Archive | December, 2011

A few notes:)

15 Dec

Well it’s 5:30 am here and I have a few minutes before our ride arrives to take us to the airport. There are a few more things that I want to make sure I get down so that I do not forget them.

The first one being that I absolutely loved our cook. Even though she did not know one word of English, she was so friendly and nice to us. She helped us numerous times, by washing our clothes, sheets, and towels, and she always brought us a yummy dinner and a loaf of bread to go with it! She also snuck us some extra chocolates 🙂 Yesterday we made her a little gift that consisted of a Red Towel, an Eiffel Tower key chain from Paris, a Kentucky map, a few snacks we brought from America, and an American dollar (which she told us she would laminate and use as a bookmark), and we wrote her a note thanking her for all she had for us. She was so excited for the gifts that she called us her children, told us she would miss us, and then went in for 2 big kisses!

Another thing I want to make sure I don’t forget is the arrangement of the school. I’m in the secondary building. The first floor is reception, the second floor is 1st and 2nd eso, the third floor is 3rd and 4th eso, the next 2 floors are Baccalaureate floors and labs, then their is a residence floor for the GAP students (The other students who are here teaching for a full year. They work primarily with the primary students.), and lastly is our flat. Each floor is pretty much divided in half, one side for each eso level. Then each eso level has 3 classrooms, A, B, and C. Two of the 3 rooms are enclosed with a glass wall and windows and the 3rd room is open with no doors or outer wall. (Which makes it very difficult when teaching. The students are easily distracted by people passing and if there is an activity where they talk, there voices echo through the whole hall and it gets loud.) In the middle of the 3 classrooms is just an open commons area for the whole eso. In the commons area there are desks, lockers, and portable laptops that can be used by the students in that eso.

My cooperating teacher was very nice. He was from Ireland and this was his first year at SEK, and from what I understood, it was his first year as a full time teacher. He also spoke no Spanish or Catalan, which sometimes made it difficult to talk to the other staff members who did not know any English.

My schedule:

  • School started at 9:30.
  • There were 3 classes from 9:30 – noon.
  • There was a breakfast break from noon to 12:30 everyday. During this break, we were served sandwiches, fruits, and coffee. Mondays and Fridays we always received sweets. On Mondays, they typically gave us nutella on bread or a chocolate bar with bread (which was surprisingly delicious!). On Fridays, we usually received some type of pastery.
  • There were 2 classes from 12:30 – 2:10.
  • Lunch started at 2:10 and ended at 3:30. However, the cafeteria stopped serving at 3:00.
  • There were 2 classes from 3:30 – 5:10.
  • Then, the day ended at 5:10 and all the students left for home.
  • Something that was very different that I noticed was that there were no daily announcements made over the intercom. There was also no bell to indicate that school started or ended.

Well those are just a few rough notes from the top of my head! I’m going to finish packing and then head home! I may be back to do some editing if I think of somethings on my trip home.

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Last Day at SEK.

14 Dec

Today was my final day at SEK. It has been a wonderful experience that I would not trade for anything. Today went very well. I taught 2nd eso A for 2 periods and 3rd eso A and B. In 2nd eso A we talked about meiosis and in 3rd eso A and B we continued with human reproduction. In the last 20 minutes of every class, I took the time to talk a little bit about the United States, myself, and the education system in Kentucky. I explained my university, Western Kentucky University, to them and showed them pictures of Big Red and the football team, basketball team, etc. I also explained our Red Towel tradition and sang the fight song for them (and after I sang it, each class gave me a round of applause:)). We also looked up WKU on Google maps, and I showed them spots on our campus such as Houchens/L.T. Smith Stadium and Feix Field, Diddle Arena, DUC, Preston Center, and a few of our academic buildings such as Gary Ransdell Hall and Tate Page Hall. They were so amazed by the size of our University campus! Even my supervising teacher was amazed at the size of the University and that we had so many stadiums/arenas on our campus. I then talked a little bit about our education system. Lastly, I gave each class a Big Red sticker that we placed in their classroom, and I gave each student a penny, which they really appreciated.

These past 4 weeks have been such a great experience. My cooperating teacher at SEK was very helpful. Before I left today I gave him a Red Towel to keep in the lab. I have really enjoyed my time in La Garriga and Barcelona, and it has taught me a lot about teaching and different strategies to use in my classroom. Time has flown, and I cannot believe my adventure in Spain will end in about 12 hours. WKU offered this great opportunity, and I am so glad that I had the chance to take it. I will miss my SEK students, but I can’t wait to get back to my family and friends, and I really can’t wait to start my new adventure in Grant Co. 🙂

ABOVE: 3rd eso B

ABOVE: 3rd eso A

ABOVE: 2nd eso A hard at work!

