Saturday, December 15, 2012

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.

Christmas has slowly started taking over CEE. All of the classroom doors are decorated with various Christmas paraphernalia, as well as the comedor and library. Sarah's gone all out decorating each of her classroom and, not to be left out, we've done our fair share of decorating in Grade 1 and 2.

Grade 2 got the ball rolling by decorating paper Christmas ornaments and hanging them on the Christmas tree on our giant bulletin board. We also colored Christmas stockings that are now hanging throughout the classroom. Just to lift our holiday spirits some more, we did all this while listening to Christmas music. Which included listening to "Feliz Navidad" on repeat. Over and over and over again. Just a little bilingual fun at the bilingual school.

Grade 1 quickly followed suit by making paper plate snow globes and strings of paper Christmas lights with their names written on them. They've been begging me to decorate Christmas stockings and Christmas ornaments, so that's on this week's agenda.

Reading Buddies has been a HUGE part of our Christmas festivities as they've really helped my kiddos with all their Christmas crafts.

Each day we read a little bit of the Christmas story and then talk about the real meaning of Christmas. No presents here, these kids are all about Jesus. And fireworks. Christmas and fireworks go hand in hand down here in Honduras.

Our Christmas party is coming up this week and I just cannot wait to celebrate with my Grade 2's. As much as we all love each other, we're all ready for a break.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice...

...that's what my Grade Ones are made of.
I adore my Grade Ones. We've had weeks worth of struggles and there are certainly still days where we are all staring at the clock, counting down until 2:15. But that doesn't mean that we don't love each other. Drive each other crazy? Yes. Love each other at the end of the day? Yes.

My cuties.
But it has taken us a long time to get to this place. We've put in weeks worth of routines and butting heads and tears before finally reaching this place where we actually enjoy being together. I wanted to share some of my joys, as well as struggles, with everyone here at CEE, so Cristian and I decided to switch classes for one class today. He taught my Grade Ones while I taught his Grade Threes. Hands down Grade Three is the easier class. Poor Cristian had no idea what he was getting himself into when he agreed to this.
So I teach two classes of Grade One before Cristian comes into my room. I explain to my Grade Ones that I had to go somewhere, that Mr. Cristian would be their teacher, and that I expected them to be on their verrrrrry best behavior. I walk out the door, smirking to myself, and head on up to Grade Three.
Easiest 40 minutes of my life. The kids were engaged, they were quiet, they participated. We made a little deal that if they could all get to "Terrific", I would give them each a Siguabuck. We finished class a little early, so I gave them about three minutes to talk to each other. They chose not to. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I almost wanted to shut the door, teach through recess, and let the kids go home early at the end of the day. It was incredible. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for Mr. Cristian's experience in Grade One.
While I wasn't there and can't say exactly how the students behaved, I can say that my Grade Ones weren't exactly at the top of their game today. Not exactly the best day for a guest teacher and certainly not showcasing off their best behaviors. I definitely received a negative report from all teachers involved and a firm "I am NEVER doing that again!" from Mr. Cristian.
Despite the fact that it was a nice, easy break in my day and the fact that my Grade Ones were downright dreadful, I was glad to return to the classroom after recess. They were nowhere near as calm as Grade Three, but they're mine. My precious, rambuctious, wild Grade Ones. Who are funny and goofy and really, really smart. They've got a tough exterior, but crack through that and the tough exterior actually seems worth it.
Mr. Cristian might not be coming back to Grade One for a long, long time, but that's okay. Because I couldn't imagine giving them to anyone else.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dive In And Explore Grade One And Two!

Pretty catchy title, huh? It works wonderfully for my underwater bulletin board and my sad attempt to have an underwater themed classroom.

I know it's hard to believe, but I am actually living in Honduras because I am working here. I'm not just here taking a nice little vacation, hanging out with friends, and traveling on the weekends. But I promise you-- my Monday through Friday is a whole different sort of enjoyable.

My Grade Ones are improving each and every day. They can now recite our class rules to me without any prompting-- thank the Lord. We're working on actually being able to follow the class rules, but as of this week, they have been able to tell me that I moved their clip down because they broke rule number 3. While I'm not a fan of how I'm a slave to the clip chart these days, it's working for my kiddos, so I'll put it up with it.

