Monday, November 25, 2013

Half Way!

So today marks the day that I'm half way finished with my stay here in Barcelona. I love it here, but I'm ready to see my family and have some Taco Bell!! With the holidays coming up, it really makes me miss home, but I'm so grateful to be here! Last weeks school week was a wild one along with a crazy time in PARIS for my second weekend! 
Last week, a lot of things started to happen because it is almost time for finals!! Yes, they have finals and they have 6 of them: English, Catalan, Religion, Math, Science, and Spanish!!! That seems like a college finals week to me! They are only 3rd graders! I have been so impressed with language that these students have to learn. They HAVE to learn Spanish, Catalan (another form of Spanish) and English. They study three languages during heir whole school career. It is sad that in America we get 2 years in highschool of a language that we choose. It really opens my eyes and it makes me want to learn another language! 
We have been preparing for their finals in Science and English. Their English final is over using the gerund -ing, "I can, you can't" sentences, asking questions etc. In Science, they are learning and studying about jobs (anything prior to this unit). For example, arable farming, livestock farming, craftsmen etc. I really enjoyed this weeks science because the students had the chance to be play roles of these "jobs". The boys got to design a car and the girls got to design clothes. They took a filed trip to a dairy farm/factory and we are going to make our own yogurt and cheese! They also got to make their own clay pottery! We had so much fun last week with the hands on activities. Along with the hands on activities, they worked in groups on vocabulary, worksheets, matching etc. For a 45 minute window I feel like the students do get a great sense of what is going on. It is really student centered which I love and it is all in English! 
Along with studying for finals and wrapping up the units, I had the opportunity last week to conduct an interview setting with each boy and girl in my 3rd grade classes. The interview took about 8 minutes and the student had to present their self to me in English. It took a couple of days to get through all of the students because it is only a 45 minute instruction block! The girls did really well. I had to score them on a scale of 1-10 and take notes of what they had trouble on! The girls did outstanding; majority of the, scored around a 7. The most common mistakes they made were sentences being very translated, past tense, and nouns were all called "she". For example, "We go to the house of my brother." I feel like this is very common because in English it is switched; "We went to my brother's house." The boys were a different story, I hardly understood majority of them. They really did try, but I don't think they practice as much as the girls. Most of the boys scored around a 4. A lot of their weak points were naturally mixing Spanish with their English--they need to build their vocabulary. During this whole interview, only 2 girls and one boy started off the interview with, "My name is..." I had to correct everyone else. Mrs. Marsia loved that I did this because in 4th grade they have a huge English speaking exam through Cambridge--which is equivalent to our testing state tests. 
On top of studying for finals and wrapping up the English and Science units, my 3rd graders (and the whole school) have to learn Christmas or religious songs for the holidays. They will put on a performance in front of their parents in three weeks. The songs they are learning are in all 3 languages!!! They have to learn English songs, Catalan songs, and Spanish songs!!!! 😳 That takes talent and hard work for an 8 year old!!!
At home I have been studying with Marian and Victoria. Marian and I work on spelling, sentences, and vocabulary. Marian does so well with English! In return, she teaches me Spanish sentences. We also read together! I brought a picture book that has English and Spanish mixed together; Marian loves it! Victoria on the other hand is a hoot! She loves to sing songs, so that is what we do! Her new favorite, to get into the holiday spirit, is Jingle Bells. She has her own bells and she runs around the house dancing, jingling, and singing jingle bells a gazillion times! It is too cute! I also like to play a game with her that we started the other night. She has a box that she puts items in and I have to guess what they are. I will ask her questions in English to figure out what is in the box! We have so much fun playing this game--her items are so unique. 
On Wednesday, we all went to the famous Barce Futbol Stadium! Barcelona is one of the best teams! I was so excited to see the stadium, but I also wanted to cry! I've been wanting to go to an European Soccer Game my whole life, but I went to Paris instead! I know I will be able to come back one day and watch one! 
Thursday was special day here at the Molins house because Victoria lost her first tooth! She was so excited; she ran to me first thing that morning to show me! She was so excited to lose a tooth, she stuck it in her pocket to take it to school with her. We didn't know until she came home with it taped in her agenda 😉. Victoria got great gifts from the tooth fairy that night! I think she can't wait to lose another one! Also on Thursday, Sarah, Amanda, Mary Bruce, Shannon, and I went to Place de Catalyuna and we walked the streets of the city center to the Picasso museum. That was pretty interesting! I loved seeing some of his earlier works!
Well, well, weekend in Paris was a pretty good one! I have been there before so it was exciting to go back after 12 years to see if I could remember everything and see if anything changed. I did notice the people have changed. It definitely is a mix of people then it was 12 years ago. Anyway, Faith and I left Saturday morning at 5:30. We flew to Paris to meet 2 of our friends, but we never saw them! We don't know what happened there?! We got to our hotel and we were generally pleased with it. We were just excited that we found it in our own! After our hotel, Faith booked a walking tour so that is what we did. We met at Sant Michael's fountain and went from there. It was a general tour so we didn't go into anything, but we saw all the major Paris musts with a little bit of history behind them. I really enjoyed the tour, except the fact it felt below zero and we walked for 3 hours. My feet were frozen! After the tour, we got tickets for a boat ride on the Seine River--this was my favorite part of the trip! We did get a little stressed finding the place because Paris is so spread out; it took us about an hour and a half to find it! It was definitely worth the trouble of finding it. We rode the Seine at night with all the buildings lit up and it was magical! The Eiffel Tower sparkled (literally) and Notre Dame was gorgeous! During our boat ride, we met all kinds of people. We talked to Germans for a while and we all went to the Christmas market! The Christmas market was on Champs Élysées and it was next to the Arc de Triumph. It was beautiful! Vendors lined the streets, Christmas music was playing (in English ha), everything was lit up, and the smells were amazing. We ate at the Christmas market and walked the streets of Champs Élysées for a while. We even tried Gluewein; which is German for hot wine! It tastes like hot cider, but in different flavors! After being up for almost 24 hours we had to call it a night!
The next day was just as amazing! We waited in line for the Eiffel Tower and we met people from Chicago! It was nice to hear a familiar sound! We waited in line for about an hour and Faith and I made our way to the tip top of the Eiffel Tower. Faith's face was priceless! It was also much colder up at the top so we rushed that part! However, the views were breathtaking! I could see for miles! It sure hasn't changed from 12 years ago! After the Eiffel Tower, we took the metro to Montemarte which is more of a village scene. I was not a big fan of Montemarte; I didn't feel comfortable being there, but it was still an amazing experience! Faith and I are pretty proud of ourselves for navigating Paris just the two of us! We feel like we can do anything after that! I was so wore out and slept the whole plane ride home! I was so excited to see Victoria and Marian!!!! I couldn't wait to be back in Barcelona where it was 15 degrees warmer! 
Overall, the second week has been amazing and I can't wait to see what my last two weeks bring me!!
Victoria is dying for me to play with her so Audios Amigos! 
One of my 5th grade boy's pencil drawing on perspective!!!! Pretty amazing!!
Ines and Andrea at recess--I love these girls! 
My 3rd grade boys singing and learning Holly Jolly Christmas!
Victoria losing her first tooth!!!
Bonjour Paris! 
Locks of love bridge. Fun fact: every so often, the city has to come clip locks off and throw them away because it weighs down the bridge!!!! Yes, so your love lock is not forever on the Locks of Love bridge!!! 
At the Louvre with Faith!
Our boat ride on the Seine!!! My favorite part!!
The Arc de Triumph.
At the Christmas Market on Champs Élysées !!
Enjoying the view at the top of the Eiffel Tower!

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