Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Over the Hump

Three good days in a row. I like this class very much. Yesterday was quite busy, as Pam had a science fair meeting with her parents in the evening so we hustled over to ThIS after school and then I had to compile plans, print handouts, and email parents in the evening.

Today looked troublesome at first -- one of the teachers who would be working with me was sick, and so was one of the parents. We had a 7th grade teacher help, but we were still short one person. It turned out okay though... I am surprised to find I can handle a group by myself with little need for translation help.

I have learned a lot of Norwegian this week, and have had a lot of practice speaking. Many phrases now feel natural, automatic even, and today almost all of the words I wanted to say that I didn't know I guessed at... and got almost all of them right. The kids have been terrific teaching me how to say and pronounce words.

I read Maggie and the Abacaba Genies to the class, or rather, I showed the pictures and told the story in Norwegian. It was good fun, and they did some good algebra and number patterning afterwards. (Incidentally, Norwegian for "number pattern" is "tallmønster" -- I love that!)

The kids get tired quickly in class. 45 minutes is too long for most activities, so the kids have lots of breaks. We meet all together (all 57 kids) in the morning then split into two groups. After 45 minutes, we go outside for 15 minutes, then 45 more minutes and it's lunch and then recess. We then have two approximately 50 minute sessions in the afternoon with another recess in the middle.

We made pop-up cards at the end of today, and it was sweet wonderful chaos. Mike! Mike! Mike! is still ringing in my ears, so many kids vying for attention. They all managed to make cards, and some kids made several. The kids and teaching assistants all loved the activity, and we are all excited for class tomorrow.

Walking home, I met some of my students who wanted me to juggle for their siblings. "Sjøngler fra u.s.a.!" they exclaimed. Afterwards, two 6th graders from the school rode up to me on bikes and talked to me most of the way home. They had heard about the American juggler and had lots of questions. I felt very comfortable talking to them in Norwegian. Very cool.

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