Second Grade’s Seussical Showcase – My Last Student Teaching Project

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I am so proud to say that I made all of the decorations for our Showcase! Coming from someone with crafting anxiety, this is a big deal!Image

After presenting a biography of Dr. Seuss (and quizzing their parents!) my kiddos did a Reader’s Theatre (a type of play) of Oh The Places You’ll Go. They did AMAZING! It takes a lot of guts for a non-native speaker to ACT OUT Dr. Seuss’s complex rhymes. Their practice paid off. They also acted out The Sneetches – with a  homemade Star Off Machine.

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This was the presentation I was most proud of because I spent the most time prepping for it. In science, we have been learning about the different types of matter. After reading Bartholomew and the Oobleck, we made Oobleck in class! My students did the experiment with their parents today and taught them all about the special qualities of this non-Newtonian fluid. I was so impressed!

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My cooperating teacher, Wara, and I made our students Dr. Seuss Goodie bags as a surprise. They were filled with Truffala trees pencils, Dr. Seuss bookmarks, and Lorax mustaches. Between those fun things and the Seuss snacks the parents made, we had a party after the show!

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All in all, I fell in love with these kids. Seeing them interact with their parents and families today helped me to see them in a whole new light. I have adored watching them learn and I am so grateful to have been a part of their special Showcase today. It was truly an unforgettable and unique experience to have been working toward. I am much sadder about saying goodbye tomorrow than I thought I would be. Who would have guessed I would get THIS attached in only one month?

Come roll in all the riches all around you, and for once, never wonder what they’re worth.

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This past weekend, I fell in love. There have been several places that have stolen my heart before but Mindo just might top the list. I can’t get over what a beautiful place it was and how serene it made me feel.

Saturday afternoon, after a two hour bus ride (that I slept through), we arrived in Mindo. Mindo is known as the Cloud Forest and is one of the most biodiverse places in the world. Since we only had a little over 24 hours before we had to catch the bus home Sunday night, we knew we had to make the most of our time. We got settled in our hostel which was called Casa de Cecilia. We never met Cecilia, although we asked every employee if that was their name. We settled on believing that one of the stray dogs meandering around the hostel HAD to be Cecilia. Casa de Cecilia was, in all reality, a tree house. It was much more rustic than hostel.com made it out to be, but we came to love it – mosquito nets, unstable water temperature and all.

Within an hour of being in Mindo, I somehow found myself in a pickup truck, being driven to go Canopy (zipline)! I can’t believe I actually crossed that off my bucket list – in the RAIN FOREST – THREE TIMES. After a slight freakout on the first pedestal, in which I almost chickened out, I actually LOVED it. I would zipline again in a heartbeat. After ziplining, we booked out adventures for the next day with a sweet woman who cut us a deal on a butterfly garden tour, an orchid garden tour and a truck ride to the top of a canyon so we could hike through waterfalls!

We were so excited for the next day’s adventures but we also had an exciting Saturday night lined up. We caught the last tour of a Chocolate Factory (conveniently located about twenty steps from our hotel.) It was so interesting getting to tour and sample different types of chocolate all grown on the farm. The farm also produced lots of vegetables and fruit that they used for the restaurant associated with the factory. Of course we decided to eat there Saturday night. My chocolate margarita and chicken with chocolate sauce was definitely…interesting.  After dinner we literally followed the sounds of drums to an impromptu performance by some musicians. We still aren’t quite sure how it happened but somehow we ended up playing drums and maracas and singing with them! It was one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of and I honestly can’t explain the feeling we had participating in such a unique experience. 10277021_10203309558115419_1765755608684210531_n 10342507_10203309574675833_5992554425140009197_n 1959325_10203309538834937_7872422146208067629_n 10308229_10203309522874538_4021592069822697143_n

