Tag Archives: language

English Summer Camp A Luat Sfarșit!!!!!

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I can safely say that my first ever English camp was a success! I’m extremely happy that it went so well and i’m just as happy that its over. This time last week, I was freaking out and trying to lesson plan and think of creative activities to do with the kids. Now i’m sitting in an empty apartment procrastinating the cleaning that needs to be done. Continuing where I left off with my last post, Thursday, we started out at the school and went around town to verify the written directions the groups had made to various locations throughout the town. After finishing up that, the real fun started. We headed out on a short 45 hike to a local hilltop with an amazing view of the city and it’s surroundings. We stopped mid way, did the banana song, then continued up the hill. When we got to the top, the kids were blown away by the view and spent the next half an hour pointing out their houses and other places of interest. I found it interesting that most of the kids, even though they have spent their entire lives here, had never been on this hill. Click here for more pictures from the hike.

After the camp was done, we (the counselors) went grocery shopping, and headed home. While Jeremy was making an absolutely amazing dinner, we busted out my newly purchased Monopoly set and started playing and planning for Friday’s activities. During our dinner conversation, Melissa and I decided on creating a scavenger hunt for the groups that would take them throughout the entire city. We amazingly completed everything within 2 hours. We devided the group up into 4 teams and had each of them go to a total of 6 locations.  Here is the list of clues that each team had to figure out. Scavenger Hunt Clues We woke up Friday morning at 6am and headed out to hide the clues. Imagine 3 Americans running around at the break of dawn taping things under benches, tables, and statues. I’m sure the locals that were out were wondering what the hell we were up to.

Friday was a sports/field day where we just did a bunch of relay races and we even taught the kids how to play ultimate frisbee. We started the day off with the scavenger hunt. I’m going to be honest and say that I definitely had my qualms about this event. I expected the kids to think it was too hard and give up or to screw around and not do it or to leave and not come back. Much to my surprise, 40 minutes later, the first team came back singing Queen’s “We are the Champions”. I verified all the pictures they took on their phone and asked them the 1 question they had to answer and that was when does train 15157 arrive into Sangeorz-Bai. Unfortunately, the team was in such a rush to finish that they totally skipped that part of the clue. The second team arrived about 5 minutes after and the first thing they said to me was 11:30!!!!!! This was the time the train got into the station. They were so worried that they would forget, they made sure to tell me immediately. Since this team knew the time, they were awarded with first place and got the prize which were bags of candy. All the teams did a great job and from what some of the locals told me, the teams took the competitive nature of the hunt to heart and were running around the entire city not even bothering to stop and say hello to their elders.

When all the teams got back, I asked them what games from this week they wanted to play and it was a unanimous vote for Mafia. We played mafia twice and then we moved on to the more physical activities. Jeremy taught them a cool game called trophy, we did some relay races where they had to create their own teams and they called themselves Team Bananas and Team Apples. The last and final game we did was ultimate frisbee. It took a while for them to understand how it worked and it didn’t help that they kept on trying to throw it as far as they could so the frisbee would inevitably role down the hill. After about 20 minutes of play, the first goal was scored and we decided to call it a day. I handed out all the diplomas and asked the kids for some feedback.

I can’t even begin to describe how much of a high I am on right now. I’m still in shock that I managed to pull this off and I know I could not have done it without the help and support of the PCVs that came in(some as far as 12 hours on an overnight train).

Below are more pictures and videos from the camp. Enjoy!

Click here for pictures from the entire week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would also like to mention that ( if you don’t included prizes which were my choice to by) we spent a total of 10 Lei on the camp. That works out to about $3.25 American Dollars. I think that is fairly amazing!

Slow Week

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After the hustle and bustle that started with counterpart conference, I am more than thrilled to say that this week was quite mundane and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Getting back into the language groove after site visits was fairly difficult for the group as a whole. At least one person in my class was “off” every day and we just felt defeated most of the time. Friday we had a practice LPI exam which we were told mimics very closely what we will see in our exams in a week. I felt I did alright but definitely not nearly up to my potential. I find it difficult that our language skill can be measured in a 20 minute conversation discussing and comparing our families and our cities and then having us ask some questions to the interviewer, but oh well. We find out tomorrow how we fared and that will help me gauge how much I need to study this upcoming week.

 

There isn’t really much to update all of you on. There was a music festival in town this weekend so my nights were spent in the center then followed by nachos at the Celt ( it’s the little piece of America that we all crave every weekend). My host family took me to the salt mines in Prahova County today and that was definitely a new experience. I didn’t really know what to expect but when we got down there, my business loving side was blown away. The county has created quite the money make with this salted underground cavern. On top of paying an entry of 14lei per person, there is a snack bar, gift shop area, a few scooter type rides, a section of twin beds that can be rented out, ping pong tables, and pool tables all that cost money. I would have never expected to see either of the latter 200 meters below ground but they are there and they seem to be cash cows.

 

The story behind this mine is that it was used between 1943-1970 before the “new” mine was built close by. The total excavated space occupies about 3 million meters cubed and has a depth of 208 meters which the dinky little elevator spans in 90 seconds. The mine temperature is a constant 12 degrees Celsius year around.

