Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010
Created by: Kathi Berkley

Quote for the day:
Author: Thoreau

'Things do not change; we change.'
(Christen Bernard)

Today was our last day teaching and what a finale!!!!!!!!!! Christen’s class made bracelets and water play – fun was had by all. Working with small groups allows her to get closer to the students. She did not have Millie today and it becomes more apparent how much the students know when they can’t rely on someone to translate.

Marcy, Kathi and Mary asked the students to sign their Global Volunteer shirts and are they ever colorful as a result. The class practiced their song for the two students who had not heard it yet. Another scavenger hunt took place. This time for letters of adjectives – using the words that are in the Silly Sentences game. After dress rehearsal for the play – hot potato was played with water balloons. This activity was welcomed by all. Anything to cool off.

The last hour was the finale. The older students sang “Puff the Magic Dragon” and then they put on a play to tell the story. All of the students performed fantastically. It should be noted that they had also made the scenery, objects and characters of the play on Wednesday. Much to the consternation of me (Kathi), the book we used had a picture of a girl on the last page and so the class was convinced Puff had a new friend. So, the script for the play included his making a new friend – a girl – and becoming happy again. Why not? Everyone loves a happy ending, right? The younger students performed their dance and were joined by the older students. Much dancing was done – more than was planned.

Everyone was given a send off and thanks were received. I, for one, and I suspect all of us, will never forget these children and will wonder what life paths they will follow. We had frustrations over the past 2 weeks, but we had more gratifying moments. Many surprises – Drakos wanting to sing the song from memory being one. Who knows what could have been accomplished had we more time.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursday, August 19

Quote for the day:
Author: Unknown

I will make this day a happy one, for I alone can determine what kind of day it will be.
(Mary Rizzolo)

Today was another easy day with just eight students in mine and Millie’s class. We danced, sang songs, played BINGO, read “The Lion and the Deer” and colored lions. Kathy kindly let us use some of her brightly colored cardstock to make decorative fans for what seemed to be the most logical Art project for us to create. We are not quite as creative as when Lindsey was here, but we are managing.

The older class practiced for their play of Puff the Magic Dragon, had a scavenger hunt and played “what’s different”. I’m excited to see the play tomorrow as Kathy said it was coming together quite nicely and felt it was going to be really cute. Mary’s group went over colors, shapes and ABC’s. As I approached Kathy in the afternoon I saw her sincerity as she expressed how her kids did great and she was really proud of them.

Millie helped the older class for the last hour and I played BINGO and cards with my students. Towards the end of the last period I let them have free time. Perhaps towards the end of our time here, this was a good time for me to be on my own with the students. Looking back, perhaps playtime is where I found out the most about my students. Not being an expert at lesson planning and since my Greek is very limited, this is when the students and I had to find a way to communicate and perhaps benefited the most. They had to find some way to ask me to play foursquare, volleyball or ask me for whatever they wanted.

I will take this into my future classroom, because on the playground and during recess is where I have been able to work one-on-one with the children. They offered to help me clean up the classrooms and signaled to ask me questions. This is where I found it the easiest to assess their English skills where to most successfully assess and practice what they know. On the playground children asked me to sit down and look at a book with them where they pointed out animals or colors… or offered a polite “sorry” or “thank you” while playing on the playground.

Mary and Kathy ventured into Iraklion to pick up a vase that Kathy had especially made with an olive design on it, but was disappointed when a distraught employee accidentally broke the vase. The employee expressed how sorry she was and paid her back. This was not the outcome that anyone wanted, but… well, if that is the worst thing to happen this week…

We all probably have blisters on our feet from all the walking and are well nourished from the healthy food we have been eating, but it is sad to know that we are approaching on our last and final day of teaching tomorrow. Time has flown by so quickly and it is sad to know that tomorrow will be our last time working with these truly awesome kids.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday, August 18
Created by: Mary Rizzolo

Quote for the day:
Author: Albert Einstein

Only a life lived for others is a life worth while.
(Marcy Berlin)

Today Christen and her class were very busy – they played Alphabets, had a scavenger hunt and colored Old MacDonald coloring books.

