In Moldova, it is customary that, in schools, there is a week within the school year that is dedicated to specific subjects (i.e. geography, music, math, etc.). Well, this past week at my school was dedicated to foreign languages–French and English. I’ll take you through the highlights of the week so you can see how we at Liceul Teoretic Stefan cel Mare celebrated the English language!
On Monday, my partners created cute little gifts for the other teachers in the school. They printed off a table of common English greetings, their Romanian translation, and the pronunciation guide. There was also a paper with the pronunciation for numbers in English. Wrapped inside these papers was a piece of candy and these treats were given to the teachers as they walked into the school building for the day. Two primary school children handed them out, greeting each teacher with a “Good Morning” in English. Many of the teachers in my school do not know English, but I was excited to see them employing some of the phrases that they had been introduced to through our welcome treats. I had a handful of teachers greet me with a “Hello/Good morning/Good afternoon/Goodbye” during the day and that definitely put a smile on my face.
Another thing that we did on Monday was host a small masa (or meal) for all of the teachers. This has become common in our school since the opening of the Peace Corps grant-funded resource room that my school administration, partners, and I created at the beginning of this school year. Since it is a place primarily for teachers, we are able to have special events like this to celebrate and spend time together outside of the classroom. During one of our large breaks during the day, my partners, the French teacher, and I set the table with traditional Moldovan finger foods (bread with cheese and salami, cheese and potato-filled pastries, and traditional Moldovan cookies). In addition to this, I prepared made-from-scratch brownies and peanut butter cookies and my partners informed the rest of the teachers that I had made these especially for this masa and that they are common desserts in America. To my surprise, both of my desserts went over swimmingly–Americans tend to like their desserts on the sweeter side than here in Moldova–and I received compliments from other teachers all day.
One of my partners is currently participating in a training in the capital city to further improve and enhance her teaching skills so I am teaching my older students by myself for the next couple of weeks. Since I started flying solo during English week, I decided to create lessons for my 10th-12th graders that weren’t out of the book, but allowed for a different kind of instruction. The lesson was focused around the song “Imagine” by John Lennon–we talked about who he was, his background, and then we began analyzing the lyrics and the song. Students participated in listening activities centered around the song and, after completing the activities, worked together in groups to understand/analyze the lyrics in a way that made sense to them. They could translate them, break them down line by line…however they needed to be able to interact with the overall message. After discussing in groups, they shared their ideas, opinions, analysis, etc. with the rest of the class.
The next lesson during the week asked the groups to create a poster imagining a perfect world (see what I did there–imagine–get it?). I gave them as much time as they needed in a 45-minute class period to create their posters and the majority of the groups took the entire time. When they presented their posters on Friday, many of them used words like peace, harmony, love, unity, friendship. Some groups stated that, in their perfect world, there would be no racism, no discrimination, everyone would be allowed to live how they want and be who they want to be, and there would be no wars–only mutual understanding and respect.
One of my students said “Having a perfect world is impossible, but it is important to dream about what it would look like so we know how we can work toward making it better.”
Have I mentioned lately how much I love my kids? Because, well, they’re pretty freaking awesome.
On Friday, we wrapped up the week by playing a friendly game of Jeopardy where students worked in groups to answer questions about UK History, USA History, UK Culture, and USA Culture. Jeopardy is a review game that I use often with my younger students, but I have never gotten the opportunity to use it with my older ones, so I was excited to share it with them and they really enjoyed getting to play.
Here are some photos from the week of my students working on their “Imagine” projects and the finished products:
**Coming soon: a post about the open lesson that my partner and I held during the week with our 5th grade class**