Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Packing

It has been a quick 4 weeks!

I didn't think I had bought very much, but packing to go home has been more difficult than packing to get here. It seems my stuff has multiplied! I think I have gotten everything packed minus my electronic stuff: computer, phone, chargers, converters, etc. That will all go in my backpack. We are going to run our suitcases down in a few minutes so we will have less to worry with tomorrow.

I wrote my final blog entry for SEK today. It was about my time at SEK and the differences with American schools. The entry can be found at SEK School Blog . If you scroll down, you can read all the ones that I have written (remember, look for the English ones). I also had 2 classes of 1 ESO. They were sad to see me leave. One class even chanted my name as the bell was ringing. Crazy kids!

Overall, today was bittersweet. I have enjoyed my time here and was really starting to form relationships with the students. They are getting use to me. But, I am so glad to be going home in time for the holidays. I am excited about the season and all that it brings. I am looking forward to this Sunday. My family is getting together and we are all going to make and decorate cookies!

I also just heard about my Teacher Work Sample...I got a 4 (out of 4)! I am super excited.

This will probably be my last post from Spain. We are leaving the school at 6:30 in the morning. Our flight out of Barcelona is at 10:15 am. We get to New York City (JFK airport) around 1:15 pm and then have a layover till 5:30 pm. At 5:30, we get on our last flight, that drops us off in Nashville at 7:05 pm. I have to admit, I am excited! I am ready to see my family and friends!

I think I will make my food list now:
Chili (with no beans)
tub of cookie dough from Sam's (with a spoon)
Rafferty's salad (ranch dressing)
lasagna (with meat; no tuna!)
ice water (with ice)
chicken fingers (no specifics)
rice crispies (with milk and sugar)

That should do it for a little while.

Only 11 days till Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Almost Done...

I woke up this morning determined to go to class. I actually made it through all my classes. I didn´t have a class the last hour, so I was done at 4:20.

I am still pretty sick. Jordi asked me today if I were ready to go home. I said yes, so that I can go to the doctor. He said, "oh no! They will think Spain is so bad. You got sick here!" Ha ha...I told him it was the weather and I would have gotten sick anywhere.

Our flight out of Barcelona is at 10:15 AM on Thursday. Our contact here at the school suggested that we get our bags packed and bring them down Wednesday afternoon, so we wont have to deal with them Thursday morning. The taxi is coming at 6:30 Thursday morning. Whew, that will be early since I have gotten used to school starting at 9:30!! So, I guess the rest of my night will be spent trying to relax, pack, and not get any sicker.

Schoolwise, things have been good. Last week, I had the 1 ESO students start doing time lines. It was basically just filler work to get through the holidays, or so I thought. While I was out yesterday and in class today, the teacher allowed them to continue working on their time lines. That makes nearly 3 hours of in class time to do a personal time line! I can't see that flying in most of the schools that I have been to in the US. I thought the excessive time was a little odd.


I forgot to mention this in my Paris post, but getting out of Paris has been the toughest security post yet! I took my shoes and jacket off, pulled out my 3 oz. of liquids, and had my passport ready. Yet, I somehow set off the metal detector when I went through it and my bag set off another detector. I had to be patted down and my bag was gone through by a security person. I was never sure why I got patted down, but my toothpaste didn't make it into my ziplock baggie, so they had to check on it.

Well, I am off for a nap and then to start packing. Adios!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weekend in Paris anyone?

Our last weekend student teaching abroad has concluded. It was awesome. We were in Paris! It seems like a dream that this time yesterday we shopping in the center of Paris. We got very lucky with the weather. It had rained for nearly 2 weeks straight, but cleared up on us all day Saturday and most of Sunday.

