Saturday, November 28, 2015

Windy with a Chance of Wind

Yesterday, Mr. Joe (the owner of the bed and breakfast at which we are staying) took us sight seeing. Everything we saw was absolutely gorgeous!! The wind here is CRAZY. It would almost take the door off of the car when we would stop for pictures. With that being said, excuse my hair in some of the pictures below...

An Irish Thanksgiving

      This Thanksgiving has been much different from every other Thanksgiving I've had. 
     Since Thanksgiving is an American holiday, it was just another Thursday here; so we woke up and went to school. I was able to go around to all of the classes, explain the history of Thanksgiving, and traditions that take place. I ended each class by having every student say something they were thankful for. 
      My favorite answer came from a junior infant (preschooler). He was the first person to say what he was thankful for. I started by saying, "I'm thankful for my family." Then I called on the boy and he said, "I'm thankful...I'm thankful for the weekend." The teachers gave him a round of applause! It was hilarious! After saying what we were thankful for, the junior infants made hand turkeys. 
      Next, I went to fourth class to talk about Thanksgiving. After discussing the history of Thanksgiving, the students made turkeys and wrote things that they are thankful for on the feathers.

This was my example of how to make the turkey. Below are pictures of the students creating their own.

     After school, the girls and I went out to dinner to a nice restaurant called O'Malley's. When we finished our chicken (since they don't really have turkey here), we went to a pub that was having a live bluegrass band. It was a fun night! Although we were all missing out friends and family, we made the most of what we had! 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Got A Little Carried Galway

      This past weekend, we went on a day trip to Galway (a county south of Mayo) for some shopping. On Saturday morning, we went down to the bus stop for our 8:50 bus. Westport was basically a ghost town. We have found out that people around here aren't really "morning people". After our two hour bus ride, we finally made it to Galway. 
    Right as we left the bus station, we saw the Christmas in the park. It was the first weekend that Galway had their annual Christmas in the park set up. There were different booths set up selling everything from ornaments to fudge to knitted scarfs and waffles. After going around to the different booths, we made out way to the mall. 
     Our first stop was TK Maxx. (No, I did not make an error. Haha. They call it TK Maxx here, not TJ Maxx!) the store was huge! It was just like TJ Maxx, but two stories! We were in heaven! 
     We also went to a store called Penny's. It felt like Black Friday in this store; there were so many people! This was probably because Penny's is AMAZING!! They have everything you could possibly ever need for a very small price. I got a knitted scarf that would probably cost $15-$20 for only €2! (Good news for all shopoholics: Apparently they are expanding to America!)
     After getting dinner, we made our way back towards the bus station. On our way, we stopped to listen to an acapella group singing Christmas carols. They sounded amazing! Since it was close, we stopped at Christmas in the park again to see the lights before we headed to our bus. It was great to be able to see all of the lights and everything ready for Christmas! It really put me in the Christmas spirit! 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Let's Play Ball!

      Today, I was able to take the fourth class outside to play baseball! They remembered all of the rules that were taught on Wednesday and were thrilled to be able to actually play. Although it was slightly different from a real baseball game (considering we played on concrete instead of a baseball field, used a tennis ball instead of a baseball, cones instead of bases, and no one had a baseball glove), the students still got a feel for the game. 
        The game was off to a rocky start when the defenders were throwing the ball to third base instead of first after the ball was hit. After explaining that the batter runs to first base after hitting the ball, the students starting getting the hang of the game. I was impressed (and proud) when a student tagged a runner out at second base and threw it to the first baseman for a double play! 
        At the bottom of the third inning, when it began to rain (which was no surprise), we decided the person who was up to bat would be the last batter of the game. After swinging and missing twice, he was determined to hit the ball on his next swing. Not only did he hit the ball, but he hit it on top of the school building! HOMERUN! All of the students on his team were jumping up and down and screaming, as was I! I was super impressed! The students ended up doing a fantastic job and absolutely LOVED being able to play baseball.   
          When I went to their classroom later in the day, they wanted to know when we would be able to play again or if I was there to teach them more about baseball. It was such a fun day, not only for the students, but for me, as well! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