Grade Twos and I are kind of at a stand-still right now. We aren't doing terrible, but we certainly aren't on a roll or anything. Between the cold temperatures and overcast skies and the fact that Christmas vacation is just too far out of reach to be able to count down to it, we're all a little antsy. Their attention spans are short and my patience is even shorter. We're making it work, but no one is absolutely loving it.

I feel like I say this every time I talk about what is going on at school, but there is ALWAYS so much going on! In the month of Novemeber we had the CEE Anniversary, the Spelling Bee, a couple different birthday parties, and some fun activities in Grade One.

Since pictures can explain these events better than words can, I've uploaded some of the winning shots for your viewing pleasure.

CEE Anniversary

The Spelling Bee

Grade One Science

Sunday, December 2, 2012

PANACAM-- Where the Scenery is Beautiful and the Guests are Cranky.

Disclaimer: Personally, I loved this trip. I had an amazing time with my friends and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was with my some of my closest friends here in Honduras on top of a beautiful mountains. While the weekend did have it's ups and downs, I would give it a positive rating overall. My tone in the following play-by-play doesn't exactly convey that, but it's true. The weekend spent in PANACAM was filled to the absolute brim with adventures, laughter, and memories as well as a lot of crankiness. Mostly memories though.
Another weekend, another set of travel plans, right? Absolutely right. This weekend we packed up and headed up to PANACAM which is a forest (rainforest?) with great hiking. Our entourage consisted of myself, Sarah, Cristian, Hector, Daniel, Ricky, Ricky's friend, Lauren, and Erika. We had a bit of a late start while leaving (shocker) and arrived at PANACAM around 6:15ish. In theory.
Yojoa from PANACAM Lodge
Weekend Adventure #1. We were in the final stretch of our drive to PANACAM. Quite literally in the driveway to the hotel we were staying at, about five-ten minutes from our final destiantion. It's dark and rainy and there was a giant delivery truck blocking the road. As in, it was horizontally across the road making it quite impassable for us. So we turn around, find out there is no other way up to PANACAM Lodge, and wait for something to happen. And wait. And wait. And wait until we finally got a hold of the people at PANACAM who said they would drive down to the truck and then walk to meet us. We could leave our cars at the pulperia where we were waiting and get them in the morning. Sounds like a legitimate plan, correct? Except it was raining and dark and we all had our backpacks and blankets and it was at least a 45 minute walk. Idea vetoed. We eventually found some people who would let us park at their house, drive us to the truck that was blocking the road, and then the people from PANACAM would drive us the rest of the way. Honduran people have such big hearts.
We arrive at PANACAM Lodge, get settled in to our college dorm room/ camp cabin, and make our way to the restaurant for dinner. It's about 8:45pm at this point, so I think it's safe to say that the restaurant staff was less than pleased with us. We ate some dinner, played some cards, moved to a table outside, built a fire, played some more cards, and finally quit when we were all cheating so badly that we couldn't actually finish a game. That was around....2am.
Despite the nights adventures and the intense card gaming, some of us still couldn't fall asleep once we got back to the room and ending up having some intense teacher bonding. It was needed and successful, don't even worry.
A late breakfast and some hummingbird watching before starting on what turned into a treacherous hike. The hike itself was diffcult, but managable. I survived and enjoyed it, but it was certainly tough. But EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of us was wearing our cranky pants. Cranky. Cranky. Cranky. It was too hot, the hike was too far, we were too hungry, we were too thirsty, we didn't know this is what we were getting ourselves into, the hike was too hard, we were too tired. If there was something to complain about, I can certainly guarantee we complained about it.
We finish the hike, shower, all ready to go back to Sigua. Oh wait, the truck that is supposed to drive you down the mountain to the pulperia isn't here, just wait over there. Fine, done. OH WAIT. You have to wait TWO hours. Now let me tell you, out of the five of us who completed the hike and were waiting to drive back to Sigua, there were ZERO people who dealt with hunger well. You can only imagine the crankiness and nastiness that ensued. We were not pleasant people to be around. We finally made it to the pulperia and stopped for dinner at the lake. After consuming some tasty, tasty fish, we were back to our normal selves.
At the top. Hot, sweaty, and so cranky.
Roll into Sigua late on Saturday night and I was asleep the second I touched the bed. Oh PANACAM, you provided me with more 5 Year Perspective stories than anything else has in a long, long time.