Puntarenes y Mis Amigos Ticos

Whew! This was quite the weekend of experiencing Costa Rican life in its truest form. I was able to join my friends Ale and Priscilla to visit her family in Puntarenes. I met Ale and Priscilla in March 2006 when I came with the Judson mission project. I stayed with Ale's family while we were working in Lourdes, and he thought an American boy was coming to stay with him, but obviously I'm a girl. He called his girlfriend Priscilla and said "What do I do with this girl??" so Pri came over and practiced her English. :) ha, that was two years ago, and we would have never guessed we would be spending a weekend together!

We went to the beach :) of course and ate lots of good tico food. Gallo pinto and arroz con leche are two of my new favorites. I will learn how to make it Mom and I will teach you when I am home again! :) Scripture is everywhere, even on the grocery store!
A puffer fish... poor guy.
Pri likes to take photos like me, so she always wanted to take photos of me. :) I didn't complain!
Pri & Ale are always being funny. They are good together.
At the beach! Debbie, Valeria, Tati, me. I think this was my first time ever at the Pacific Ocean!! (Correct me if I'm wrong, Mom!)
Lots of fishermen at the dock!
Debbie and Valeria on the dock. They are very beautiful girls.
I tried this drink ... gazoricados (something like that...) con dos leches. It was almost too sweet for me, can you imagine that??
Pri & Ale & me. I'm glad I could join them this weekend!

Donya Yanette's home. It is open air, very simple.

The view from the front living area. Beautiful, huh??
Donya Yanette. She is an amazing cook and hostess. She asked if I would take her photo, and I of course was honored!

The nice light from the window next to my bed.

Coral on the rocks. Tati was catching tiny crabs, but they all got away before I could take a picture.
Hey look!! A banana boat! It only cost a mil ($2) to ride. I wanted to, but I couldn't convince the other girls.
There are birds in Costa Rica :).

at the beach, looking cool. Ale, Tatiana, Valeria, me!, Debbie.

Then the car broke down... twice. All I knew was that smoke = not good.

So while the car was broken down, I took some good photos of the landscape. Muy bonita montanas!!
and then I figured out how to blur the background with moving cars... a great breakthrough in my photography career, ha!


I won $10,000 today!!! :)

At the end of today, I found a folded piece of notebook paper on my desk... What is this? I thought. I opened the wrinkled document and it said:

"Congratulation!! You have won $10,000 for being the best teacher at Sojourn Academy! From: Mrs. Reilly. Your money will arrive in 10 days."

Ha, it was definitely student handwriting, and since Mrs. Reilly is our principal, I figured it probably wasn't really going to happen. Ha, I certainly have a clever student though... :)

I'm going to Puntarenes this weekend with Priscilla and Ale, so more posts on Monday!!! I'm not sure what time we are returning on Sunday evening, so if you're lucky, perhaps I'll be able to post a photo or two! :)


life and more life

Today was discouraging. I didn't teach the math lesson very well, and then I taught the history lesson according to the book (which was incredibly boring, in my opinion). Then the principal popped in for a surprise observation right at the end of history and watched the transition of lining up (we need to work on our line more!). When the students came back from PE this afternoon, they were extremely chatty and I raised my voice for the first time in a stern tone.

Then Trish and I went to the bank with a tica teacher to help us translate so we could open an account. I was so overwhelmed with the rapid Spanish, and I almost wanted to cry.

I know I'm exhausted from a long week of planning and preparing. I think that's the main issue here. I need to grade papers... and then sleep.

And something else to check out...

Here's another roommate's blog here. Kim will be living with us at least through November while she is student teaching, and maybe she will be staying next semester as well... those plans are in the works.

No more falling out of bed so far this week. :) I'm not jumping on the bed, Dad!!

I'm going to Puntarenas (in other words, out of the city!) this weekend with a friend, Priscilla, that I met in March 2006 when I came for the Judson mission project. I'll have lots of photos to post after that trip!! :) I'm working hard this week on plans for next week so I don't have to take much teaching paraphernalia this weekend.

