I was Invited to teach the workshop because a year ago I visited my friend (Dr. Micha Espinoza) who is a professor at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (where my wife Haley completed her Master's degree) and her husband (Marcelino Quinonez introduced me to Maria Chacom (one of the main organizers of the MECHA conference). They were looking for presenters and workshop teachers to contribute to the conference.
The main goal of the MECHA conference is to inspire junior and senior high school students to celebrate and explore their Latino roots.
In my case, I was charge of teaching a workshop in Mayan Hieroglyphic Writing. During the two workshops that I taught (about 45 minutes each), I first introduced the students to the importance of writing in the Ancient Classic Mayan civilization, talking a little bit about every aspect of the tradition of writing, its use in the Mayan calendar calculations and predictions, the origin of the writing system, and the nature of the hieroglyphic script.
Next, we moved on to solving some problems in which the students had to decode some Mayan glyphs, convert them into syllables, and finally into real spoken Mayan words. (This proved to be very difficult for the students and some commented that the symbols and signs were totally alien to them.)
Finally, we worked on the exercise of writing their names and the names of their towns or cities in Mayan glyphs. A proposed way or writing Phoenix (the place of the fiery bird) was presented to the students.