Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Honesty and Initiative.

So I have this little notebook in my classroom that I use for keeping track of the kid's Spanish (or Korean) speaking.
All it entails is a vertical list of the student's numbers, and the days of the week written across the top. If they speak in Spanish in class, they must put a tally mark next to their name in that day's box.
Well, I haven't touched the thing for weeks! Someone, each Monday, sets up the page with the numbers and the days of the week. This past Monday, after school, I returned after school to see that not only had someone set up the columns for the week, but three students had tallied for Spanish usage!
I can't remember the last time I've actually told a kid not to speak Spanish in class.... they're just so honest about it.

I taught them about "taking the initiative" this week. (That was a common theme at home when I was young... right mom?). However, unlike last year, I taught it to describe what they were already doing, rather than what they should be doing.

Gotta love them.

In other news, there is no school tomorrow OR Friday, although tomorrow is an in-service day. And, I'm going away for the weekend. Expect some pictures soonish!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What you've missed...

Ok... so I felt a little guilty posting about the luxury beach vacation without posting anything about the daily life things that I've been doing lately. Here is my attempt to reconcile....

During our life science unit, we briefly studied animal instincts. The kids tried to build bird nests to demonstrate that they do NOT have that instinct!

Three of the Lincoln teachers and myself were invited to the home of my student, Zuriel (the little guy in the picture) for lunch. His brother Isaí is on the right. Their parents work at Lincoln and they are the most precious family! Just look at that sign above them, "Welcome to your Mexican house". After eating, we went to a local park and played football and soccer for a couple of hours. It was a really good time.... and quite possibly my first time playing soccer!

There are still friendly (or not so friendly) guests in our classrooms. This is a picture of a black widow that I was fortunate enough to watch as she caught her prey, a bee. I took a video and used my awesome Mac computer's abilities to create a video for my kids to watch. It was perfect timing since we were reading Charlotte's Web and also studying insect life cycles and food chains. I will try to post that video somehow, someday.

A couple of weeks ago was the fifth anniversary of the kid's club in Arenales, where some of us have been volunteering on Saturdays. There was a big party, and Holly, Christen, and I were in charge of face painting. It was a big hit, even though our designs were pretty bad since the only tools we were given were QTips and very sticky, thick paints. The kids didn't seem to mind, though. Of course. Only Americans like me have high expectations for all things, including face paints.

Megan, Melissa, Christen, and Myself
(On a side note, 4 Mexicans have now told Christen and I that we look like twins. She is the girl next to me in this picture. What do you think?? We don't see it.)

Birthday parties are a big deal here. The biggest so far for my class was Michelle's ... her mom brought lunch plates for each student in both third-grade classes, and gave out boxes of chocolates to each student after school!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Soy de Gua-da-la-ja-ra!

I had a bad attitude going into today. After school we had to participate in a festival, in which each class was required to prepare some kind of game or activity. Fortunately, my room-mothers are awesome and took care of a lot of stuff, bringing supplies and food to sell. However, I was still negative-feeling sorry for myself for not getting planning done before Friday, and thus having to work on the weekend.
I cheered up about everything, though. Our booth was the Water Balloon Toss. Noone really played it the right way, but it turned out to be really low-key, and VERY popular! What really changed my attitude was a short, funny conversation with a tiny and cute little boy.

boy: after hearing me speak in English: "ohhh.. hablas inglés?" (do you speak English?).
Me: ". Y tú? Hablas inglés?" (Yes, do you?)
boy: "No! Soy de Gua-da-la-ja-ra!" (No! I am from Gua-da-la-ja-ra)

I think you probably had to be there. But he made me laugh. And even though we were the last table to clean up (because the balloons became so popular that all the big kids wanted to buy them just to throw at people), I left feeling satisfied.

(Ok... so satisfaction came in a large part from the fact that we raised $100 for our class! All from water balloons and these snacks that look like styrofoam and taste like nothing until you smother them with chili, lime, and salt--a local favorite.)

Now I'm off to bible study.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Third Time's a Charm

I had been to the beach town of Manzanillo twice last year. I really didn't need to go again. However, when the opportunity presented itself to rent a private house on the beach - splitting the cost to make it affordable - I had to jump on it. Especially since it came after a particularly hard week and a year that, to date, hadn't given a day off yet.
I owe a big thank -you to Charla for spending most of Friday (our surprise day off of school) on the phone with a travel agent in Texas, and for getting us a price that ended up being $200 cheaper than the listed low-season price.
Can you believe that we could only round up 4 people to go? Well.. I guess that making the decision the day we wanted to leave didn't help our cause. At 6:00 p.m. we had the OK to come to the house that night. So Charla, Megan, Becca and I left at 6:40 to get to the bus stop at 7.
It was pretty spontaneous. But totally worth it . Check out the pictures below.

Waiting for the bus on the side of the street.

The front of the house.

One of the bedrooms. I am in love with the paintings in this house!

Grilling up some veggies!

A breakfast with a view!

This is our private pool/bar/grill in the back of the house, ON the beach.

The sunset view from the house.

Becca, Me, and Charla in our pool.

You can't help but praise the Creator at times like this!

The dining room... with more awesome art!

The inside view from the back doors

A pretty flower in a photo that I didn't rotate (sorry)!