Funny moment yesterday. Two of my tico students were have a heated discussion in rapid Spanish. I could tell they were arguing about something but had no clue as to what. I placed my hands on top of their heads and said, "English please!" Valeria looks up at me and, just like a light switch, changes from Spanish to English. Wow! They can change languages so quickly! (The problem was that he thought she had taken his pen... typical.)

We have an "End of Day Cheer" in 4th Grade. It goes something like this: I say "Have a great" they say "DAY!" I say "Watch out for" they say "CARS!" I say "I love" they say "YOU!" ha, it's probably hard to read and imagine what it sounds like, but it's loud and great, trust me.

Alright, time to finish getting ready for school. (I love you, Mom and Dad!)


Introducing... my class!!

I tried to upload this video last night, but the file was too big. My good neighbor Steve taught me how to compress the file to upload on here... so we're trying again.

My students were so excited when I said I wanted to make a quick video to send to my family :). I wrote the questions on the board for their "interviews" (name, age, where you're from, where you're moving, your favorite thing about 4th grade), and then they read and answered the questions during their 15 seconds of fame :). Enjoy!!!


check it out!

Here's my neighbors', Steve & Diane, blog! Thought you might like to know who I'm living by :).

falling out of bed and loving my students

alright, so I fell out of bed last night... Don't worry, it's only 18 inches to the floor from my mattress!! Go to my roommate, Tricia's, blog here for details... ha, Trish is a great story teller.

I was nervous again this morning, but as soon as my students walked through the door, I was on the ball again. I really do have such a great class. Even the couple students that challenge my authority are great (One of these students is so intelligent that he just gets bored with the pace of the rest of the class and he begins to find other mischevious things to do! My work will be to keep him busy!!).

BRAG MOMENT. :) My students are seriously awesome. Last week, we gained an extra minute of recess by being the quickest and quietest to line up after recess (I told them before we went to the gym that we had to show up the 3rd and 5th grade students... It worked!). The Chapel Director also gave homework on Friday for the 4th and 5th graders to write down what happened during the first 7 days of creation. MY students :) remembered (mostly because I wrote it on our assignment board and explained a simple format to get them started) and had their 7 days written out for Chapel today. Ha, we totally showed up the 5th graders again. I went into Miss V.'s classroom (the 5th grade teacher) after school today, and she had "7 Days of Creation" written on her assignment board. She said her students were really motivated after the younger students knew more answers than they did. Glad my students can inspire others to do their homework :).

My discipline system is using a "3 Strikes" philosophy. The first strike is a warning, and the third strike is a parent note or phone call. Today, the students brainstormed possibilities for the second strike's consequence, and they had suggestions like "Extra Homework!" "No Recess!" "Pushups!!" (When "pushups" were mentioned, 4 of my 5 boys dropped to the ground in a pushup contest! I laughed and brought it to a stop...) I knew the extra homework consequence would result in lots of extra work for me, so I vetoed that idea. What they finally came up with is hysterical to me. If they have two strikes, then they miss the first 5 minutes of recess, BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!! One girl was concerned that if she missed recess, she would miss her exercise time for the day. (Ha! Cracks me up that she thought of that!!) So after missing 5 minutes of "exercise time", the boys have to give me 20 pushups and the girls have to give me 25 jumping jacks. (The girls were concerned that they couldn't do very many pushups, but the boys thought the girls doing 20 jumping jacks wasn't even to their 20 pushups, so the compromise ended up being 2o pushups/25 jumping jacks.) Oh my goodness, it was such an animated discussion and I loved every minute of it!

Needless to say, one student already missed 5 minutes of recess AND gave me 20 pushups. Ha, I look like a drill sergeant at recess.

Not only do I let the students choose their consequences, I also gave all the school subjects new names. Math is now "Puzzles"; Science is now "Exploration"; History is now "True Stories"; Spelling and Penmanship are now "Word Play". I also let the students pick their class jobs because I figure they will get to choose their jobs in real life, so why not in the classroom??

I think I do this teaching thing really differently from others, but my kids are eating it up!