Classroom Technology

If I were teaching in the States... I would have a telephone in my room. I might have one, if not two, computers. Maybe there would be a television bolted to the wall, or at least one on wheels for my hallway of teachers to share. I would definitely have an overhead, and if the school is researching new forms of technology, I might even have an Elmo (like an overhead, but a computer projector). From what I hear, Smartboards are also the new thing for technology-smart learning environments.

But I'm not teaching in the States. I'm teaching in a 12' by 19' classroom with an 8.5' ceiling. I have 2 whiteboards, about 15 dry-erase markers, 2 lightbulbs, 2 fans, and a huge pile of construction paper. That's about as high-tech as we get here.

We do have 5 computers in the library to use... and my new technology adventure is to take the kids on a YouTube fieldtrip. We'll be traveling to France on Friday. Anyone want to join? :)

I think I'm doing the best with what I have here. I also know that when I return to the States, I will have a serious technology culture shock when my students know more about how to work a Smartboard than I do!!

What Do You Say When...?

Any advice on how to respond to these questions?

''Miss Siscoe, what happens if a dog and a cat have a baby together?''

''Miss Siscoe, do you feel as bad as you look today?''

''Miss Siscoe, is it alright if I plan a class field trip to Europe?''

Recent Art

marker and colored pencil, for a recycling mural contest at the school. The contest was really for K-12 students, but as soon as my students saw me drawing, they were inspired to design a mural too! This morning, the judges announced the final winners... 2 of my 4th graders! :)

acrylics, for Trish's birthday. Translated: They will be called oaks of justice, planted by the Lord to show His glory. Isaiah 61:3. Trish loved it!! :)


Tricia's Golden Birthday

So yesterday, Trish turned 24 on the 24th. Fantastic. I had been planning for over 2 weeks how to help her celebrate, and this is how it went down.

When Trish arrived at my house, I told her the party would be at the Nesbitt's house (our school directors), so we started walking in that direction. On the way we conveniently ran into our friend Eddie, and he gave her a gold necklace. I conveniently remembered that I had to pick up a gift from the Jones family, so we stopped by, where Meredith gave Trish a gold necklace. We arrived at the Nesbitt's home finally, where Barb gave Trish HUGE gold hoop earrings. Here's the first look at her golden outfit.

She still didn't know what all the gold gifts meant... and Barb had conveniently told us she couldn't hostess the party and that she had called Peggy, who had agreed to host... We got to Peggy's, who gave Trish a tiarra.. silver, not gold... and told us that the party was now moved to Medrano's house. The ''hunt'' proceeded like this for another 3 houses...

Trish and Peggy on the walk... Trish rocking her accessories.
A Sojourn high school student and his 3 year old brother sang ''Happy Birthday!'' to Trish when we passed them on Calle Bosque.

Then we made it to Sondra's house, who did gold makeup for Trish. I also gave Trish the rest of her outfit -- a gold halter-top dress and brown baggy pants that I had found at a thrift store in downtown San José and had sewn sequins on for perfection.

I told Trish, ''Your clothes are in this bag... yes, this small bag.''

Makeup with Sondra.

Getting Her Goldness ready for the real festivities.

Trish modeling ... Dad, this truck reminded me of yours!

at the real party house :)

Medrano, Trish, Matt

Courtney putting the finishing touch on Trish's outfit.... gold nail polish!

Peggy made her deliiiiiciouuuuus guacamole .

We played a game like Pin the Tail on the Donkey... except it was Pin the Gold on the Gangster. Each person had a small square of gold colored foil to make a gold item that a gangster might wear or have. Eddie here made a pimp goblet...

Erin with her nose ring and Andrew with his gold grill.

Here's the poor gangster poster with all our goldness pinned to it...

Funfetti cake... her favorite! Many thanks to Trish's mom for sending the mix :)

And Peggy danced the night away... I think she's warming up for her wedding next summer!!! :)

So that's it. . . and I win the best friend award for putting all this together!!


Dangerous Question

Asking 4th graders what they would like to learn this year can be a very adventurous question. Here's some responses I got today:

I want to learn about dragons.

I want to learn how to be a good teacher.

I want to learn hard stuff.

I want to learn to fart loud.


Iglesias de Nicaragua

I did a photo study of sorts on the churches in Granada and Masaya, Nicaragua. Here's some results.

'' Where two or more are gathered, there I will be in their midst...'' Looks a lot like church to me! :)

a new church building in Masaya... built by a Michigan church for the Masayan church.


¡Que Chapa Soy!

I literally just walked in the door from the grocery store and I HAVE to tell you this.

Tonight I am hosting a pancake dinner with gringo friends here at the house, so I went to the supermarket as soon as I got home from school. Bueno, not exactly the ''supermarket'' but the chain vendor down the street.