We saw the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower (twice), Notre Dame, and the Louvre. Everything seemed very spread out in Paris and very crowded. The trip up the Eiffel Tower took 3-4 hours. It was 15 degrees cooler in Paris than what we were used to in La Garriga or Barcelona. Here are just some pictures of the trip.
Our first stop was the Arc de Triomphe. Once you see it, you walk under the street to get to the actual monument. It is positioned in the middle of the city with a a spiderweb of streets coming out from it.
Me at the Arc de Triomphe
After the arc, we headed out to find the Eiffel Tower. It was so huge! This was the first full view of it we had.
Walked around the corner, looked up, and saw this. We thought we missed it!
Once we got closer, it looked even bigger. We walked under it to get in line to go up. There were army guys walking around with very big guns. We wondered if it were a special occasion or if this was normal.
View from the bottom
View from the top of the Eiffel Tower...that is the Arc de Triomphe
Just a cool picture of the tower...the bird wouldn't stay out of my shot.
Up next...the single, most important reason to go to Paris: the crepe! We experienced this 3 times! The first one is pictured below. The second one was chocolate and strawberries and the third was just nutella. I think I need to learn how to make these.
This was enough of a reason to go to Paris...Nutella and banana crepe!
Next, we hopped on a boat tour that took us to Notre Dame Cathedral. It was dark by this point, so it was very cold, but it was gorgeous with the Christmas tree lights on.
Notre Dame cathedral and the Christmas tree out front. I'm not sure which was more exciting for me.
 Then, back on the boat for a quick trip to the Eiffel Tower. It was all lit up and amazing.
Me at the Eiffel Tower at night, freezing
And here is a little clip of what we got to experience.

video

On Sunday, all we had left to see was the Louvre.

Me at the Louvre

The Mona Lisa
After the Louvre, lunch, and a little shopping, it was time to get back to the hotel. We grabbed our bags and had arranged for a taxi to take us to the airport. We landed back in Barcelona, and jumped in another taxi that took us straight to school. Overall, it was a very enjoyable weekend and a great last weekend trip for this journey.

Today is Monday and although I had a full schedule of classes, I did not go to any of them. I am still sick. And while I had fun this weekend, I think the cold air may have been a bad idea, health-wise. I was in the nurse's office getting medicine this morning for congestion. I can't hear out of my left ear. I am not sure if this is a result of the plane ride or the sinus infection. And from all the coughing in the last few weeks, I have pulled a muscle near my ribs...talk about sore! I can barely raise my arms above my head. Let me just say, I will be glad when the plane lands in Nashville in a few days and I can get to a real doctor and few shots!

All of my Paris pictures can be found here:  Paris 2011

I have updated my Barcelona pictures too:  Spain 2011

And if you missed them, here are my Rome pictures: Rome 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Going to be a great weekend...

This weekend, several of us are headed to Paris!! I am so excited! I have been there once before, many years ago. (Sarah, if you are reading my blog, I will try not to get into any trouble this time. LOL I guess its a good thing you aren't going with me!)

So far today, I woke up, showered, and headed to my first class. When I got there, Jordi told me he was sick (hopefully not my fault) and that he was going home. I wished him well, finished up the class, and then headed to Jesus' class to watch some time line presentations. 6 students went today. I heard about one student's stomach operation, one student going to school, at age 3, in China, and one student traveling so much, he needed a second passport! Whew!

After class, I headed back up to the technology room to see how the rest of my day was going to go. The door was locked. I took this as a sign of a free day for me. I came back to my room, napped, and finished packing for the weekend.

Since all of Jordi's technology classes are in Spanish, I can't do a whole lot in there. I have been writing bog entries and observing. However, last week, I was given a task! Woo hoo! He wants me to assemble a video yearbook of sorts. I am to take all the students' school pictures for the last 5 years, match all the students up, and develop a slideshow to show how much they have changed. Jordi says it will be displayed at the end of the school year. So, for several days last week and this week, this is what I have been working on. I started with 3 ESO, (Freshmen) and found all their pictures for the last 5 years. It was very interesting to see how much the students have changed! Hopefully, this project will keep me occupied till the middle of next week, when I return home.

Well, I am off to nap again before it is time to leave for Paris! I wish I had some Aleve Cold and Sinus right now!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Last Barcelona sightseeing adventure

Today, was our last day to go into Barcelona to sight see. Fortunately, we have seen everything there except for Guadi's Park Guell. We took a train to Barcelona and then bussed to the park. The park was like a huge maze. There were walkways and stairs all over the place.  We covered the majority of the park before we found food. Then, we were able to see all the mosaic tiling details in the center area.