Our Sunday was just as lovely as we hoped it would be. We relaxed in the Hammocks de Cecilia for a while in the morning and then connected with our truck driver to head to the butterfly garden. We were able to watch butterflies hatch from their cocoons, feed and hold them at a very cool butterfly sanctuary that was breeding and releasing exotic butterflies. Later that day we also toured an orchid garden. Inbetween, we got in touch with our inner Glamazons and hiked to a waterfall. We had to take a suspended basket across the canyon but thanks to Banos we weren’t scared! Once we got over, it was about a 15 minute walk downhill to the most beautiful waterfall I have ever seen! I was in love and had the best time exploring the cove around it. Our 15 minute walk down turned into about a 30 minute walk back up though – altitude makes it HARD to hike here! (Especially for those of us that don’t REALLY like hiking that much to begin with….) We were so glad we did it though!

In the midst of the most beautiful weekend of my life, I was continually overwhelmed by God’s creation. Between the sunset, the waterfall, the butterflies, the flowers and the glorious rain forest, I was awestruck. I was also, of course, reminded of my best friend Pocahontas. I had a great time painting with the colors of the wind this weekend, but for the rest of my trip I want to focus more on another line of my favorite Disney song. “Come roll in all the riches all around you, and for once, never wonder what they’re worth.” Here’s to being a little less focused on getting the perfect picture and a lot more focused on enjoying the perfect moment. That has been a HUGE takeaway for me this trip.

 

Preparing for My First Ecuadorian Academic Showcase (Or: How I am Learning to Overcome My Fear of Independent Art Projects and Climbing Ladders.)

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The day before I arrived in Ecuador, my host teacher emailed me and told me to bring my ideas for a “Dr.Seuss themed Showcase.” I got about 7.5 times more excited for the trip after reading this. Despite the fact that I didn’t know what a “Showcase” was, I knew I loved good old Dr. Seuss.

At our school, the second week of May is dedicated to the Academic Showcase, in which every class comes up with an interactive presentation to show parents what students are learning in class. Each grade is given a different theme (second grade was “authors” this year) to guide their presentations. What this equates to is 22 sets of successful, Ecuadorian parents coming to inspect what their children are learning and to be Wow-ed by their talents. (Thankfully we have a very expressive, talented class!) 

We have already been working hard on our Seuss Showcase which is during the second week of May. I am so blessed with a cooperating teacher who wants and values my ideas. I have had FUN planning this! Today I started decorating the room and hallway with giant Dr. Seuss scenes. I used a projector to put the images I wanted on the board, then traced the pictures onto bulletin board paper. I painted and outlined the images and cut them out to display in the hallways. I can’t wait to post pictures of the finished products. 

For the Showcase, our students will be teaching their parents all about the life and works of Dr. Seuss. We will begin with performing a Reader’s Theater production of “Oh the Places You’ll Go” that makes me tear up every time my students practice! After that, parents will be divided into three groups to travel to three stations. At each station the students will be TEACHING their parents. One station is another Reader’s Theater on “The Sneetches” in which my students will be performing the book and then discussing with their parents what equality and fairness means through an interactive activity. They will also be hosting a science station where they will help their parents make Oobleck form “Bartholomew and the Ooblek.” Through an experiment the students will lead, parents will have to determine if the Oobleck is a solid, liquid or gas. Parents will also get to listen to their children present a biography of Dr. Seuss that they have created on mobiles and posters. This will be presented in Spanish AND English! Lastly, each child is bringing in a Dr. Seuss themed snack to share with the class. We decided to give the leftover snacks to the Special Area teachers and the Custodial Staff for all they do to help the school prepare for the Showcase! I was touched by the fact my students wanted to do this.

Ironically, one of the things I wrote in my final reflection for student teaching stateside, was that I wanted more experience communicating learning and school activities with families, outside of report cards. Little did I know God had this Showcase/Total Learning Experience waiting for me a few thousand miles away. Doing a Showcase is such a great way to get parents involved with what the students are learning! It is something I want to do with my own classes in the future. I am so grateful to be here during such a fun time at school!