ABOVE: 2nd eso A

Adele?!

14 Dec

To start this blog, I must begin with a story of what happened in 3rd eso A today…The students in the class asked me to sing. I was very confused as to why they would want me to sing, because I do not have a good voice. They then told me that I had to have a good voice because I look like a music artist. Hm…I thought, a music artist…I wonder which one? They then went ahead and told me I look like Adele! Adele?? Well, I have to admit, that was definitely a new one…Never has anyone told me that I resemble Adele.

As for the rest of my day, it went very well! I successfully made it through 2nd eso A and B and 3rd eso A and B. We played a review game of mitosis and asexual reproduction in both 2nd eso A and B, and we took notes in 3rd eso A and B. I’ve really enjoyed teaching these classes, and I’m very sad that tomorrow will be my last day with these students. When I reminded the students that tomorrow will be my last day, the students in 3rd eso A all clapped for me and told me congratulations on graduation. One girl even raised her hand and told me that I will be a very good teacher when I return home, which is always nice to hear from a student. Tomorrow is our last day of classes at SEK, so I’m headed to bed to get some rest. I hope that I have made as much of a difference in my students’ lives as they have in mine.

Bonjour Paris!

13 Dec

Here is a bit about our weekend in Paris… When we arrived in Paris on Friday, we headed straight to our hotel and went to bed. It was an exhausting day of travel. We woke up early on Saturday morning and headed to the Arc de Triomphe, where we saw the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

  

After the Arc de Triomphe, we walked to the Eiffel Tower. When we made it to the Eiffel Tower we stopped for our first crepe, which was amazing!! I had a nutella and coconut crepe, which melted in my mouth.

After enjoying a crepe, we made our way to the top of the Eiffel Tower. It was so cold and took us about an hour to make it to the top, but it was worth it. We had an amazing view of the city and took some wonderful pictures.

  

We made it down from the Eiffel Tower, and after getting both coffee and hot chocolate (because again, it was so cold), we took a boat ride down the Seine River. Half way through the boat ride, we got off to see Notre Dame. This cathedral was very pretty. Its 850th anniversary is December 2012, so they are celebrating all next year, and completing many renovations in the Cathedral, some of which include new bells and fixing the organ.

 

After spending time at Notre Dame, we found the boat and headed back to the Eiffel Tower, which was absolutely beautiful at night. We then took a few snap shots, and finally headed to dinner.

Our desk clerk recommended a restaurant called Hippopotamus (well it was the French word for hippopotamus). When we got there it was packed. We had about a 30 minute wait before we got seated, but it wasn’t too bad. There were hippos everywhere in the restaurant, and in our sandwiches they put toothpicks that had hippos on them. It was a lot of fun and the food was delicious. Once we finished dinner and paid our bill, it was already around midnight, so we headed back to our hotel. When we arrived back to the hotel, I took off a few of my outer layers, got in bed, and fell right to sleep.

Sunday we woke up again fairly early, got ready, and headed into Paris. We stopped for breakfast, I had a delicious croissant and coffee, and then we headed to the Louvre Museum. There was a short line, but we made it through fairly quickly, and into the museum we went!

  

Once inside we made our way to Ramses II, Aphrodite, The Wedding Feast, and finally the Mona Lisa. It was so neat to finally see all of the pieces that we had heard about for years in real life. The Wedding Feast was huge and took up the entire wall! The Mona Lisa was on the opposite wall, and it was not nearly as large. It was behind a glass case and there was a line to approach the painting. I was able to snap a few pictures and even made my way to the front of the line to get a nice look. The experience was so surreal. I still cannot believe I was able to see the Mona Lisa in real life.

After the Louvre we wandered around Paris and looked at different street vendors and stores. I purchased a couple of Eiffel Tower key chains, ate dinner and another crepe, and then before I knew it was time to catch the taxi to the airport. We had an hour ride to the airport, made it through a very strict security fairly easily, and then got on the plane back to Barcelona! Yesterday, Monday, started our last week at SEK:( I cannot believe how quickly time has flown. I taught yesterday and this morning, and I am currently on a break before I teach more this afternoon. We spent last night in La Garriga and we plan to do the same tonight. I really need to start packing, but I am a little nervous as to how everything will fit back in my bag. Looks like I may have to sit on my bag in order to get it zipped! Oh well, it will be worth it!

