Monday, June 17, 2013

English Library

This school year has definitely been an improvement over the last. I have been able to get more involved in classes and finally completed my first "big" project at school. I wrote to Darien Book Aid, a US based NGO that ships gently used books to Peace Corps Volunteers (and other aid workers) all over the world. My school was selected to receive a shipment of books in January and they finally arrived the end of April. However, I wanted to get the books cataloged and organized before it was a free-for-all with the kids.

Last week, we introduced the English Library to the students (or the English teachers were supposed to....) and our first books were checked out so the kids can practice their reading in English over the summer. There were probably 90 books in the English Library (the school had a few from a previous PCV) and in the matter of just two days, the shelves are empty and kids are still looking for books. One of the worst things I have had to do here yet was turning kids away from checking out books because we were out. I have found another company in the US that is willing to donate books, however, they don't cover shipping. I am still debating if I can come up with a fundraising scheme that would raise enough funds to ship more books over here for my students.
My first group of 5th graders checking out books.
The book choices ranged from fairly easy picture books like Hop on Pop to really advanced books like Twilight and Harry Potter.
They were so excited to get their books- despite the lack of smiling.
The books are all labeled and ready to be checked out- I organized them according to levels and each book was labeled with a corresponding colour star sticker. I am my mother's daughter.
There are two shelves of English books. I also created several binders of resources for my teachers to use when I am gone (at the top).
Helping the kids pick out books was pretty fun too- I was able to give out some of my favourite books from my childhood including Double Fudge, Ramona Quimby, and Junie B. Jones.
After one day of books being checked out, this is all that was left. The bottom left corner are really easy books (shapes and colours), the two groups of white books are kinda lame (donated by the English Language Teaching Association of Macedonia many years ago), and the top right books are the ones that are too difficult for most of my students (i.e. Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger).
I also worked on creating a bunch of resources for my teachers to use when I am gone. These range from worksheets to holiday themed activities, Bingo cards that use the textbook's vocabulary, grammar games, and lots of additional reading, writing, and speaking activities. Most were things I had used in the past year and a half, however, I also created some new things just for these books.
My illustrated alphabet letters that will help the 3rd graders learn the alphabet.
I created an illustrated alphabet for one of the teachers to use when she teachers the alphabet. The kids can make the letter in the shape of the animal/object that starts with that letter. I got the ideas for the first couple from another PCV and based the rest off of the AlphaFriends commonly used in US kindergarten classes.
A is for alligator, B is for bee, C is for caterpillar made out of circles, D is for dalmatian dog, E is for elephant, F is for flag, G is for giraffe, H is for house, I is for inchworm, J is for jeans, K is for king, L is for leg, M is for mouse, N is for nest, O is for octopus, P is for peacock, Q is for queen, R is for rabbit, S is for snake, T is for tiger, U is for underwater, V is for volcano, W is for world, X is for x-ray, Y is for yarn, Z is for zebra

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Moderation is Overrated

I've always been a fan of moderation. While there are times that call for excess, moderation is almost always the best way to go. I am struggling with this a little now.

My host parents have a cherry tree in our backyard. We are right in the middle of cherry season. About a week and a half ago my host mother brought me up a kilo (2.2 lbs for the American folks) of cherries freshly picked from our trees. I was overjoyed. I do enjoy cherries and free ones are even better! I happily ate some cherries that day, but made sure to save some for the upcoming days because a kilo of cherries really is quite a few. The next day, however, another bowl of cherries appeared. Now feeling like I had way to many cherries on my hands, I made some cherry sauce to go over french toast. Well with that many cherries (not using all, but still quite a few), I made a lot of cherry sauce, which when blended with a ripe banana, poured into plastic cups, and frozen, made fantastic cherry banana popsicles.

The following day even more cherries arrived. I can now say that in the past week and a half, I have been given easily over 10 pounds of cherries. Cherries are a somewhat fickle fruit that require one to use them quickly before they mold, so I have had to become quite creative in my cherry usage.

I have made:
- Cherry sauce
- Cherry banana popsicles
- Cherry muffins
- Cherry crisp
- Cherry cobbler
- Cherry muffins (again)

I have also:
- Frozen cherries for the future
- Eaten what seems like my weight in fresh cherries
- Given cherries to another PCV

However, as I write this, yet another half kilo of cherries just arrived and I am left with needing to become even more creative. My next cherry adventure will most likely be either a cherry pie, cherry liqueur, or a recipe I found for a cherry salsa.

I guess if you have to eat something in excess, cherries aren't a bad way to go.