"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' "
Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Conjunction Junction!

I can finally say that I am going home in LESS THAN ONE WEEK!  But of course this week is dragging by…  On a bright note, I found out we are getting out of school at noon on Friday instead of our normal early dismissal time of 1:30.  I am going to see my Mamá Tica this weekend before I fly out!  Yay.  I saw her on my way in, but our visit was short.  This time, though, it is a little longer.  I can’t wait to see her and my the rest of my familia tica and then my familia Americana! 

You would have thought that since I now live in the same country as her that we would see each other a little more frequently, but that’s not the case.  You see, I live in the middle of nowhere.  Far from anything and everything.  And I am a slave to the bus system. 

Now, to the original subject of this blog entry:
Do any of you remember School House Rock?  The original series is from the 70’s, I believe, but I watched a few episodes during my time at Lake Mary Elementary back in the 90’s.  I still remember the tune and the chorus of the song “Conjunction, Junction.”  What’s your function?  Hooking up words and phrases and clauses.

I really don’t remember what grade we watched that episode in, but I certainly remember the song.  So when writing my lesson plans a few weeks ago, it only seemed natural to introduce conjunctions by showing that fabulous episode of School House Rock.  I figure if I remember the song after 15 or so years, then hopefully it will stick in the minds of my little children.  I was right, because they loved it!  They kept singing it and singing it days later.  I just love hearing my little Spanish-speaking students sing this song!

 The original song only introduces the coordinating conjunctions; however, I wanted to cover the correlative conjunctions in my lesson, too.  They loved it so much that I decided my students could write a cover of the song.  The kept the tune and the melody, but changed the conjunctions and the examples.  They were so pumped and excited about their song, and I have to say that I feel like it helped them understand how to use correlative conjunctions.

We have exams this week, so I won’t be surprised if my students break out in song during their English exam on Thursday.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ants on a log, anyone?

In one week, I will be en route to Florida!  Finally.  This has been the longest two months.  The other day one of my friends sent me a message and said this has been a really long three months.  I said, it sure feels like three months, but it has actually only been two!  I can’t wait to get my hands on a jar of JIF peanut butter.

I don’t think I have ever in my life seen as many ants as I saw this morning.  During first period English, one of my students shouts “hormigas!” Okay, ants, yes.  We see ants everyday, so why shout now?!  They were on the windowsill.  Then I walked over and stuck my head out of the window.  The ground appeared to be moving—I don’t know of another way to describe it.  Thousands of ants; I’m not exaggerating.  I don’t think you could comprehend the quantity of ants that I saw without being here, because I didn’t think it was possible. 

The ants were climbing up the walls and into the room.  It wasn’t just my room; I heard commotion in the other rooms too.  And then I looked outside of the other side of the room and they were all lined up across the sidewalk.  Then they started to take over the room.  The wall that is painted green began to turn black. 

Of course I’m wearing sandals on the day that this happens.  I’m telling my children to ignore the ants, but I can’t ignore them myself.  This many ants could kill me; in fact, they could probably kill someone who’s not even allergic like I am!  This swarm of ants was so strange that I’m still puzzled by what occurred.

Within fifteen minutes time it was like nothing had ever happened.  The ants began to clear out of the room, and the dirt returned to its stillness.  I’d love to know where they all came from and where the ants went afterwards…

Just as I had decided it was safe again, I caught a glimpse of something black about to crawl on the shoe of one of my girls.  More ants?  No, SCORPION!  I have heard that there are a lot of scorpions out around this time of year, but this was the first (and hopefully the last) that I have seen. 

Has anyone else ever had a similar experience?

p.s.  I've changed a few settings on my blog.  For those of you who had asked me how to comment, you should now be able to comment without having a google account.  AND, if you want to receive an e-mail notification when my blog is updated, put your e-mail address in the box over there on the right.  Up a little bit.  See it?  Right there.  Good.  :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Boots, Buckles, and Spurs.

I just realized that I forgot to post the blog entry that I wrote last week.  Oops.  I kind of got distracted because I wrote it Sunday afternoon and then went to the rodeo on Sunday night.  YEEHAWW!  Yes, Cóbano is a very country town—complete with its own rodeo.  It was my first rodeo ever, nonetheless my first rodeo in Costa Rica, and I don’t think I will ever forget it. 