America's Pastime

   Today, I was the teacher all day in fourth class, since the regular teacher was absent. I was kind of nervous about it at first, but after the day began, my nerves calmed.
    We began our day with the daily prayer and then the students began working in their Mental Maths book. (They put an S on math and spelling here.) One of the questions in the book was, "If the date is 09-10-06, what is the month?" In Ireland, they write the day, the month, and then the year. For example, they would write today's date as, 18-11-15. They write it out with the day first, too (18 November, 2015). They were so confused when I told them that the answer October would be wrong in America, and that the correct answer would be September. I explained to them how Americans write the date; they thought it was so weird. 
    Next was the Irish lesson. During this lesson, the students did a workbook page that the regular classroom teacher will be grading tomorrow, since I would obviously be no help to the students in this area. After the students completed the workbook page, I had them teach me some Irish words. I learned how to say, "Hello!" (Dia duit), "Bye!" (Slán), and "Can I go to the toilet?" (Is féidir limo dul go dtí an leithreas). They have to ask the teachers if they can go to the bathroom (or toilet, as they call it) using the Irish language. After the third student came up to me speaking in what sounded like gibberish, I finally had to learn in Irish how to ask to go to the bathroom, so I knew what they were asking. It was hard for me to learn, so I just made sure to remember the word "leithreas"(toilet), so that I wouldn't be saying "yes" to them going home or something. 
       After Irish, it was time for " Busy at Maths". The students were learning fractions (finding equivalent fractions and simplifying fractions). I taught them using strategies that are used in America and strategies that they already use. When a student would have trouble, I would draw pictures to help them understand. I also incorporated American money by explaining that a quarter is worth 25 cents and 4 quarters make a dollar. So 75/100 is equivalent to 3/4 because 3 quarters is $0.75. Many of the students thought this was so cool and used it for the rest of the math lesson. I was also able to show them American money too. I passed around a $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. They found it fascinating to see the different bills and actually feel them, since they feel different than Euros. I also explained the men on the bills and what they mean to America. 
       In the afternoon, the class had "Sports" (P.E.), so I went outside to observe. They were playing Gaelic football. It is like soccer, but you can carry the ball with your hands and kick your ball. It was really fun to watch and see the differences between it and soccer. During the game, one of the students was yelling, "Just call me James LeBron!!!" I went up to him and said, "Who?" He replied, "You know... James LeBron!" 
"You mean, LeBron James?" 
"Yeah, that's what I meant...LeBron James. LEBROOONNN JAMMMMESSS!!" I could not help but laugh! 
        After Sports, we did SESE, which is Social Environment and Scientific Education.  We talked about the chapter, "Games and Pasttimes". After reading and talking about Irish games and pastimes  (Irish dancing, Gaelic football, hurling, camogie, soccer, chess...), Chinese games and pastimes (Kung fu), and games and pastimes of Ancient Egypt (ball games, spinning tops, marbles), I taught the students about one of America's favorite games: baseball. 
        I taught the students the basic rules of baseball, showed them the equipment that is used, and then we sang, " Take Me Out To the Ballgame!" for our class " seventh inning stretch". Surprisingly, a lot of the students knew the song! After singing, I showed them a clip of an actual baseball game, since it was too wet outside to actually go outside and play. Hopefully, I will be able to take the fourth class outside to play baseball on Friday.
        It was an awesome day in the classroom. I was excited to be able to show the fourth class how some things are done in America and be able to learn some Irish.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"Coffee or Tea??"