During 2nd hour, Millie and Gabriella taught all the children from both classes a dance. The music was great and the children seemed to enjoy dancing.

Marcy, Kathi and myself read “Puff the Magic Dragon” and taught our class the song. Later in the day the children drew characters and scenes from the story. There are some very good artists in the class.

I haven’t had to play basketball for the past 2 days since teaching Nick and some other boys how to play marbles. At least I can sit down during this game.

After lunch, Christen took a power nap on the beach and then it was off to shopping. March went swimming in the pool while Kathi and I were off shopping in Amadoura. When we walked into one store we were asked where we were from. When we said America the owner said “Ah, the 2nd one today” then he proceeded to tell us he met a Christen from Missouri. Imagine that!

Sam took us out for dinner/shopping/sightseeing in another village. The food, atmosphere and entertainment was excellent. As always, I ate too much! There was a band and dancers. They performed dances from Crete, Northern Athens and modern dances. I was sweating just watching. I can’t imagine how hot they felt in their costumes and dancing. The evening appeared to be a success.

Tomorrow is Thursday, hard to believe our time here is almost over. I will miss the great meals and how welcome everyone has made me feel. They definitely treated us like family. Sam and her children have been wonderful. I hope that we all have been able to contribute at least 1 small thing to the program here. Continued success to the Global Volunteers in Crete.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday, August 17
Created by: Marcy Berli

Quote for the day:
Author: Mother Teresa

We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love.
(Christen Bernard)

Waking up to another day of sweltering heat-and off to the mines we go! Fewer children today but lost of wired, wound up kids. Staying with any one activity was near to impossible for some of the kids-boys of course! Additionally, three new kids showed up today.

Puppets were created and quite imaginatively. Marcy suggested short skits with the puppets. That went pretty well and fun was had by all.

The reading of the day was Walter The Farting Dog – audio included. The kids loved it, farts and all.

Another hit of the day, led by Mary was a serious marble game, enjoyed by the boys. Mary is definitely our athletic director. Three more days of sports Mary!

Kathy and Mary had quite an adventure walking the ancient wall. Along the way, Mary did a little “souvenir shopping” which consisted of scaling a fence for three soccer balls. You go girl!. Mary and Kathy are our fearless adventurers-scaling ancient walls and visiting ancient sites.

Christen was off for a nap at the beach. Marcy napped in the comfort of her air conditioned room and then ventured down to the beach. Perfect temperature. She also pointed out a drink that sounded like “friendly cappuccino” and was served up a cappuccino with lots of froth. Yum, hit the spot.

The highlight of dinner was dessert-ice cream/gelato.

Sam talked with us about being “replaced”-not really. She meant referring friends to Global Volunteers. She also showed us a photo album that we can order that will include a compilation of all our pictures-plus scenery shots. Dinner and talk outside was lovely.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday, August 16
Created by: Christen Bernard

Quote for the day:
Author: Thich Nhat Hanh

Without understanding, love is an impossible thing.
(Christen Bernard)

Quote for the day:
Author: Cree proverb

Only when the last tree has died
And the last river has been poisoned
And the last fish has been caught
Will we realize that we can’t eat money.
(Kathi Berkley)

After the big holiday many of the students were absent. It was a quiet and relaxing day. The eight students present in Millie and I’s class seemed to be more engaged that they had ever been before. We had a scavenger hunt, read books, played musical chairs and pin the tail on the donkey. I told about my home town and where I am from and as a follow up activity we made US dogs. I thought this was a silly idea, but the kids thought it was a hit :)

The older class divided into groups again and one group couldn’t decide what page they were on, so they switched things up and made their lesson into a ball game. These children really seem to like games and are perhaps how they learn the most.

Mary, Kathy and I played ball in the pool after lunch while Marcy napped. After swimming we read children’s books by the pool. I went to the beach for a power nap and to write out a game plan on lessons for the week while Kathy and Mary ambitiously organized the flash card supply.

