Friday, April 4, 2008

Sucking too hard on your lollipop, love's gonna get you down...


Thursday was a rough day. School One's fourth graders did beautifully with crossword puzzles and word searches. I did these because they help reinforce the spelling of the words and also the image-word correlations we've been working on. It was exciting to find something they thrived on, but also disappointing that something so so so banal would occupy them so completely. I mean, when I was in elementary school, I hated those stupid puzzles. But whatever works I guess.

School One was also doing school pictures. The third graders' sessions was actually scheduled during their English lesson, which was fine with me. I was not looking forward to playing lion tamer again. Their teacher Fabienne gave me such a surprise - she actually smiled at me! She's always been very quiet and reserved. She invited me to have my picture taken with the class. So I'm in the class picture! And I got an individual picture taken. Luckily I was having an awesome hair day, zits that refused to disappear, and was wearing a light blue sweater. It should come out wonderful. *sarcasm* The principal Mr. Modeste asked me for a copy of my picture. I joked "With my autograph on it?" He played along. "Yes, I collect pictures of famous American actresses. I'll tell everyone who asks that it was a famous American actress who came to Ussel." I LOVE Mr. Modeste. He is friggin amazing. Ahhh that was a great morning.

School Two's ridiculous fourth graders were especially ridiculous on Thursday. I gave them all croix dans les règles de vie (discipline marks). Stop talking. Write. Some students finished and it was because they focused on their work. EEESH. Marie-Pierre totally backs me up on them. They are just obnoxious. I'm going to change their seats again after vacation. Keep them on their toes.

Thursday afternoon's lessons at School Three were cancelled because the fourth grade classes were putting on plays. Luc's class put on a play called "A Day at the Museum." Students shared the roles of the Mona Lisa, the Thinker, and some famous statue of the discus thrower. It was basically commentaries of the works of arts and the various visitors to the museum. Cute. My students and the students of another fourth grade class put on a play that I think was set in 1940s Paris. Apart from that I'm not sure what it was about. It was hard to hear them. The kids didn't speak up or articulate that well. The most surprising part about this school assembly, the closest cultural translation I can think of, is that after the students presented the plays, the entire cast came out and fielded questions and comments from the audience. And the audience were their classmates. Wow. You'd never see that in the States!

Thursday evening was spent with Marie. Carine is coming back from her maternity leave. So Marie has been proposed (that's directly translated from the French) another substitute teacher post - sixth grade English in Brive until the end of the year. I'm going to pass along my fifth and fourth grade activities to her, including the grammar I'd love to do with my students but aren't allowed. She's a fun person. Very sensitive. We went shopping for perfume - would you believe that Ussel has two perfume shops? - and she spent about forty-five minutes smelling bottle after bottle. In case anyone's wondering, J'adore Dior eau de parfum for me please. And LaCoste Essential for Andy. And then she bought chocolate so all was forgiven.

This Friday morning was wonderfully simple. I fully subscribe to the idea that students must work independently, albeit with structured activities, with the language in order to own it and understand it on their own terms. So my two fifth grade classes did beautifully with their card game. Catherine's fourth grade class is just too obedient to play. They worry too much about people following the rules. I have also come to the conclusion that A*B*'s sole purpose in life is to piss off M*. Not one lesson goes by without M* whining "He's bothering me! Can I please sit with M*?" (Her friend.)

The best part about School Two is how welcoming and friendly the teachers are. They invited me to their regular pre-vacation luncheon. Catherine and Marie-Pierre were in charge of this time. There was trail mix and little pâté slices with kirs for apéritif; cheesy puffs for entrée; chopped endive, ham and cheese for salad; coq au vin with boiled potatoes for main; bleu cheese and cantal cheese; coconut pound cake and the richest chocolate mousse everrr for dessert. Remember the Christmas luncheon and how Christophe was overly generous with the champagne and wine? Goodness who on earth puts that man in charge of the drinks. But it was delightful. At the end of the meal, they made sure everyone had contributed. I asked the teacher who had the cash box quietly during clean-up how much I could contribute and she blew me off, laughing. Christophe asked "What are you two girls talking about?" and she explained to him that I was trying to give them money. He laughed and said "We don't take dollars!" Ahhh I LOVE School Two!

I am ALL set for vacation! I have all of my airline and hostel reservation confirmations printed and ready. I know how to get to the airport from the train station in Toulouse - it'll cost 3.10€! All I have to do while on vacation is eat, sightsee, and shop. I am SO excited!!! I'm very anxious as well but that's normal.

The pictures on PicasaWeb have also been updated from the last month. All the new pictures are in the Ussel album. I have to do some major reorganizing. That album is all mixed up. Enjoy! More pictures to come when I get home!!

1 comment:

Nikki said...

Bon vacances! Profit well (also a direct French translation, hehehe...)! Hopefully you'll love Barcelona as much as I did :)