Me and the Lizard

Sitting on the bench
One of the many entrances
So, my next picture is a shout out to my aunt Laura. When my brother Matthew and I were little, I remember a conversation we all had in the car about paying to poop. I have no idea what brought on this discussion or how it concluded, but I remember it being the funniest thing. We wondering if you were using the restroom when your time was up, if the door would just swing open. Well, today at the park, they had port-a-potties that you had to pay for! You actually had to insert coins before you could go in. Seeing them, brought a smile to my face as I remembered our car conversation.
Restrooms are called water closets
Today was a pretty easy day and a good way to wrap up our Barcelona adventures. Tomorrow, we leave for Paris! We will be leaving during last period to catch the train before traffic hits. I am not sure what all we are going to do in Paris, or if I will be able to blog while there. There are a few sights on our must see list: Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame cathedral, the Louvre, Moulin Rouge, etc.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. I will be thinking about all the Christmas goodies that my family will be making on Sunday. I hope there is plenty left when I get home!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hump day already?


Good morning all!

Today is Wednesday and the first day of school this week. We all went to Vic on Monday, and yesterday, several of us went to Barcelona. We got an earlier start by catching the 10:20 train with several things to do while in Barcelona. Up first was a ride on the tram from the Olympic area down to the Mediterranean Sea. Well, who knew there were two different trams in Barcelona? So, instead of getting to the beach, we found another cool sight, the Montjuïc Castle. It sits atop Montjuïc hill and was built in 1640 during the Reaper's War. The view from the top was amazing. You were able to see the city and the sea.
City View!
Sea View!
Me and the Sea!

Still wanting to get to the sea, we jumped on a bus headed down. We got off at a familiar stop and started walking. Some time later, we arrived at the beach! It was amazing. The sand was clean, the water was blue, and the waves crashing were amazing. (I borrowed some Mediterranean Sea sand and a few rocks.) We ate lunch/dinner at a restaurant nearby. I had roast chicken; it was delicious.
The Mediterranean Sea
Me and the Mediterranean Sea

After food, we headed back to the train, stopping a little to shop. On the way back to the train station, I was once again, pleasantly excited to see the Christmas decorations!




Update: my health is improving. I have one more dose of my miracle juice. Hopefully, I wont have to get more. Last night, was the first night I actually slept in several days. I still woke up coughing, but I was able to get some good rest. I have to get better...we're headed to Paris this weekend!

Also, today in technology class, I made a new blog entry. It can be found at SEK Blog . Enjoy! My two geography classes are doing presentations again on Friday. I found a website www.timetoast.com where the students can create timelines of their lives. They have been working on these in class and will present Friday. I will try to video and upload some highlights. I am learning some cool stuff about my students this way.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Not bad for a Monday

First things first, I visited a pharmacy today! The pharmacies are set up differently than in the United States. Any medicine, prescription or not, is behind the counter. I had to ask the pharmacist for something. Kudos to myself for writing down some of the keywords such as cough suppressant, sinus medication, non drowsy, decongestant, etc. beforehand. So, when it was my turn at the counter, I just showed the woman my paper with the words and she said, "ah, ok." She pointed to her head, and I said no, meaning I did not have a headache or fever, and then she disappeared. She went to the back, opened a drawer, and pulled out a bottle of miracle juice. I paid, left, found a bench, and took a big gulp....nasty! (It was definitely cough medicine!) Hopefully, after a couple of days it will help. I also purchased 8 rolls of cough drops.
My miracle juice...hopefully
 Next, we went to a nearby town, Vic, to the 16th annual Medieval Market and Festival. We had a really good time. It was much cooler than we expected, but I had a jacket, so I was good. The first thing we did was eat. We found a booth where they were cutting meat off a big mass of meat and slapping it on a roll...sounded good! The sign said ham, but it didn't really taste like ham. It had a really good smokey taste though. Next, we headed to the dessert booth. I bought donuts and a massive brownie. I ate a donut and saved the rest for later. There were lots of people walking around dressed in medieval attire. There were also places for little kids to buy swords and shields, ride donkeys, and play on a medieval playground. There was even a guy playing with fire and molding glass.
Medieval Market and Festival

A kabob booth
A funny story about the picture below. These people were dressed up at the medieval festival and playing around with all the children. I tried to snap a picture. When one of them realized what I was doing, they stopped moving and posed. I said, "thank you," and they came running over, excited that we were speaking English. She asked where we were from, I replied, "United States." She then said that one of them was going to visit the US in a few weeks, and in particular Pittsburgh. She asked where we were from and I replied with, "Kentucky." She got very excited and said, "chicken!" Its funny how Kentucky is known, even in Spain, for KFC. We shared a laugh (and then made sure they didn't steal our money).
Medieval Festival Performers
After walking around for several hours, we were ready to head back to La Garriga. We stopped for one last treat, a chocolate muffin filled with white chocolate...can you say, breakfast?
I hope this is as good as it looks...I will let you know tomorrow after breakfast!

