trance: “The people looked like statues of mud and dust after the volcano erupted. The shock and the sadness in their faces was what really got to me.” It was clear that even though my mother did not go through the tragedy, it really did impact her. She could remember the smallest detail even though this happened more than twenty years ago. “I remember seeing Omayra Sanchez on the news and I couldn’t believe her story.”

Omayra Sanchez was an eleven-year-old girl who got stuck in the mudslide caused by the lava. She was buried from the waist down and all the efforts made to save her failed. She was stuck for three days and on the third day she died. Throughout the entire three days, she sang songs and she recited poetry. “She suffered so much but she was a happy child. Even though she was stuck in the mud and in so much pain, she was still able to sing songs and act like a normal child. She really taught me that a person can go through so much trouble and adversity and never lose who he or she is. She never lost hope that she was going to get out of that mess alive.” Finishing up our interview, I can not believe that just hearing my mother's story affected me the way that it did. I can just imagine all of the people and all of the destruction of Armero. I look up at the clock and I see that we have been talking for more than three hours. Strange, it only felt like a few minutes.
Armero was a tragedy that no one should have ever experienced. The once picturesque village lies in ruins; it is nothing more than buried buildings and over-grow vegetation. Though the town may be gone, the memories of November 13th, 1985 will never leave the minds of those who saw the whole tragedy unfold.

Related Links
Aftermath of Armero

1984 Lesson Plan: Book 1

Party or Proles... Who has it Better?

external image Pledge.jpg

  • Standard

    • Speaking- 3.A.1- Support a position integrating multiple perspectives
  • Expectations

    • My group will be able to see the connection the Proles and the Party have with history
    • My group will be able to understand the pros and cons of a society under complete control of the government and those of a society with absolutely no government control
    • My group will understand how to use the Pages program on the laptops
  • Materials

    • Laptops opened up to my Wikispaces and later on to Pages
    • Books
    • Pen or Pencil
  • Opening

    • I will show my group a PowerPoint which contains images of societies throughout history that greatly resemble the types of lives the proles lived and the lives the party lived.
  • Middle

    • I will have my group make a chart that compares and contrasts the party and the proles
    • We will discuss the pros and cons of both societies, and which they would rather be a part of
    • My group will create posters which represent the kind of lives they would have if they were a party member or if they were a prole
  • Ending

    • We will have a final discussion summing up all of the ideas presented throughout the lesson plan
    • My group will present their finished posters
    • I will show my group a final slide show

Here are some interesting links:

- I found this website that talks about government mind control and even relates it back to George Orwell's novel 1984
- These are some political cartoons I found on the internet that are in the style of 1984: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1984 Lesson Plan: Book 2

Looks May Be Deceiving

  • Standard
    • Viewing and Media Literacy- 3.C.3- Recognize that creators of media and performances use a number of forms, techniques, and technologies to convey their messages
  • Expectations
    • My group will be able to understand how the media can have more influence on people than even the most powerful political figure
    • My group will be able to see the connection between the war with Eurasia and the biggest wars in history
  • Materials
    • Laptop open to my wikispace
    • Books
  • Opening
    • I will show my group a PowerPoint containing propaganda from different wars
    • We will discuss the powerpoint
  • Middle
    • My group will research the biggest wars (WWI, WWII,etc) and compare them to the war in the novel
    • We will discuss the forms in which the media was able to distort the perception of the people during times of war
    • We will understand how the government uses the media to benefit from this distortion
  • Ending
    • We will have a final discussion on whether or not we believe the government is still trying to manipulate us through the media
    • We will make predictions on whether the propaganda in the novel will continue to manipulate the people or if somehow the party will somehow realize what is going and possibly rebel.

Here are some helpful links for your research:


1984 Lesson Plan: Book 3


  • Standard
    • Listening- 3.A.1- Explore and reflect on ideas while hearing and focusing attentively
  • Expectations
    • My group will understand how fear can motivate or stop a person from doing something
    • My group will be able to acknowledge the differences between strong fear and an all out phobia
  • Materials
    • Laptops opened up to my Wikispace
    • Pen/pencil or open up a word document on your laptops
  • Opening
    • I will show my group a PowerPoint on fear
    • We will discuss the PowerPoint

  • Middle
    • My group will write a response on the following questions:
      • What do you fear?
      • Do you believe that fear can be a motivating factor for a person?
      • Do you think that the people of the party followed Big Brother out of fear or because they did not know any better?
    • My group will have a quick discussion over the questions.
    • We will research phobias and how they have the power to control our lives... we will later have a discussion
  • Ending
    • We will look at the different phobias people have

Here are some links:
This website lists all of the different phobias people suffer from.
This website discusses the facts about phobias