I went with my new amigo tico so he was able to explain it all to me before it started.  I say before it started because the rodeo was supposed to start at 6.  We got there at 6:30.  Late?  Not in tico time…the rodeo ended up not starting until nearly 7:45.  

Finally starting, notice the stands are still quite empty!
So back to why I will never forget my first rodeo:  The first bull burst out of the gate with full force.  The rider was known to be one of the best.  Then it all happened so fast, but I believe I saw him be trampled to his death.  As fast as it happened, it plays back so slow in my mind.  He fell off the bull, and the bull pounded its hoof once onto the rider’s neck, and then a second and third time onto the man’s stomach. 
so fast and my shutter speed couldn't keep up!
the bull still stomping around after it trampled its rider.

I of course screamed and stared in shock as I watched the rider lie lifeless on the ground.  I turned to my friend and asked “that’s normal?”  hoping that this is an expected occurrence and that I should therefore not be alarmed.  Unfortunately he said no…

The rider didn’t come to and the paramedics rushed onto the field and strapped him to a board before sliding him through a slot in the fence in order to seek medical attention.  We waited and waited and then an announcement was made saying that he was on his way to the hospital in Puntarenas.  My friend explained that in addition to the ambulance ride, he would have to take a speedboat to reach the hospital.  (The usual method of transportation is ferry.) 
the little paramedic station through the fence

The rodeo could not continue until the ambulance returned for safety reasons, but I was too distraught worrying about the first rider to be disappointed by the delay.  Maybe 30 minutes later another announcement was made saying that his condition was too serious and that he was being airlifted to the hospital in San José. 

I won’t drag this on in suspense.  I know how that feels…I had to wait about 18 hours until I was able to hear anything about this man’s condition.  He is alive!  However, he is in a coma. 

I’m not saying I support the sport of bull riding.  Is it dangerous?  Absolutely.  Is it life-threatening?  Most certainly.  It is stupid?  I think so.  With that said, I am still preoccupied with what occurred and wish the best for the bull rider and his family.

and then the rains came, and never left!
Overall the rodeo was fun, mostly because it’s the most exciting thing this little town has to offer.  It poured rain during the rodeo and then the grass got all muddy and the bulls were sloshing around.  Another interesting thing that happened was that when one of the cowboys lassoed the bull, the bull pulled so hard that he pulled the horse and cowboy down and started dragging them!  Of course I screamed, but they were okay!  The guy I was with said that two things happened that night that he’d never seen in all the rodeos he’s been too:  the seriousness of the injury and the bull dragging the horse.  Sometimes I think I bring bad luck with me anywhere I go!

On Thursday, I took a little after school adventure to Mal País because I was in desperate need of a mini-getaway.  I have heard wonderful things about the Mal País/ Sta. Teresa area and all of my expectations proved true.  It was love at first sight.  I’ve been here in Cóbano where I wake up every morning at 5 am to the sound of roosters crowing and throughout the day I hear cows mooing and the clip-clop of horses traveling around.  Mal País, on the other hand is more of what I think of when Costa Rica comes to mind—the beach, the sunset.  Ahh the sunset was just breathtaking, and I can’t believe that people get to watch something so beautiful every day.  Just my little one night get-away put me in a good mood for Friday so that I had the little umph I needed to finish the week out.

Mal Pais Sunset
Friday was not only National Day of Music (more cancelled classes), but it was also Tacky Day.  Or "Taki" Day as it is spelled here.  I typically enjoy dressing up for these types of things; however, I didn't remember it was tacky day when I packed my clothes the day before.  I ended up borrowing socks and a little scarf from my friend the morning of to Tack-ify my attire.  

with a few of my 6th graders who dressed up

some of my 5th graders
and a few kids actually asked me,
 "Teacher, are you tacky today?"

 I was trying to upload a video of one of my students playing a song on her saxophone during yesterday's music performances but I keep getting an error message. So I guess this is all for now, and anyways I've procrastinated on my lesson plans all day now.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

the dog days are [not] over.

I’ve taken a little hiatus from blogging.  My excuse:  my momma taught me that if I can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.  Yeah, so it’s been like that.

Nobody told me this was going to be easy.  With that said, it’s not easy.  Sixth graders…what to do with them?!  Anybody who subbed for me before I moved here has told me that they are one of the toughest groups.  That’s an understatement.  

It’s not just me, they are like this with their other teacher, too.  I have to say everything at least twice in each language.  They give me a headache.  Literally. 