We hopped back on the train and stopped at the store in La Garriga. I bought some really good chocolate, to bring home as gifts, of course. Tomorrow, we are heading back to Barcelona to tour some more.

Last Weekend in Barcelona

Good morning all! I apologize for not writing this weekend; it has been a little crazy. We went into Barcelona both days to sight see and shop, since this will be our last weekend opportunity. Next weekend, we are headed to Paris!

Saturday, we all slept in (or tried). My coughing had me up around 7:30. Took some medicine and relaxed till we left for the train. When we got to Barcelona, we headed straight for some gelato. Yum! Then, we made our way towards the 1992 Summer Olympics stadium. We couldn't believe that the Olympics were nearly 20 years ago. I remember watching them on television when I was little! After taking several pictures, we headed towards the Mediterranean Sea. Once there, we were basically starving and decided to find food, fast!
Mare Magnum restaurant where we ate dinner
We found this place right at the end of the pier that seated us at a window so we could look out over the Mediterranean Sea while we ate. The food was good. I had potatoes covered in a spicy sauce and chicken with asparagus. After eating, we headed back to the train station to catch the last train back to La Garriga. Of course, we stopped for gelato, again! After gelato, we were walking and amazed to see that the Christmas lights were turned on! Below is a movie of snowflakes dancing on the El Corte Ingles mall store front. I was crossing traffic, so it does turn sideways a little at one point. But this made my day! I love Christmas lights. If you listen, you can hear the music playing too!

Sunday
On Sunday, we wanted to get an earlier start to make sure we got a lot of shopping in. We headed to Barcelona and made our way to Las Ramblas, a lively promenade in the center of Barcelona. The street had shops on both sides and, on the weekends, booths set up of homemade items including jewelry, leather stuff, and art. We looped around this area twice to pick up some souvenirs and gifts for ourselves. I purchased my first piece of Barcelona art! It is a ceramic/oil painting of Casa Mila, a famous building in Barcelona designed by the Catalan architect, Gaudi. The painting is by a local artist, Elena Mendez.
My art purchase

We walked around the sea for a few hours and finally headed back to La Garriga so one of the girls could attend mass at 8 PM. It was a long day, but very enjoyable.

Today, Monday, we are heading to another town, Vic, for a medieval festival. We have heard that it is awesome! I will report back with my opinion. Also on the agenda, finding a pharmacy! I need some cough medicine!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Donkeys, Bats, and Chocolate...Oh my!

The week is over! I have to say that I am glad. I am still very sick and want some time to relax. Unfortunately, one of my roommates left us a few days ago due to medical problems. She went back to Kentucky to take care of herself and hopefully get better soon! Then, my other two flatmates left early this morning, headed to Paris! I hope they have a good time. But, with everyone leaving, that leaves me with the flat to myself. I hope the cooks are aware and don't bring me a refrigerator full of food!

Today, I gave my US Geography presentation for the fourth time. My teacher tells me its because its good. Anyways, the kids today were 2 ESO, so 8th graders. These particular students only take courses in Spanish, unlike the majority of the SEK students who take classes in Spanish and English. Therefore, there was definitely a language barrier between us today, yet we pieced the presentation together nicely. I told the students about the Grand Canyon and how some people will ride donkeys down to the bottom of it. First, I had to explain what a donkey was. All I could think of (start laughing now) was "ehh-ahh." I made sounds like a donkey until they understood. Once they understood, they wanted to know, "Why Americans ride donkeys to bottom of canyon?" I laughed and said that some Americans are weird. I also explained that Mammoth Cave has bats. My demonstration of a bat looked more like a chicken, but they got the gist.

While writing this blog entry, the cooks brought the food for the weekend. Apparently, they didn't get the memo that it was just going to be me. I tried to explain to them, but they didn't understand. So, I whipped out Google Translate on my laptop to communicate with them. They read and then said "ohhhh, solo!" They started laughing and making fat faces..ha ha. I guess I am still expected to eat everything. Here are a few pictures of all the food. Anyone want to swing by for dinner?


