Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I have been working with the nursery teachers (three year olds) since the beginning of last week for about an hour each day. There are three nursery classes so it's hard for me to remember all of the children's names. Comparing nursery students to kinder students, I can see a huge difference in their English vocabulary. Kinders are required to speak only English in the classroom, but nursery students are still learning their native language. I was reading a story to a nursery class one day last week and the children kept commenting and answering my questions in Spanish, so the teacher had to translate everything for me. I have noticed too, that the nursery students get more free time to play in the classroom, where as kinder students get the end of the day to free play. In the states preschool has to be given over two hours of free play in the classroom on top of outside time. The students at St. Paul's get three opportunities to go outside every day and the playground for these younger students is equipped with toys you would find in American classrooms like blocks, cars, sand, etc.

On Tuesday, several of us helped a teacher create displays for the Roald Dahl's revolting rhymes. The teacher, Richard, talked to us about tips for creating the displays in our own classrooms. It was really fun working on the boards for most of the morning!

Today, I helped a teacher implement a game where the children had to roll dice and put the correct amount of counters on the spaces and who ever reached the castle at the top of the beanstalk won. The children loved it! Then the teacher, Lucie, passed out number books that had beanstalks with numbers written on the leaves. Students had to fill in the missing numbers. I helped a child who was having trouble recognizing the order of the numbers.

Today, I also learned that the children in kinder learn how to write their name and learn the sounds of the letters in their name, but don't learn the actual letter name. Lucie told me that the students learn how to read and write the next year in prep. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Ireland and the upcoming school week!

I arrived in Ireland around 1:00 a.m. where we were greeted by one of the owners of the bed and breakfast we stayed at. Des and Shanade were the most friendly people I've ever met! They went out of their way to literally run to show us our bus stop before we missed it, given us a cell phone in case we got lost while we walked nine hours through the country side, given us the master key of their house in case they weren't home when they got back, and drove us to castles and train stations! 
The first day in Ireland, it was rainy and we had booked a free tour of Dublin. However, we got lost while walking in Dublin, so we missed the tour. We ventured on our own to take a tour of the Dublin Castle and courtyard. In this castle, the Presidents of Ireland are inaugurated in one of the main rooms. After the castle, we found St. Patrick's Cathedral, which is the largest church in the country of Ireland. I learned that the Author of Gulliver's Travels, Johnathan Swift, was a Dean at the church for several years (so of course I had to buy the book)! 

The next day, and my favorite day, we took a train to Howth. We walked about for over nine hours exploring the countryside: it was absolutely breath-taking! I had never seen grass so green and the air was so crisp. I will most definitely be going back to Ireland some day! Des and Shanade even told us we could come back anytime, free of charge. Not only did they become my friends, but I was able to meet other guests. I met a girl from England, a girl from Italy, and our last night there, we met a couple from Canada. 

We also explored Trinity College's campus and took a tour to see the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is one of the oldest books in the world comprised of four gospels. They were written in Latin, so I was unable to read it, but the amount of detail in the pictures and writing was astonishing.
It was bittersweet leaving Ireland, but I am looking forward to our first full week of school since I have been in Barcelona. Tomorrow I will be doing a lesson with the kinder group on recognizing and writing numbers 0-10. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Week Two

Over the weekend, my friend's host family invited me to Park Quell. It was beautiful there! I will try to go there again before I head back to the States. 
After the park we went to the Picasso Museum and got a 50% discount for being 25 or under! The exhibit showed his work as well as local work that was dedicated to the museum for it's 50th anniversary.

Then we met her family again and they showed us shopping centers and parts of town that tourists don't really venture into. They took us to a restaurant called, Mercant Princesa. This restaurant had five or six stations and you order from any of them. We got several tapas and split the meal. I even tried olives stuffed with anchovies and small fried fish: it was actually very delicious! I just couldn't look at my food while eating!

At the end of the day, the family invited me to go with them on a tour of the Torres Vineyard and to a picnic on the beach. On the tour, we learned about the history of the Torres family and the process of how they make wine and had samples. Then at the beach, I had a raw salmon sandwich with cream cheese...not a fan, but the beach was beautiful! 

This week at the school, it is book week. An American author was invited to the school. He read several poems and books to the children and they loved it. This whole week, the entire school is learning about the author, Roald Dahl. Most of his short fairy tales are too gruesome for the children I am working with, so they are learning about Jack and the Beanstalk. Today was also my first time assisting in the nursery with three year olds. I am excited about this week because I will be implementing several of the lessons in the kinder classes, then Wednesday night I'm off to Ireland for our Labor day break! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day One

Today was my first day of school. We had a meeting with the director of St. Paul's School and then we met our mentors. I would have been with first and second grade, but I told the mentor what my major was and she asked the Early Years director if I could go to a younger age group because it would be more beneficial. Now, I am in the kinder age group. Schools here are completely different from the U.S. In Spain, as soon as a child turns three they are enrolled in school. At this particular school, there is nursery, kinder, prep, then first grade and up. Students attend this school until they turn eighteen.

In my kinder class, children are learning to write their names, writing numbers zero through five, and recognizing numbers 0-10. Today I was able to sit in on the Kinder teacher's planning and helped think of ideas for a display they will be doing over Jack and the Beanstalk. Starting next week, I will be implementing activities in all three kinder classrooms. I am ready to accept the challenge!

While, we were at school, we learned about the holiday, St. Jordi, which is basically like our Valentine's day. All the men get women roses and women get men books. Streets are lined with roses and book kiosks. We went to the Centre of Barcelona and traveled down La Rambla. The Centre was packed because of the holiday. It was quite a site!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Whole New World

This morning we arrived at the Barcelona Airport. We showed our passports and claimed luggage. Our contact person from St. Paul's School was waiting for us and greeted us with kisses on the cheek. While he was talking and walking through the airport with us, it still hadn't hit me that I was in Spain. Then he told us that we would be divided into pairs and we would be getting a taxi. He gave several of us a post it note with the address of the residency and euros to pay for the taxi. When he told us how to ask for the receipt in Spanish was when I realized I was in Spain. I had never rode in a taxi before, but this was a great first experience!
Upon arrival of our residency, Emilie de Villeneuve, we were introduced the the director where we were told about house rules and given a tour of the facility. We were given keys to our own rooms equipped with a sink. This is a residency for female students who are International Students. The residency is also home to several nuns who work at the reception desk and other areas of the facility.
After the tour, our contact person showed us the bus stop we would be taking to arrive at our school. He took us to a place where we could buy public transportation passes. Then he took us on a tour of the school. It was beautiful and different from any school I had ever seen! He told us that most schools in this area used to be mansions that were converted to schools.
When we were finished, he took us to a local supermarket where we were able to buy some snacks. He told us that if we wanted to go to a restaurant to eat dinner, they would not be serving until 8:30 at night. He also told us that during school days, breakfast is usually around 10:45am and it could be anything from a sandwich to cookies! Then our lunch, which is the biggest meal of the day, will be after 1:00.

Link to Emilie de Villeneuve

Link to St. Paul's School

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Beginning

Today I celebrated Easter at my grandparent's house: it was great to spend time with my family before I board a plane to Barcelona, Spain. In just a few hours I will be arriving at the airport and it still hasn't hit me that I will be in another country, interacting with students in a first and second grade classroom. This is going to be an amazing experience that I am fortunate to have!