Yes, the stereotype is true: everyone is loud in Spain.... so that means the students are louder here. That has been something I still am not used to. It's not always that they are being disrespectful, much of the yelling and chatting is socially acceptable for students here. So normally I just keep to myself and try not to let it bother me. I have to tell myself *they have no idea that this is rude in my country, everything is fine*.
Another difference in the school here and the school in America is the emphasis on handwriting and language. These first graders know, Spanish, Catalan, and English! And they write in beautiful cursive handwriting! If it isn't legible or has errors, they must be corrected before turning them in. In America, the teachers tell me that the students will learn to write their letters correctly as they get older, and that the main goal is to let the students try on their own and do their best to gain an understanding of the concepts. It's interesting to see the different approaches, because I see advantages and disadvantages to both!
In America, the students often have buckets of supplies shared among the students. They may have a pencil box with some crayons and scissors, but they know there are always extras. Here, each student has a pencil case that hold their crayons, colored pencils, erasers (they call them rubbers), scissors, etc. They are very responsible with their things because they know it´s the only way to have supplies! They are neat and organized and keep up with their things remarkably well. Again, just different expectations.
This week Miss Carla has been doing a science unit about planet earth. Because she has been working with Miss Alex, her unit must be taught in English. She's been working hard to get the correct words and pronunciations for everything....I can't imagine trying to teach a whole unit in anything other than my native language! She asked me to listen to her lesson and write out suggestions for improving her English. I really only came up with a few things that could be phrased better, but she was so grateful! She's working on extra English courses this summer to specialize in English education. I'm so impressed by these bilingual and trilingual educators!!
Her lessons have been so cute! She had the students glue different green and brown paper in the shapes of the continents on a map of the world. While the other students took turns on the map, the rest of the class found and labeled different countries on inflatable globes. They loved these activities!! She also made a giant world map and color-coded the continents. The students practiced labeling the continents and the difference between a continent, country, city, etc.
Last school day is tomorrow... can't believe it's already here. So, SO bittersweet!