They thought that there would be two of us here over the weekend...I don't know any two people who could eat all of this in one weekend. I recognized spaghetti, pizza, salad, chicken (in 4 dishes), vegetables, etc. Also, notice two cartons of milk, 8 juice boxes, and a loaf of bread on top of the refrigerator. 

And yet there is more...a plate full of sweets and cakes, fruit, and 2 loaves of bread.




Still not done...everything red is a chocolate bar!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Robótica

I wanted to share with you a glimpse of what my 4 ESO students are doing in technology class. I know I have mentioned how cool the Lego Mindstorm kits are, but I wanted you to see first hand.

This first video is of a group of 3 students just starting to work with the motor and controller. That is my teacher, Jordi, in the striped shirt, showing them how to connect it.
video

This next video is of a pair of students working on their elevator. The video is after two days of assembling when they hit a roadblock. They were attempting to use gears to transfer the direction of power. But their gears are not matching up and the rod is not rigid enough to hold up the weight. This is problem solving at its best. What you don't see is that in the end, they scratch the idea of gears and go to a simpler pulley system.

And here are just a couple of other pictures of students working (Notice the pink walls, lol). I am also working on another blog entry for the school. I will post sometime in the middle of next week. We don't have school next Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday! I figured it; I only have 6 more school days here...that's crazy! Where has the time gone?





As mentioned, my flat is in the primary building above all the little kids' classrooms. There is nothing more hilarious than in the afternoon, when school is letting out and I am trying to get up to my flat, and am bombarded with 5 year olds barreling down the stairs, each with a rolling backpack. Seriously, are crayons that heavy that they need rolling backpacks?? Too cute! We have joked that most of the little kiddos are under the 50 lb weight limit and could be packed in our luggage.

Also, my mom told that one of my links from yesterday's blog couldn't be watched without a youtube account...sorry for that. If you missed it, go down and try it today. I think I fixed it. It is a quick watch, 2 minutes. US Geography Presentation 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

All I want for Christmas...

I taught my first real lesson today, about prehistory! Well, it wasn't exactly solving linear equations, but I did okay. I made a Prezi. You can find it here.... Prehistory Lesson . The kids were really into the presentation. They liked it. I included a youtube video about Lucy, the skeleton discovered in Ethiopia that is supposed to be an ancient human ancestor. They were excited, and asked many questions at the end. Because of my lack of content knowledge, my teacher stepped in and answered most of them. However, I picked up the slack when the kids wanted to know how tall Lucy was when the video said 3 and a half feet. Familiar with the metric system, this unit was meaningless to them. I did this lesson twice with the 1 ESO students (7th graders).

In my technology classes, two classes were building their robots out of legos today. I have to say, I know what I want for Christmas! They were having so much fun and learning at the same time. Watching the students problem solve, work together, and troubleshoot was awesome! I took lots of video for my teacher. I will try to post some soon. One group had an amazing design for a motorcycle on the accompanying design software. But, when it came time to actually build they ran into the issue of the connecting pieces not holding the desired shape. It was an engineer's dream. I had to stop myself from helping. (I did actually help two girls. They were getting frustrated and I wanted to play. Together, we figured it out.) I wish I could teach a class with legos when I get home. I will have to work on finessing that into the curriculum.

Since today is Wednesday, I wasn't suppose to have class after lunch. But, my geography/history teacher, Jesus, asked if I would give my US Geography presentation to a 2 ESO class right after lunch. I said sure. The kids were about 8th grade and very attentive. They listened and asked questions at the end. Although I talked for about 25 minutes throughout the presentation, I am including the slides so you can see what it looked like (around 2 minutes). US Geography Presentation 

I still do not feel well. I think it is a cold or sinuses. My throat/glands/nose are all messed up. I am trying to stay inside and get plenty of rest to get better. I am also eating a lot of clementines. I am hoping they are loaded with Vitamin C. I have eaten 2 every day this week for lunch. They are so good. That might be something I follow up on when I get back to BG. Also, the cook brought us a bag of chocolate bars tonight! That's awesome!

Well, I am off to try and make a timeline of my life for history class for Friday. We'll chat tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New SEK School Post

Below is the link to another school blog that I wrote. This week, it is about the upcoming food and toy drive that the school is hosting. There were 2 of my students that suggested making posters and hanging them around campus...2 girls! I was proud of them.