 

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I Just Got Flashed by a 2nd Grader

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Today was my first day teaching in our new practicum school which is a “middle school” but really it has what seems to be all the grades up to 8 in it. I was in charge of teaching the 2nd grade class about clothing. The kids start learning English in the 3rd grade but they have the option of starting in the 2nd grade so I taught the “optional” class. I brought in a bunch of clothing items to help teach the words. The students really got a kick out of the dress and my scarf. Everyone wanted to wear the scarf..i’m not sure why. After going around the room and asking them what it was, I taught them a song about clothes to help them remember to the tune of “head, shoulders, knees, and toes” but it was “hat, tshirt, jeans, and shoes” They absolutely loved the song and picked up on it instantly. I didn’t have to repeat it at all and by the end they were singing it by themselves without my help. Since these activities ended up being shorter than planned, I also had them draw what they wear during the weekend since they are in uniforms at school and had a few kids come up and tell the class what they draw. I ended the session with a short game of SLAP where i wrote the words on the board in English and said it to them in Romanian and they had to compete against another student to find the word and slap it. It was definitely much more interesting teaching primary school as opposed to high school but i really enjoyed it. I’m sure my high energy and just flat out goofyness. The last class in the day was cut short due to the “carnival” the school was having to celebrate the 1st of June which is Children’s day. We got to see some of the students participate in the costume contest which was adorable. When we got back to the classroom, a girl that participated in the costume contest came in late and started stripping in class. No joke… her top was open…she took it off changed her shirt and her bottoms as well. CULTURE SHOCK. I have seen little kids running around the beach without a top on but never imagined that it would happen in school….WOW. That’s all I’ve got for today. Until next time! TE PUP!

Carnavalul Florilor

Some of the kids waiting for the contest to start

Cute!

Rooster

Adorable

Typical Romanian Garb

My walk home on the gorgeous "Old Blvd"

The one of many gorgeous houses on the old blvd.

Another one

The Mundane Life

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There really isn’t anything to report since my last post. It feels like I have been living in this country for months and months rather than barely 3 weeks. Language classes are getting  progressively harder due to the copious amounts of vocabulary words that are being thrust at us on a daily basis. I believe we have made it over the verb conjugating hump which was the roughest part so far. We learned past tense today so now i can go home and tell my host family that I did something earlier as opposed to saying I am doing something yesterday. Oh the simple things…

This week was a huge week when it came to practicum. I have been slacking on my language homework due to my large amounts of stress over lesson planning. I now have a new found respect for teachers that I never have had before! I spent a solid 4 hours working on a lesson plan for ONE 10th grade class this week. Starting Tuesday, I was a nervous wreck. I almost cried walking home on Tuesday because I had the worst case of writers block I could imagine. I had NO idea where to start when it came to my lesson plan and, although i had the text book as a reference point, I didn’t find anything very amusing in it that I would have liked to use. I finally laid down some framework on Tuesday and skyped with a current volunteer and she got me through the emotional parts of thinking I was going to crash and burn. After finally putting all of the pieces of the plan together last night, I taught my first full class today!

I consider it a partial success… I got through the entire class without any damages, emotional or physical, and i believe that by the end of the class almost all the students fully understood what i was trying to teach them. The lesson was in regards to general vs. specific nouns with 10 new vocab words that were general nouns as well. I had a lot of activities planned and even thought of an extra one just in case I had a nice amount of time left over. The kids seemed to enjoy the various worksheets and games we played which was a plus but I know there are many things that I would have changed if I got a chance to. Well, i guess this is what practicum is for! To find out what are strengths and weaknesses are in the classroom and to improve on them before we get to our actual classrooms in the fall.

Tomorrow is our last day at our current practicum schools. Next week my group goes to a middle school which can be anywhere from 3rd-8th grade. I’m excited to see how much the younger kids know and how the various teaching and learning styles come into play.

Before I write my final thought, I would like to remind you that I live in a nicely sized city of 100K. I also live fairly close to the center with apartment buildings, busy streets, and the general hustle and bustle of a city. With this said, here is a picture of what I saw while driving down a fairly busy street today… Only in Romania.

Yep...that's a goat.

Ce?!?

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So after a month of procrastination, I have finally mustered up enough motivation to start learning Romanian. Coincidentally, I got an email this week from my favorite travel blog, matadornetwork.com listing the top 9 easiest languages for an English speaker to learn and Romanian was NUMBER NINE! WOOHOO! This eased my nervousness about the language a little bit until i started studying.

I’ve realized that with the random mix of languages that I know/am familiar with, I tend to confuse them. Serbian was my first language which I am fluent in and as you can see, I am also fluent in English. I studied Spanish for 4 years in highschool which doesn’t amount to much considering I would try to distract our teacher for the entire period with random topics of conversation. My record was 42 minutes discussing Michael Jackson. I also took a semester of German in college which is where I realized I tend to mix languages. When I first started learning German, or at least first started attempting to learn it, I would confuse Spanish, Serbian, and German grammar rules. Now trying to learn Romanian, I’ve found myself attempting the same things. In a way, the vocab is easier because there are a lot of similarities with Spanish since they are both romance languages and there are some Slavic influences within Romanian that I can pick up on as well. It is basically starting to be a big mess of languages that I am praying I can distinguish between soon.

My cousin Danijela was helping me study the other day and I told her how our placement is based on how well we master the language and her response was “well…expect to be placed in a very tiny village” so that is the current running joke….hopefully my language won’t be TOO awful by the time I’m done with pre service training :/

I guess I just have to take one day at a time and hopefully the submersion will greatly speed up the learning curve. On that note, I’m going to utilize the few words that I have learned and say noapte buna (goodnight)!