I absolutely love being at an International School…it has really made me think about possibly teaching across seas (at least for a year or two). I feel like such a “newb” to have said I have only lived inside the DFW metroplex my entire life. These children as well as teachers have been exposed to so much of the world. Not only are they more knowledgable about different people and different cultures but they are also so much more accepting than what I see in the United States. In the United States when children get to a certain age…if someone is “different” than them, they stray away. It is so far from that here. Everyone is different, there is no normal. This is what I love. This is what I will bring to my classroom, whether I am teaching in a small town in Texas or across seas in another country.
Today was quite a long, rainy, and cold day. The morning started off very slow. I could NOT wake up for the sake of me. I drank 2 cafe au lait, one with a shot of expresso…no help. Finally after our language arts and phonics in the morning, I slowly began to wake up. Our morning looked quite similar to yesterday because we were still continuing to work on the same activities (3D penguins and lost posters) except we also had library this morning. Library here looks very similar to library in the United States. The librarian reads a story to the children, they check out books, and then get to look at books for the remainder of time. The library is labeled with leveled books so the students can choose a book that is of their level. There is the yellow, red, green, and blue sections. There is also a section that you see below labeled “mother tongue picture books” which has books in languages of the students. For example: Dutch, Spanish, French, German, and Italian.
After our hour lunch 🙂 the class had maths. I don’t know why they call it “maths” not just math here. I am going to ask about that tomorrow…Maths was very short today. I feel like majority of the time spent during the day is focused on the stations. Math is one of the stations that the students complete in small group with Ms. Lisa but it involves just one quick activity. The whole group maths time today was focused on money. Next Wednesday, the school has student led conferences which basically involves the teachers sitting back and the students showing their parents around the room (the different stations) for the whole first half of the day–since Wednesday is a half day. Because of this, we have set up a store in the room with priced items. The students are learning about how to count money. They are then able to purchase different items in the store. Today, the students started this station. One student would be the cashier and others would pay the cashier for items they found and wanted to purchase. Before this, the class went over the different coins they have in Europe. They went over the 50cent, 20 cent, 10 cent, 5 cent, 2 cent, and 1 cent. They also discussed the 1 euro and 2 euro although all items in the store are under 50cents because the students are just beginning to learn.
At the end of the day, I went to another year 1 classroom for mother tongue and to help with home time because the assistant teacher had left. Mother tongue is every Tuesday. This classroom (1W)—they call each class by the room number (so my classroom is 1R)—in 1W the students read books in Chinese with their year 2 partner as well as Spanish. I read English to another group of students who spoke English and were also from parts of the World such as Africa and did not have a year 2 mother tongue partner. It was interesting getting to see another group of year 1 kiddos as well as work with another year 1 teacher who was also fabulous. I really am falling more in love with this school every day!!! Can’t wait for tomorrow 🙂
In the picture to the right, Ms. Russell is holding “WALT” who is their talking puppet. Walt encourages the students to ask questions about what they are learning that day. Walt answers to the children. This is a good way to help the students feel like they are hearing from someone besides only their teacher. To the left, Ms. Russell is at the teacher-student small group table…similar to “the teacher table” in the United States. She works with small groups during centers every day (either math, reading, or writing). When Ms. Lisa does small group, she takes the students to a quiet place outside the classroom. This is wonderful because then there is only a small amount of students left working on the other stations, helping the room from getting too noisy and students are more able to focus on their work.