Finally we all ate dinner together and listened to Sam tell us about customs and culture here in Greece. After this Marcy went to bed after a long day, I looked up more information on the internet to use for lessons while Kathy and Mary sorted flash cards into the night.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday, August 13
Created by: Christen Bernard

Quote for the day:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
(Mary Rizzolo)

Just as we get to knowing each other Lindsey is back off to the U.S. Today, Lindsey had our puppet show and she arranged for the children to make us T-shirts and we made wax relief paintings.

Kathy, Marcy and Mary created a scavenger fun with their students with words written on balloons and played their usual four squares. Made the most of a teachable moment as one child said “That fun!” -- Kathy corrected saying, “That funny!”—Perhaps these situations are how we can teach kids the most.

As I went to Minoan Palace to lie on the beach and have dinner with friends, it sounds like I missed quite the send off for Lindsey and birthday celebration for Milli. Apparently there was an incredible cake and ice cream.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thursday, August 12
Created by: Mary Rizzolo

Quote for the day:
I dwell in possibility
(Marcy Berlin)

After a fun and food filled last night it was difficult to get out of bed this morning. Fortunately there were many incentives – great food, great company and great expectations.

Lindsay and Christen had a fun and busy day. There was dress rehearsal and lots of dancing. The children in their class are not only great artists but awesome dancers. Christen has it all on film. She would be wise to get their autographs now before they become rich and famous.

Day 4 of captivity:
The older children in Kathi, Mary and my class continue to be bribable with tickers. Is that an actual word? Oh well, it’s all Greek to me. All kidding aside, they are very energetic and bright individuals. The more we can incorporate our lessons into activities the better they seem to do.

Marcy has been keeping them enthralled with her wonderful story telling. She read part 2 of her story today. Will there be a sequel? You will have to stick around to find out.

Kathi has been working on short and long vowels and silent letters. She has taught the children a game called “Very Silly Sentences.” It’s a big hit! They may not understand what the scared squirrel climbs a sandwich or what the purple elephant hops the crocodile means, but neither do we. Do we? All that matters is that they are laughing and learning.

I have been working with Sofia, Nick and Drakos on basic letters and words. I am very happy with their progress. Sofia is picking up things very fast and was even helping Nick while I worked with Drakos today. Nick loves to play basketball and always asks be to play at every recess. I don’t like basketball but I like seeing the smile on his face when I say yes.

After class we ate lunch and then we did our own things. Lindsey, Christen and Alice (Sam’s youngest daughter) drew and painted by the pool. Marcy napped while Kathi and I splashed around in the pool.

Later in the day Sam, Lindsey, Kathi and I went to a Greek Target to see if we could find water color paints, and stickers for our classes.

Dinner was delicious as usual. After dinner Lindsey went to bed and the rest of us had Greek dance lessons. We had a great instructor and had lots of fun. And here I though the children were the only ones who don’t know their right from their left. Well, off to bed to recharge. Morning comes way too soon.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesday, August 11
Created by: Marcy Berlin

Quote for the day:
Author: Maya Angelou

Love life, engage in it, give it all you’ve got. Love it with a passion, because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.(Christen Bernard)

Well, Sam was on the mark-by Wednesday what seemed impossible on Monday now seems totally possible! Five “so-called” teachers faced a conglomerate of children ready to learn and play. What to do? As if by magic, we have begun to figure things out, found all kinds of activities in which to engage the children and everyone is settling in.

We have been reading stories (with the assistance of our fantastic translators), playing sports, drawing murals, planning a puppet show and engaging in assorted games.

The original plan for the afternoon was for all five of us to go to Knossos. The actual activities were –two at the beach, one relaxing ad two brave souls (Kathleen and Mary) who braved the heat to visit Knossos! Well at least the rest of us will get to see the photos from their hard-earned visit.

