Sunday, September 29, 2013

Settling In To Our New Normal.

Tomorrow starts week six. In the first five weeks we've celebrated Día del Niño, marched in the parade, practiced for the parade, learned routines and classroom procedures, and managed to squeeze in a little bit of actual learning. Stress on the little bit.

Independence Day Parade.

Independence Day Parade.

Please. Don't look so excited.
Día del Niño.

The kids, as usual, are fantastic. A little bit challenging, slightly difficult to understand, and sometimes a bit cranky, but always fantastic. 

It seems that a lightbulb has switched on for Grade Two in the past week and the amount of English they have begun speaking has increased exponentially. It isn't even comparable to stepping into a classroom in the States, but I'd say that about 75% of us are speaking English about 50% of the time. Which is an improvement. 

Grade One continues to blow me away at how SMART they are! I'm still not exactly sure what to do with them. We'd been learning about how the sun is a star, the earth is a planet, and the moon is a satellite. Miss Caitlin is not an artist, so when I drew the moon, it had more resemblance to a banana. For the next couple of weeks I had all the students proclaiming that the sun is a star and the moon is a really big banana.

While life in Honduras is rarely ever dull, it quickly becomes routine for me and it always seems like there's less and less to report. Outside of school hours, I lead a pretty regular, boring life. I grocery shop, I get my hair cut, I cheer on my Tribe every night. Being a teacher here isn't much different from being a teacher in the States. Except the food labels at the grocery store are in Spanish, my hair dresser doesn't speak English, and I have to listen to Tom Hamilton on the radio as opposed to actually being at the Jake.

Just another day in the life.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Differences Between Grade One and Two.

I adore my Grade Twos. Absolutely adore them. We worked so. hard. to get to this point. We traveled to hell and back together last year. You think I'm exaggerating, but you weren't there. They were a tough, little bunch. And their teacher was a real stickler, as well.

But they're some of my favorite little kiddos in school and I look forward to seeing their faces every morning.

That being said, this year's Grade One class is a complete 180 from the Grade Twos. When I tell Grade One to be quiet, they actually do it. I tell them not to touch something and 20 of the 23 of them won't touch it. It's all still a little bit weird to me. Awesome. But weird.

Since we aren't spending quite as much time correcting behavior (ie: no one is stabbing anyone else with a pencil), we have so much more time to do fun things. Like crafts. (I prefer the word in Spanish, manualidad, as opposed to craft. Craft makes it sounds frivolous. Manualidad makes it sound like there's a purpose.) We're focusing on reviewing the letters in Language class and spend one day per letter. The kids already learned their letters in Kinder and Prepa, so we're just reviewing. This week we covered letters A-D. Check out our super cute manualidad for letter D.

I know, I know. Right?! Too adorable to even handle. I can't take credit for the idea, I found it somewhere on Pinterest. But I can, and will, take credit for adding the duck habitat to the back. Gotta add science in there when ya can, right?

Oh Grade One. The possibilities are endless with you this year and I can't even wait to see what shenanigans we can get ourselves into.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How Did YOU Feel On The First Day Of School?

Does the excitement of the first day of school ever go away? I was so, so, SO excited to see all my kids again on Wednesday. I was asleep before my head ever hit the pillow Thursday night and up the second my alarm started buzzing on Wednesday morning.

I am so happy to be back with my kids again this year. I'll be working with last year's Grade One students as this year's Grade Twos and will have a new batch of kids for Grade One. Despite the fact that this year's Grade Two kids are still a little bit insane, I think we're going to have a great year as it is our second year together and we already know each other.

Throughout the first week we had worked on various back to school activities. Grade Two is reading The Kissing Hand and Grade One is working on classroom routines and procedures with the help of Clifford and Clifford's Manners. Grade Two is already showing lots of improvements from last year and we've been able to have some great discussions about their feelings on the first day of school, how others could be feeling, etc.

I'm astounded at how smart Grade One is this year! They are FLYING through material already and are picking up a lot English. I'm excited to get to know each of them individually and to see what different sorts of activities we'll be able to do together this year.  It's still a little crazy to me how a different set of students can learn the same material entirely differently than the year before.

If you have read any previous blog post, you know that Grade One (current Grade Twos) and I went through our fair share of challenges last year. We went through a lot together and I didn't always realize how far each student came. This year's Grade Ones are fantastic, but they aren't starting the year where the students last year finished. Duh, right? Its through interacting with an entirely new group of Grade Ones that I realize how far each one of my current Grade Twos came in the year. I am so, so proud of each and every one of them and so blessed to be able to be their teacher for a second year.