Tag Archives: students

5th Grade

11 Feb

With my counterpart this morning, we made some teacher observations and held discussion at a village school.

On these visits, I am often surprised at how vastly different the schools feel from the U.S. schools I am used to; the buildings, the classroom organization, the teaching schedule, the teachers themselves, the students’ behaviors –  so many of these paradigms I believe to be so concretely associated with education and students and kids arrange themselves in a very different manner here.

While working with a fifth grade class today, I was surprised at their level of intensity. The English lesson was very traditional: a lot of memorization and heavy repetition and recitation. The students, while antsy, modeled their best behavior for us guests.

I was beginning to view them as an almost new variety of student – some vastly different beings able to push away anxious energies in order to call out “Teacher, Teacher!” with waving hands to translate the grammar topic for the day.

And then someone farted.

A small boy in back let out the loudest toot that ever tooted. The whole class burst into boisterous, uncontrollable fits and giggles.  The teacher, having none of it, tried to regain their focus, but it was too late. For the remaining ten minutes of class, all students shot glances at their peer, waving fingers in front of noses and rolling eyes at the poor little fellow who just couldn’t help it. It turns out, despite organization and structure, kids are kids no matter where you are.

And farts, of course, are always funny.

A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands,
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he.  – Walt Whitman

Thursday Rundown (2)

16 Jan

I tried to decide just one simple moment from this Thursday to share, but like last week, today was full from morning til evening.  You’ll just have to bear with me (or ignore if you’d rather!) as I think each Thursday’s post will have to be a bit of a rambling to share all the cool things that happen.  Even better though, team, this week’s comes complete with some stellar photos – hollah!

Thursday, January 16th

I started the day with my sitemate visiting our wonderful 4th form students.  Today we began by reviwing Old MacDonald, which just cracks me up to no end.  We gave the children free reigns to draw whatever animals they want; our farm is crawling with lions DSCN8341and fish and horses – all which make the best noises ever. I cut and glued their drawings onto separate sheets of construction paper to model their hard work; they don’t often get the chance to draw and hang their work in the classroom and they LOVED to use their pictures in the song.  My favorite part, though, was

old macdonald had a mouse... of course.

old macdonald had a mouse… of course.

teaching them the “th” sound which Azerbaijani does not use.  We made them all stick their tongues out and really make it sloppy and awesome – they were so embarrassed but it was great to hear the changes in their speaking. On that farm with a “roar roar” here and there never sounded so sassy and perfect.

We also worked a little on introductions.  Each student colored a sheet with their names and we had such a great time walking

Just some of my students with their name sheets.  My favorite is the guy up front, who was in the midst of rolling his eyes when the flash went off.  Forever immortalized as anxiously waiting to sit back down...

Just some of my students with their name sheets. My favorite is the guy up front, who was in the midst of rolling his eyes when the flash went off. Forever immortalized as anxiously waiting to sit back down…

around and introducing ourselves to one another. I almost croaked when they remembered “Nice to meet you, too!” from way back in October.  These kids. I tell ya.

After our class, we caught up with the rest of our sitemates to head over to the village school again.  This time, instead of one tiny classroom with 20 students, the director filled the school up with community members, younger students and high school students all ready and anxious for language lessons.  We split ourselves off – one volunteer to the younger form, two to the parents who came to learn, and I took the 6th – 9th form students (who, while they were devils, actually seemed to have a good time). THE COOLEST THING EVER?  As we weren’t quite sure what to predict, we didn’t have a totally formulated, thematic lesson planned

My sitemates with parents from the village school at our first community conversation club day.

My sitemates with parents from the village school at our first community conversation club day.

out.  Yet, when we got back together to meet, we had all worked on “My name is…” and some basic introductions.  When I was in the hallway, I overheard an older student talking to his younger brother.  When the younger sibling fumbled with some words after “Nice to meet,” his brother jumped in with “you!”  It seems the universe is far smarter than any of us, for it totally worked out to have all the groups working on the same ideas.  Now when they go home this evening, parents and kids can all be sharing the same topics.  How cool is that? It’s totally something we will have to do always.

Finally, tomorrow I am leaving to a southern region to conduct our first “Training of the Teacher Trainers” workshop with a fellow teacher trainer.  We needed 55 17-page packets; 935 pages printed, my friends.  Long story short… they didn’t exactly come out as the PDF file I gave them looked.  More than anything on this great day, I’m glad for those terrible, mixed up packets, as it gave me a wonderful afternoon with Matthew and Kathy, cutting and gluing and fixing them up together.  While I certainly would have preferred a smooth, professional resource, sometimes you just gotta smile and realize how pretty great it all really is.

my amazing assistants.

my amazing assistants.

To have great poets there must be great audiences, too.   – Walt Whitman

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