There’s one student who, every time I walk into the room, says “we have class with you?”  I say yes and he responds “NOOOOO, teacher!”  Well young one, the feeling is mutual.  ;)

At least I have my fifth graders.  I’m not saying they are extremely well-behaved, because they certainly have their days, but they are just so darn cute.  I’m not really a big fan of hugs, but when they child whom I think couldn’t care less about being in class comes up at the end of the class and wraps his arms around you…now that is special.  I like those hugs.  J

My fifth grade class is all Spanish-speaking, whereas my sixth grade class is a mix of English, French, Italian, and Spanish.  A few weeks ago, my fifth graders each wrote a question on the board in Spanish (something that they would need to ask).  Then I gave them each a piece of paper and had them write this question and decorate the paper.  I then rewrote each question in English on the same paper and hung these up on the wall.  At first they would have to go up to the wall and attempt to read the question, but now they are starting to remember these essential phrases by themselves.  And their pronunciation is getting better, too.  That makes me proud!  Oh and they are getting better at raising their hands to ask permission to leave the room too, thank goodness. 

Math is my favorite subject, to teach and to learn.  Now some of my students are starting to enjoy it more too, and are actually volunteering to come up to the board because they want to solve a problem.  My little Jorge actually understands what we’re doing and he’s so proud of himself!  (I am too). 

I just realized it’s after 9pm my time!  I had a killer headache and didn’t wake up from my siesta until 6:30 pm.  Oops!  I’m heading back in the direction of my old nocturnal ways…

No promises that I will have another blog post over the weekend.  Midterms are in a few weeks and I have to submit all of my exams by Monday.   Unfortunately the teacher’s editions of the textbook were too expensive for the school to buy, so I can’t just pull an exam from those.  I’ll be writing my own exams this weekend.  L

Sunday, June 3, 2012

You are my sunshine...

Have I ever mentioned that I love the beach?  No, not because I like working on my tan (that's just an added bonus).  The beach--when not crowded with people--is one of my favorite places to just "be."  It's so peaceful, calming, and always reminds me of God's presence.

Well, I saw the most amazing sunset yesterday.  I think my pictures below speak for themselves.  (I did not edit these pictures, nor did I use any filters when taking them...that is the real sunset!)  I just love the reflection of the sun onto the water!  I kept asking myself 'am I really here seeing this?!'  This is at Playa Manzanillo, by the way.

I'm still intrigued by all of the rocks

Costa Rican Boxers!  (they "speak" Spanish)

After it was all said and done.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Paisley Boots & Politics

            I know I haven’t updated this thing in a while now.  I’ve been too busy educating the leaders of tomorrow.  I still haven't been here a month yet,  but it feels like forever...
But I will be home in exactly one month and one day!!!  Can't waitttttttttttt.  And exactly two months from today, it will be the first anniversary of my 21st birthday.  

            I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of thunder.  Well actually I woke up to my alarm clock, but I turned that off and then I woke up again to my alarm on my phone, but I turned that off too—but when I woke up the third time (30 minutes later than intended) it was to the sound of thunder.  Before I’d even thought about thinking about what to think, the sky opened up.  And thus, my paisley boots made their first appearance on the campus of Escuela Futuro Verde. Before I even stepped foot onto the sidewalk at school, I hear “¡me encantan tus botas!”  All day long I kept getting comments about how “lindo” my “botas” are.  Haha  Even the cook,  who I haven’t really talked with much, approached me to ask where I got them from.  Sorry ya’ll, these came from the USA! 
            This week has been school election week so the schedule has been “flexible” to put it kindly.  All week lunches were longer, we had assemblies each day, and recesses were extended.  Today we had classes from 7:30-9, but we were told just to do activities or games…at 9 o’clock we all had our snack and then gathered together for the announcement of the winning political party.  Several of my students are in the party that won and the smiles on their faces were so genuine. 
            The rest of the day was field day.  I was supervising the 4-9 graders on the soccer field along with the p.e. coach.  I am so impressed at how well these kids play soccer!  I’m not much help when it comes to sports.  That is until somebody breaks out the rope for limbo time!  Yesshh, along with hula-hooping, limbo-ing is my other hidden talent.  My students were quite surprised at how low I could go. 

            I have a few pictures from the past week that I will add later.  For now I’m going to see what I can do to entertain myself on this Friday night.