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.