Monday, October 24, 2011

First Day of School

The school is quite nice, although the heat is out right now so it is chilly (Tommorow it is getting fixed). Everyone is really laid back.

- Harvest service:
The lower grades put on a play about harvest and caring for others in need.  It was really cute (they had mice mask and told a story about mice over indulging at harvest time). The upper grades sang songs about harvest (they sing in a really high pitch). It was a nice experience and I got introduced infront of the whole school and the parents there.  The church was pretty small and it was hard fitting everyone in.. although there is only 215  students in the whole school... which is considered a big school here. Interestingly enough, the school has been lucky that cuts haven't impacted them as much and still have quite a few resources on hand for them.

- the classroom
I mostly observed today and the kids asked me some questions. I was surprised at the amount of different workbooks they have on hand. Each subject a different one and that was basically all they did was instruction from that.  The classroom management style is way laid back and not once did he raise his voice or anything, just stated that they need to get working. I noticed the same management style with other teachers.  There is always a resource teacher in the room that helps. They have bathrooms in the back of the room (multi-stall) so the students can go whenever they want to. They have 3 computers for the students 2 use (Mr. Malseed built 2 of the cpu's), he also has his laptop hooked up to the projector and smart board. He uses technology a lot in his instruction and just the classroom in general. During their breaks if they are in the room he plays music off of itunes for them. I must say though they are not as strict on media. Some of the songs would have probably been called inappropriate for a classroom of 6th graders in the states. The students are really into this interactive game as well the name of it starts with a w.... I will have to research a bit more to see if I can find it. They play this during their 2 breaks on the computers (it definitely would not be allowed in our public schools, as the kids are bombing, shooting with rifles, torching, etc. each others characters).  I saw so many shotgun head shots it was not funny. Interestingly enough the kids didn't really say anything about the violence in the game just that they liked beating each other. One student while I was watching them play said  quote     "It's not very educational is it?" and then point out that it is educational in the fact it works on angles via weapon angle to hit another character and the amount of force needed to go a certain distance.
     They kids knew a lot about social issues and what is going on not only in Ireland but in the states. I had a student tell me the score of the chiefs game and he knew most of the players names (due to fantasy football).  They asked me about what my opinion was of  the euro crisis here  in Ireland.  Since presidential elections are next week , in social studies  they discussed the candidates due to the fact that one of them was a former head of the IRA and it has been a big controversy.. another candidate is 70 something years old.  I got to participate in their discussion in that we discussed how the media here can ask very straight to the point questions about matters where as in the states they can't be so straight up in asking questions. Mr. Malseed even pointed out an example of when a famous news lady went to the U.S. and interviewed Bush and how he was not a happy camper about her direct questions.  They just finished up the American Revolution unit and they knew a lot about it! Very impressive. I got to talk about Thanksgiving a bit with them. They are starting into Irish history. They apparently do a lot of field trips so they think I will be there for 2 of them ( going to the bank of Ireland and see the  house of lords that was secretly not destroyed when the British told them the only way they would sell them the old Parliament bldg. was to do so.  This is from the 19th century and they haven't add anything to it, just preserved. They will also be going to st. Patrick's to look at a cemetery.  I think it is interesting that the students have such a broad world knowledge and can tell you a lot about what is going on in other countries. A few other things they asked me about were if there were any ostrich farms in Missouri,and a what the weather is like.
They refer to Gaelic as Irish language and oh my! I am going to try to pick up on a few words, but it is a crazy language. They  talk fast enough as it is in English that it makes it hard for me to understand.. when they are speaking Irish its over the top. Although it is kind of weird but I think I am actually an accent even though it hasn't been much time at all, the accent is pretty close to the British one and  i say someone words with an accent not on purpose but that's just how it comes out.. They all thought the way I say my last name sounds Irish accented. 
The boy to girl ratio is crazy. I have around 18 boys and 8 girls. They all wear uniforms ( a grey sweater or jumper as they say, white shirt and the boys wear ties).
 Tomorrow I will get to talk more with my teacher about standards and units and whatnot.  I am really excited though since the students all really love his class and he does a lot of creative projects :)

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