We all shared family style dinner at Petousis. A good time was had by all – including Sam’s husband and daughter Alice who arrived for dessert. By, the way, is anyone interested in a twelve year old crocodile?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday, August 10
Created by: Christen Bernard

Quote for the day
Author: Amelia Barnhardt

Energy begets energy
Light begets light
It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.
(Lindsey Rosen)

Yesterday was such a great day for so many reasons. Lindsey and I had an exciting day making mouse puppets with the younger children. We were amazed by their brilliant and brightly colored mouse puppet creations. Some kids who previously were not as engaged truly excelled in this creative activity. We were so proud of them. Today, we both noticed that students had started to talk to us more.

Eva’s mom came into our classroom today and introduced herself. She was everything I have always pictured Grecian women to look like; a knock-out in her designer dress and sunglasses. She spoke English with one of those many, but none the lacking super sexy European accents that I do so lust after….

Marcy, Mary and Kathy felt their classroom was somewhat less talkative and manageable than the day before. Lindsey and I felt the same way... I wonder if this is the children getting used to us or we are getting used to them. Right now or group is submersed in an unfamiliar language, environment and culture and I wonder who is learning more—them or us.

They broke into groups today based on their abilities and they felt like this was a wise move for them. As a whole class, they felt like this made things more manageable for them. They also expressed that they felt that many of their students could recognize and read many words, they just had trouble internalizing and knowing what they were reading---this keeps them from understanding…

It has been mentioned that Mary may have an admirer. But who can blame the “little guy” for picking up on her patience and kindness. I expect the kindness of Mary to bring this little boy out of his shell and gain self confidence.

While working with Lindsey I am constantly trying to manage my thoughts and keep up with her :)You ask me who would possibly think of making multi colored mouse puppets and spontaneously become a story teller at a gelato shop---I introduce to you Lindsey. I am thankful she is my partner as ideas are coming out of that mind of hers faster than I can write. Constantly, I have to stop myself to search for my notebook and write her ideas down, because they are simply amazing. Selfishly, I figure I will probably not have time to use all of her ideas while she is here, but I still have a week without her!! I’m jotting this stuff down while she is here!!

Lindsey and I walked through Iraklion and got lost—in fear of missing dinner time we took a cab back to the hotel. We took pictures of each other doing silly things and Lindsey taught me how to do interesting close ups… We looked at agrological features that proceeded the 16th Century as we snacked on what Lindsey said the best fruit drink she had ever had and some pretty tasty gelato. The other ladies seemed to have gotten more lost than we even did!

Once again I am amazed by the kindness of another nation. Many have told me to be careful going to a foreign country all by myself, but upon entering Greece I have experienced nothing but kindness from its people. I feel blessed to be a part of this amazing experience. With Kathy’s religious interests, Marcy’s travels throughout the world, Mary’s kindness and ability to step back and noticed children that don’t always take initiative and Lindsey’s vast amount of creativity and knowledge about teaching children. Sam’s vast travel experience and ability to manage her beautiful family while being a team and country manager---- I can tell that I have a lot to learn from these ladies. I hope I take these things into consideration---as I search deeper into myself throughout this journey.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday, August 9
Created by: Lindsey Rosen

Quote for the day
Author: Margaret Mead

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: indeed it’s the only thing that ever has. (Kathi Berkley)

Today the Crete team had our first day of teaching English.

Mary and Kathi and Marcy led the 8, 9 and 10 year olds. They played SWAT, hitting alphabet letters, and Marcy was an ace at learning to play 4 square. Mary played a word game with one boy, telling him to draw on the board words like moon and sun.

Lindsey, Christen and Mele led the kindergarten and first graders. We began a play based on Eric Carles’ Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? , played musical chairs and played outside. The children sang with us the first period: a name song, head, shoulders, knees and toes, and the hokie pokie. We also sand the days of the week song. We were loud, but we had fun together.

The cat and dog puppets were introduced by name and passed around during the name song. We look forward to more English learning tomorrow. (Lindsey Rosen)