SEK School Blog

Just to make everyone aware of what I have to go through everyday at SEK, I am showing a picture of the breakdown of the number of stairs that I climb throughout the day. From the list, you can see that I go up/down nearly 4,000 stairs weekly! That's crazy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekend in Rome

This weekend, several of us ventured to Rome, Italy. We left school early, missing the last two classes after lunch on Friday. We walked to La Garriga, then hopped a train to the airport, flew an hour and half, and landed in the awesome city of Rome! We caught a taxi at the airport to our hotel. That alone was a trip that almost made me want to go back to Spain. The driver was a crazy driver, weaving and changing lanes without signaling. He was an expert at using the horn. (I wonder what the life expectancy or an Italian horn is?)

Once we arrived at our hotel, Hotel Giorgina, we dropped our bags off, and headed across the street for our first Italian meal. What else would you eat in Italy, but pizza! And it was amazing! Then, because that wasn't enough, we went next door for some gelato. Yummy! Finally, it was time to go to sleep our first night. It was super clean with 3 twin beds and one double, perfect for us 5 girls. We slept well and sound.
Hotel Giorgina
 Day 1
The next morning, we headed out to the Coliseum. It was amazing! We were able to walk all the way around it and take lots of pictures. It was cool and surreal to be standing in the Coliseum. Next, we walked towards Vatican City. The streets were fill of shops and boutiques. We stopped frequently to window shop and check the map. Fact: there are no street signs, the road names were carved into the building corners.
The Coliseum
The Coliseum
 At the Vatican, we toured St. Peter's Basilica. While I am not Catholic, this was still amazing. The detail and the feel of the building was not at all what I expected.  We went to the basement and saw where the Apostle Peter was buried and the tombs of other Popes. Up next, the view from the top! We climbed 551 stairs. Did you read that carefully? 551 stairs to the top of the Cupola to have the most amazing view of the city. 360 degrees of Rome, wow!
St. Peter's Basilica
 Once we climbed back down, we headed to the Vatican Museum to get a look at the Sistine Chapel. The museum was huge and it took a solid 15-20 minutes of walking to get to the famous room. Once there, it was pretty impressive. It was very crowded and you couldn't take pictures, but made me think about how he did it.

From here, we left and went to next Italian meal. After pizza, what else could you have, but pasta! I had a massive plate of spaghetti. It was the best spaghetti I have ever had. The noodles were perfect, and the sauce had cheese melted into it. And once again, finished off the meal with gelato.


After lunch (at 5PM), we headed to our next stop, the Trevi Fountain. We hit the fountain at a peak time; there were lots of people. It was dark so the fountain was all lit up and gorgeous. The fountain has a story that says if you throw a coin into it, you will one day return to Rome. Another story says you just make a wish while you throw a coin in the fountain. Well, I threw in 3 coins! I can't wait to see what happens!
Throwing my coin in, making my wish!

The Trevi Fountain


After the Trevi Fountain, we made our way back to the hotel. We stopped along the way to buy souvenirs and look in the shops. We rested for a bit at the hotel and then headed out again for dinner at the Pizza Forum. The place was recommended to us by Giovanni, the night desk clerk at the hotel. It was situated near the Coliseum, so we got to see the Coliseum again, at night, all lit up. This pizza place was different than the first one, because this was thick crust. The first night, we had thin crust. However, their thick crust would just be normal crust in America. But, it was delicious!  And from here, we walked back to the hotel and went to sleep.
My dinner

Day 2
Day 2 started with  hotel continental breakfast around 8:30. Then, we headed out to a couple of sights and shopping. We went to the Pantheon, toured, took pictures, and enjoyed our last Italian meal, spaghetti. I love Italian food! The Pantheon was free and very crowded, but still cool to visit. 
The Pantheon
 From the Pantheon, we headed to the Spanish Steps. This too was free and very crowded. It was interesting to see all the people just sitting on the steps and enjoying the day.
Spanish Steps




The Spanish Steps was the last major tourist thing we wanted to do. At this point, we were all tired. We headed back to the hotel, slowly, shopping along the way. We stopped for gelato, of course. At the hotel, we picked up our bags, talked to Giovanni for the last time, and jumped in our taxi to the airport. Good bye Rome.