Adventures in Park Guell

8 Dec

Thursday was spent exploring Park Guell in Barcelona. The park was commissioned by Eusebi Güell and designed by Antonio Gaudi. There is a house located in the park that Gaudi lived in at one time, and it is now a museum. The park was very different and full of colorful walk ways, picnic areas, etc. Below are a few pictures from the day.

After spending the day in the park, I attended mass with Amanda for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. We attended the local Catholic church in La Garriga. The service was in Spanish, but we took our English Bible and we were able to look up all of the verses that were read during the service. It was very interesting, and I really enjoyed attending a service that was in a foreign language. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming.

We are headed to Paris tomorrow after school, and I’m so excited! Should be a good weekend:)

Happy Hump Day!

7 Dec

Here are some pictures from the Vic Medieval Festival that I forgot to upload.

   
Yesterday, we did not have school because of a Holiday! So, we spent the day in Barcelona. Once we made it in town we took a lift to a castle. From the lift we got the most amazing view of the city.

Once we made it to the top of the lift, we had the opportunity to explore a castle that was used during war time. We met a policeman who told us the castle was over 3 centuries old. During wars, all of the town people would go inside the castle for protection. There were also cannons surrounding the castle. Since the castle was on top of the hill, it would have been a great place to bomb attacking enemies. From the castle, we had another amazing view of the city, along with a view of the Mediterranean Sea and the port. It was absolutely beautiful.

After the lift, we made our way by bus and by foot to the Mediterranean Sea. After about an hour of traveling, we finally made it to the beach for the first time!! I ran directly to the beach and put my feet in the Sea!! It was so exciting. The beach was smaller than the beaches one typically sees in Florida, but it was not as dirty or rocky as I had heard it described by people. While we were there, we saw a couple of surfers and sailboats. And, even though it was not warm, there were still a ton of people on the beach relaxing, reading, etc. (Since it was a holiday, most people were not working.)

Once we finished our time on the beach and in the sea, we headed to lunch, then back to Las Ramblas for a little more jewelry shopping, and lastly we made a quick stop at H&M before heading back to La Garriga.

Today was another good day at school. I taught 2nd and 3rd eso. During 2nd eso, we continued Mitosis. Today I had 2nd eso A for 2 periods, so during the first period they were given the assignment to take a song and change the words to deal with Mitosis. I gave them a few examples and then they had the whole period to come up with a song and practice. Then, when we met for the 2nd time that day, the students performed their songs. It actually went very well, and worked as a good review for the students since we had not met since Friday. Even though the students were pretty chatty today (because there was no school Monday or Tuesday and there is no school tomorrow), they really seemed to like the activity. Then during 3rd eso A and 3rd eso B, we played a game reviewing the male and female reproductive systems. The students were placed on 2 teams, and they actually got pretty competitive during the game. The game took about half of the class period, and then we continued with the female menstrual cycle.

We have tomorrow off because of another holiday, so we are headed back to Barcelona for probably our last day in the city. 😦 We plan on visiting the Park Guell by Gaudi, so I’m very excited!! 🙂

Vic Medieval Festival

5 Dec

This week ended very well with a wonderful Friday. I continued teaching the water cycle, mitosis, and the female reproductive system. The classes went well, and after school we went to La Garriga for dinner. On Saturday, I woke up and went on a nice morning run, and then we all headed into Barcelona. We visited the 1992 Olympic Stadium and ate dinner on the Mediterranean Sea. It was absolutely beautiful!! Then, on Sunday, we headed back to Barcelona and spent the day on Las Ramblas. Las Ramblas is a street full of vendors, restaurants, and cafes. We spent the day wandering up and down the street and for lunch we stopped and ate chicken paella, which was my first paella experience while in Spain. It was very good.

Today, there was no school, so we headed to the Medieval Festival in Vic. During medieval times, Vic was one of the most powerful cities in Catalonia. This was the 16th annual festival, and it was so much fun!! If you are ever near Barcelona in December, you should definitely go! There were streets full of that sold food, jewelry, headbands, swords, shields, and other knick-knack items. The men and women working the festival were dressed in medieval costumes and there were plenty of swords, shields, and costumes for sell. The food was also very good! We all had a delicious chicken sandwich and then we each sampled a different dessert. I had some type of coconut ball that was dipped in chocolate. It tasted just like a samoa Girl Scout cookie, except better. The festival was so much fun, and we had a great day exploring Vic:)