     Today was my first day at The Quay School! I found many similarities and differences between school in Ireland and school in America. The schools grades are junior infants (preschool), senior infants (kindergarten), and 1-6 class (1-6 grade). There is only one teacher per grade! The school day is much different. The day starts at 9:00 am. There is a break from 10:40am-11:00am and another from 12:15pm-1:00pm (the infants' break is shortened since they leave school at 1:45pm). The school day ends at 2:45. I didn't know what to do with all of the breaks...except drink coffee or tea. The Irish love their coffee and tea; it is offered everywhere! I wish I had a dollar for every time someone asked, "Coffee or tea?" today.
        I was really confused during introductions to people today in the school.  When I would introduce myself, I would say my name and then the person would say their name, followed by, "You're Welcome!"
     "Thank you?" I would reply. After about the third time this happened, I finally realized that they were welcoming me into their school and country.
        After meeting all of the teachers, I spent the first two parts of the day in 6th class. They were working on an IT project using iMovie and green screen. When I went to help a girl in the class with a problem she was having, she gasped and be ame wide-eyed when she heard me talk. My accent was obviously so foreign to her. Then she wanted to know all about America (or "the states" as they call it). The first question she asked me was, "Do you go to Starbucks?" Followed by, "Have you ever seen Beyoncé?!"
     Next, I spent time with the senior infants. I only spent a short amount of time with this class since they end the day at 1:45. I worked with students on coloring patterns. They wanted to tell me all about themselves. One little girl told me that she was going to Dublin on Saturday. When I asked what she was doing there, she said that she was going to see Disney On Ice. We started talking about Disney princesses and she was so surprised that I knew of them.
      After the infants left, I went to third class. I started my time in third class by explaining how schools at home are opporated. In Ireland, there are no cafeterias. The students bring their own lunches and eat in the classroom. I explained how lunch in America works, and then all of the questions flooded in. "Is there dessert at lunch?" "Is there swimming class?" (They have swimming classes here during school.) "Do you have lockers? If so, have you ever seen someone get stuffed in one?" "Is there a football (soccer) team at the schools?"
   Then I started talking about soccer and American football in the US and how little leagues work. They think American football is so cool!!
      After talking and helping the third class, Presley (another student teacher) and I walked to our home for the next month. (Everyone walks everywhere here.) On our way home, we saw Croagh (pronounced crow) Patrick, a mountain in Westport. It has a chapel at its peak. (We are planning on climbing it this
     It has been such an amazing day! Posts from Croagh Patrick coming soon...
The mountain in the back is Croagh Patrick! The little path on the left is our path to school. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Miles 'o Mutton

       Monday morning at 11:00, I left Henderson to head to the Nashville airport. After saying our goodbyes to our families, the four other student teachers (Gretchen, Emma, Presley, and Victoria) and I left Nashville to go to Dublin (with a layover in Chicago). When arriving in Dublin, we were welcomed by an Inspire Learning assistant, Hannah. She showed us to the train station and told us a lot of information that we may need to know or may find useful.
(When I was talking to Hannah, she kept talking about biscuits. Come to find out, she wasn't talking about biscuits; she was talking about cookies. They call cookies biscuits over here in Ireland.)
After Hannah showed us to the Dublin Houston train station, we thanked her and boarded the train. 

       If I could describe our 3 hour train ride from Dublin to Westport in one word, it would be: SHEEP! There were sheep everywhere! For miles and miles, green hilly pastures and sheep were all that was seen. There were black sheep, white, sheep, and even sheep that had been tagged with different color spray paint. 

      We finally arrived in Westport!! When we found the cab driver who was sent to get us, he could not believe how much luggage we had between the five of us. People in the car next to us joked, "Ya staying til Christmas??" 

     Jana, our supervisor here in Westport, showed us how to get to school in the morning, showed us around town, and took us to the grocery store, after our arrival.  We have finally unpacked our bags and settled in. It is 8:15 pm here! I am extremely tired from our long day of travel. Tomorrow is a big day: our first day of school! I'm having many mixed emotions: nervousness, excitement, worry... 

Check in tomorrow to see how my first day at The Quay (apparently pronounced like "key") goes!