The journey back to SEK (the school) was long. We caught our flight, which I think was late, that took us to the Barcelona airport. Then, from there, we had to get on the Aerobus to get us back to the center of Barcelona. Once there, we hopped on the night bus to La Garriga. And once we got off that bus, we had to walk 45 minutes at 2 AM to get back to school. I finally passed out in bed around 3 AM. Shew...it was a long day, but a great weekend. Overall, the trip the Rome was amazing. The people were so nice and friendly. They would smile and call us various names, "Angel", "Bella", etc. The city was fairly clean, busy, fun, and overall a great experience. I hope that my Trevi Fountain wishes come true and that I get to go back to Rome someday.

Finally...pictures! Here is the link to all my pictures of Rome. I am also adding the link to my Spain pictures.

Rome Pictures 2011

Spain Pictures 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

When in Rome...

We arrived safely a few hours ago! We have already had our first Italian pizza and gelato! It was amazing. We also made friends with the desk manager. He gave us a map to help with our touring. Everyone here so far, has been crazy nice and polite. I will write more when I get a chance.

TGIF

I hope that everyone has had a great Thanksgiving and is super busy right now with Black Friday shopping! I know my family is! All of us WKU'ers and the England GAP students attempted our own Thanksgiving feast last night. We had chicken, potatoes, corn, mac and cheese, and some other stuff. Afterwards, some of the girls enjoyed themselves by showing off their dance moves.


Several of us are leaving for Rome today. I am excited! We fly out tonight from Barcelona and will arrive back in Barcelona on Sunday night.

I woke up this morning somewhat sick. I think I have a cold. I am very achy and have a really sore throat. It hurts to swallow and my glands are swollen. Hopefully, I will feel better before we leave.

I don't have time to post a whole lot, because I am trying to get ready for my first class and packing for this weekend. But I did want to let my peeps know that I gave a presentation about American Geography, twice, to my 1 ESO classes on Friday. They loved it. They asked so many questions. I had never seen either class so well behaved and into the lesson. I must say I was as interactive and animated as I could be. I actually like these middle schoolers. I am going to teach secondary, but I am surprised by how much I like them. Since I talked a lot about the land features of the country and most are natural parks, I got really lucky because I had taken stickers from Mammoth Cave for all the kids. They loved them! I also took SKyTeach ink pens, that change color as they get warmer, and they flipped out! Most of them took two. It was a blast! And then my teacher complimented me on how well the presentation was. He said the students had fun but also learned. (I think that is the goal.) He asked if I would give the presentation to another class, that I don't teach, next week. I said sure! I will try to post the Powerpoint when I get back from Rome.

I am also working on another technology blog for my other teacher, Jordi. It should be up today. I need to interview a few students in class today.

Well, I need to sign off and get moving! It is exactly one month till Christmas! I am so excited!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thursday!

Or....Happy Thanksgiving!

To those of you in states, I hope you have a great holiday full of good food, good company, and good shopping deals! Sigh, I am missing Black Friday. Oh well, I know my mom and my aunts are more than making up for it wherever they decide to go.

Have a great day!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Since I left...


I have now been cell phone free for over a week and I have survived! It is currently being used as an overpriced alarm clock. I do have computer access at all times, but the cell phone has not been missed. I have been able to communicate to those I want to with Skype, my blog, email, and facebook. It has been nice not always having something in my pocket.

I have also been without some of my favorite foods since I left. For example, I have not seen anything resembling a pancake, grilled chicken, or popcorn since I have arrived. I have not had a single turkey sandwich, bowl of ravioli, or Taco Bell. Or salt! There is no salt or pepper to be found in this place. (Future students: Pack some seasonings! )But being here, I have learned to love my carbs. I eat bread, a lot of bread, daily. I eat fruit, a lot of fruit, daily. The fruit was actually a surprise to me. They keep fruit (apples, bananas, oranges, pears, clementines) in our flat, then they are also available at breakfast, morning snack, and lunch. Today, we had pizza for lunch. It was actually pretty good. Some of the food has been iffy. But the pizza was cheese with some type of pork on it, maybe ham pieces.

Today, was a pretty easy day. Jordi was gone to a UNICEF conference in Barcelona. I still went to class, with no students, and worked on the computer. I am giving a presentation tomorrow to my 1st ESO classes (12-13 year olds) about American Geography. Hmmm....I had to do some refreshing on this. So, I spent the majority of the day fighting Spanish Powerpoint to put together a presentation. Now, back in my flat, I have been able to work better with my English Powerpoint and thanks to Google images, am just about done. The rest of the gang went into town to gather supplies for our Thanksgiving feast tomorrow night.