So I'm carrying around my little metal basket (very similar to the shopping baskets in the States), and I have it filled to the brim with pancake mix, syrup, eggs, and all the fixings. I'm looking for chocolate of any sort that we can break up into ''chocolate chips'', and well, I'm not exactly paying attention to where I am going. As I turned a corner, the edge of my basket caught the edge of a display of candy... and you can imagine what happened from there. Everything (Hear me, EVERYTHING) came crashing down, and I was standing there turning bright red and trying to find words to say (in Spanish too!!)... Two employees jump on the scene and were chuckling to themselves as I gathered my words enough to say, ''¡Que vergüenza! ¡Que chapa soy!'' (''How embarassing! I'm so clumsy!'')... I said my apologies and they were still chuckling...

Another laughing moment today was when a student noticed a hole in my shoe and could see my toes... she said, ''Miss Siscoe, your toes look a lot like fingers!''... I have heard that so many times in my lifetime, and gee, even my students notice that. Thanks Dad!



$20 for an 8 hour bus ride...
$8 for an exit fee and 2 hours at customs...

and here we are. Trish and I are traveling with two missionary families for a few days to discover how they are making a difference in Nicaraguan poverty. So far, we've learned a lot about what the Dice family is doing... Their home church in Michigan is passionate about not only learning about international poverty but also about doing something about it.
So their home church sent them to language school in Costa Rica to serve as a bridge to churches in Nicaragua. They are investing in helping these churches build lasting buildings (instead of the tin huts and garbage bag roofs) and they are helping pastors get off their feet as business men. Last night at dinner I asked April where Jeff was, and she casually told me he was otu buying a taxi. I was confused and asked if we were driving ourselves around the next day, and she laughed. Jeff is buying taxis as an investment into area pastors so they can work toward owning the vehicle and make a family living at the same time. Once a pastor owns the car, he earns $700 monthly... and the average wage here is $150 monthly. WOW. Jeff and April are a huge blessing to these people, and I can see it in the pastors's eyes as they interact with the Dice famile.
the pastor's son who has SOOOO much energy. Here he's telling me that he's a monkey and can he please see his photo?

Ellie, me, Karis, Tricia. These girls are precious.

The Dice family. Jeff and April with their kids, L2R Mason, Karis, Ellie, Camden. Mason is one of my 4th graders this year.

Mason's brown eyes.

and today we follow the Johnson family.

Culture Day... Bon Jour!!

You might remember Culture Day last year... we were China... this year my students chose to be France! They totally took ownership of the research and the projects and I was so proud! Here's some peeks at our ''French costumes''... jeans and white or striped shirts with bandannas. haha, that was about as French as we knew how to get. The students put together a tour guide for our French exhibit... I'll be posting that soon!
The Marianas...
The Marianas and Camila

The twins!! Melissa and Michelle

Jonathan, Lucas, Gabriel
Lucas was super excited about dressing up like the chef from the movie Ratatouille... he even had his own rat.

And the whole class!!!


This Week's Favorite Quotes

Kids are funny. Period. That's about all there is to it. Here's some of my favorites this week:

student ''You have 14 kids??''
me ''yes''
student ''well you sure look good after that many babies! my mom complains that us 3 kids are the reason she's not very pretty anymore''

''Do you happen to have a growing laser that I can use?''

''Let's take a field trip on YouTube.''

''I can't believe I'm going on vacation with my teacher...'' (said to a friend about me traveling with his family this weekend to Nicaragua)

OR sometimes it's the spelling errors that make me smile.

''A vaccine has weekend germs that trigger the production of antibodies.''

''I think I never want to merry a man with a beard.''

AND other times there's their journal entries that make me laugh out loud.

Writing Prompt -- ''Write a conversation you would have with your lungs and heart as you run across the gym to catch a kickball. Whether or not you catch the ball determines whether your team wins!''

Student Response -- '' 'Give me more energy!'' I said. The lungs answered, '' Never! '' My heart was thumping hard. I was trying to get enough oxygen as I can. I could see my veins. My arteries were in hyperdrive. My red blood cells said, ''We are going as fast as we can!'' My diaphram was about to explode. My trachea needed more air. Then I caught the ball.''

THEN there's the quotes that almost break your heart.

''I held an orphan baby last week.''

''I might come in with a black eye tomorrow because my test grade isn't very good.''


Amanecer en Puerto Viejo

Sunrise on the ocean just can't be beat... here's Sunday morning's 5am display...

We had a blast with our group of 5 guys and 4 girls. We rented bikes Saturday and rode to Playa Cocles, which is great for watching surfers and attempting body surfing.. note that I said attempting. :) We covered ourselves in sand and played American football (we always have to clarify which kind of football we are playing!... futbol or football, if you know what I mean). We rented a house and cooked dinner both nights, which was also a great treat. All in all, a good weekend of fun and sun!


Nerd Day

Skylar and I rocking Nerd Day last Friday... One parent told me he couldn't believe I had some of those clothing items here in Costa Rica. You know, the striped socks and the wool (lime green!) vest... only for days like these.


Got Bit by the Travel Bug Recently?

I have...

I'm going to the Caribbean this weekend with a group of Sojourn teachers and ILE students.

Then next weekend, I'm headed to Nicaragua for 5 days.

Photos to come! :):)