School Update

Trip Start Jul 31, 2012
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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of San Jose,
Saturday, October 20, 2012

Well I know it has been WAY too long since my last entry but today I will have plenty to update you on. First I want to update you on everything that hass been going on at school. It has been a busy end of September and start to October at school. It seems we have so many different programs and activities going on it is hard to keep them all straight! 

First, the 5th graders need to do community service this year and we have decided to make an organic garden and then donate any goods that we get from the garden. Well, this project is a huge undertaking! We have received a grant from the parent board to help fund our project. This is no small garden, it is big! So luckily we received some funds to help us out. In preparation for the garden we have been working on researching organic gardens, buying local, how to plant and everything else involved. We also took a field trip to an organic garden where we were able to learn some things about making compost and organic fruit fertilizer. The students were also given a chance to plant some seeds in their garden as well. It was a great experience for these city kids to get in the dirt and play around and learn a thing or two. You can see a couple pictures of the students at the garden. After visiting the organic garden the students got to work getting our garden prepped, step one, rip out all of the grass. This is tough work! Luckily we have an AMAZING gardener at school who has provided us a lot of help in getting things ready. So he has cut out a lot of our work needing to be completed. Our next step is getting the garden all divided and deciding what we can plant here in Costa Rica. We have to get moving fast because it is nearing the end of our rainy season so we need to get seeds in the ground. I will keep you posted on how the project goes.

So besides working on our garden we ended our 1st quarter! Crazy to think that we are 1/4 of the way done with our school year. Getting grades in was such a pain! Grading is the worst! Luckily, I got it all done and report cards go out on Monday so we will see how that goes. Then we will also have parent teacher conferences next week as well. I hate parent teacher conferences. They always make me so nervous. Luckily I have a nice group of parents and I have gotten to know most of them so we will see how it goes. The way they set up conferences is that on 2 days the students are dismissed at 12:00 and then we have conferences from 1:00-4:30. The good thing is I don't have too many students so it shouldn't be too overwhelming. 

Speaking of number of students I also had my class grow in size by one this week. I have a new student who has just arrived in Costa Rica coming from the US. This brings my total to 16 students now. 

Another thing that we had going on at school is our United Nations Day celebration. This was something very exciting but involved a lot of preparation work. Each class had to perform a dance at the assembly representing a country. The 5th graders usually pick a "cool" song to perform rather than something more traditional. So, we chose South Korea and did the big hit, "Gangnam Style" The kids loved it and really got into the song. So for the past 2 weeks we have been busy practicing that. You can see the video of the performance at this link: http://sharing.theflip.com/session/95864740634acc39c89d68d4e258f75b/video/154201771  Also, the teachers perform a dance as well so I had that dance to learn. The video is attached to this blog. It is from behind, but I am all the say to the right in the blue top. During the assembly all the students parade in with their country. They are all dressed in clothes representing that country. Some come in traditional clothes others just representing the colors or teams of that country. While each country parades in music plays from their country. It was amazing to see all the diversity that our school has! It is so cool to be part of a school that reaches students from such diverse backgrounds. After the parade in the students sang a beautiful song, "One Day". Then the dancing began. Each grade level performed their dance. It was such a cool experience to be a part of an assembly celebrating such diversity. In the afternoon we continued the celebrating because each student brought in a dish from their country and we had a huge feast of foods from around the world. It was a great day but glad to check it off the list and clear up some time in my schedule. 

This week we have also started up with our Pen Pals. We will be pairing up with Nativity Jesuit Middle School in Milwaukee. This is where I did some of my student teaching. It is an all boys Latino school. My students all just received their first letters and were very excited to write responses and get them sent out.

I am looking forward to a slow down in activities in November so I can get back to focusing on teaching! Seems like there is always something going on taking away from our normal schedules. I am ready to get back in our normal routine! Fingers crossed it will happen in November :)

Hope you enjoy the pictures and videos! An update from my trip to Panama will be coming soon! 

Hasta Luego! 
Ashley
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