Thanksgiving in Spain...should be interesting.

Below is a picture of what the outside of the school looks like when the students are released. Their school buses are more like greyhound buses.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Check this out!

Hey everyone...

One of my teachers, Jordi, keeps a blog for the school I am at. He asked me to write a post about what the 4th year secondary students are doing in the technology class. They are the ones that are playing with robots.

Here is the link to the blog. I wrote it in English. He told me to tell all my teachers that this is proof that I am working and not on vacation.

http://sekcatsecundaria.wordpress.com/



Enjoy!

PICTURES

Here is a link to all my pictures thus far.

https://picasaweb.google.com/tammijones83/Spain2011?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCKHtibygs9mFPg&feat=directlink

This link will still work when I update my album.


Go check them out!
video 

This is a video from one of my younger students classes. It is a History and Geography class, taught in English. These students are all around 12-13 and would be in 7th grade in the states. This clip is in the middle of class, while students were changing presentations. The man in the front in the red sweater is the teacher. Also, if you notice around 6-7 seconds, on the right, there is no door to this classroom. There is a half bookshelf and a large walkway. That is the entrance to the class. Outside this door, there are 3 other classrooms. This noise level is typical for this class. Enjoy!

Also, there is another entry below this one that I just posted as well. Make sure to check them both out!!

About the school...

This is going to be an overview of the school for those students that will be here in the future and others that are just curious.

  • School is from 9:30 to 5:10. There is a 30 minute break at 12 noon and then 1-1.5 hour break(depending on the class you are in) at 2:20 for lunch. On Wednesdays, there is no class in the afternoons. I am told that in the rest of Spain, most schools do not have class on Wednesday or Friday. Interesting...
  • The schedule here is very lax. I write that school starts at 9:30, but kids are still arriving 10 minutes or so after that. During the day, there is no allotted time for class changes or locker breaks. Therefore, if class is supposed to start at 11:10, then expect it to start around 11:20. Teachers do not arrive early to class. If they are there at 11:10, that is good enough. There is an occasional bell denoting that class is over, however students will just leave around the right time. 
  • The school is laid out so that most of the classrooms have walls of glass or no walls at all. I see this as a major cause for distractions, including both visually and auditory problems. Most of these kids seem to do fine with the extra noise and movements, however, they are still just kids. They notice changes. I think it has been more of an adjustment for me than them.
  • They will go to school until December 23. But they do not come back till January 9th. They celebrate another holiday on January 6, which is like Christmas again but just for little children. My teacher explained that it is when "the magic kings bring gifts to the infants."
  • Most(all but 2, maybe) girls have long, brown hair, usually straight or wavy. The boys all have short dark hair. All students wear uniforms and I have witnessed several teachers reminding students to tuck their shirts in. Girls all wear plaid skirts and tights while boys all wear jackets and ties. These items can be purchased at the school store for a price, and used clothing can be bought.
  • The biggest difference that I have noticed in my short time here is the classroom management. It is completely different. These students are very loud and talkative. Granted, I cannot confirm what their discussions are about since my Spanish is limited to 5 words, but Jordi assures me it is mostly work related. From what I have seen in the classrooms before my arrival in Spain, this would not be tolerated. I find all the talking and moving around to be disruptive and in some cases, disrespectful. Most of these students that are at this school, have been here for years and are used to it. There is also a lot of group/partner work in my classes that require communication with another student. This is different than most American schools that I have been a part of, where independent work is the majority.
Overall, I am finding this experience to be eye opening. It is amazing what these children can soak up and learn. And the vast difference in the teaching styles is crazy. I have questioned both of my teachers about the standards to which they are held to. I am wondering how they can get away with doing so many projects and group assignments and still cover all the necessary content, a frequent discussion among SKyTeach students. From what I can gather, the government does give them a curriculum to follow, but it is so broad that really anything can be taught. If I understand Jordi correctly, there are end of the year assessments that the students must take. It is the same test, "state" wide. He made it sound like it was multiple choice, but I hope to gain more information about this.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A few pictures...

This is my attempt at taking a creative picture.

I want one of these!!

Me at La Sagrada Familia

The train station at La Garriga where we catch the train to go to Barcelona.

Colonel Sanders in Barcelona!!

Look at all the motorbikes...This is their favorite way to travel.

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