Monday, February 15, 2010

Saving the world, one heart at a time

Happy belated Valentine's Day! I was trying to decide what the best V Day present I could give you all would be, but sending flowers is too expensive and chocolates are so over rated, so instead I'll share with you my fifth grade class and our Valentine's lesson.

I found foam hearts of all sizes in the Peace Corps lounge one time and thinking ahead, I brought them home to use for just such an occasion. I gave each student a piece of paper, a few little foam hearts and colored pencils to share.
Even my teacher counterpart got into the Valentine's spirit and made me a lovely heart shaped card!

We talked about hearts and colors and who they would be giving their masterpieces to in English. I taught them how to fold a piece of paper and make a heart and simply tried to help them think outside of the box in being creative in their art.

Everyones cards went to their moms, except my teacher's, that one was for me!

I did this same lesson in one of my first grade classes and from both I have gotten nothing but good feed-back. Art and creativity are not a normal classroom lesson here but they are aspects that I will continue to try and incorporate daily. The students LOVED it and were honestly on the best behavior I've ever seen during this activity. Using methods that don't revolve around the terrible English books here are so foreign, I'm excited to do more things along these lines. If you have any fun ideas or good websites pass them my way! Happy Valentine's Day! Talk to you all soon!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Just because I'm at the internet today

I'm at the Internet today so I thought I would just pop in and surprise you.

It's beautiful and warm here right now. This is my walk home from school everyday. Those are the foothills of the Lower Caucasus's.

My friends. Just hanging out in the road by my house.

And per request of a certain father of mine, the pictures that I tried to take of the inside of my host dad's hazel nut factory. It was dark and dusty so pictures didn't really come out, I did my best dad :) Literally just bags and bags of hazel nuts, still in the shell.

The machine that... shells? them. Imagine a train rolling through your house and you can maybe get an idea of the noise and feeling of being in this room.

This is a close up of that old, loud machine. Shelled hazel nuts are just pouring out of it. After they are brought into the nest room to be dried. There was also another room where the floor was just completely covered in mates and hazel nuts. I think they were pre-shelling stage.
I also meant to bring a picture from the birthday party I went to last night, but of course forgot. It was Susan's (AZ6 in Qazax) host brother's birthday and Connie and I got to go. It was quite the spread and delicious, colorful food and a cake with wild candles that I want to share a picture of, but you'll have to wait. As for school, I am currently teaching two 1st form classes, a 3rd and 4th form, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th forms. I'm teaching for the most part Tuesday through Friday and in a couple weeks I'll be starting an after school conversation club (I'm probably one of the last volunteers to be starting one, but what can I say, I need a little more time to get used to the surroundings I guess). Connie and I have been going on a lot of walks lately as the sun has been out, we explored back into the hills a little last week and plan to do more today. I can feel spring slowly approaching and let me tell you I AM READY FOR IT! Today on my way here I went and sat with the post man for a while. We "talked" about America for a while (my Azeri still needs a lot of help hens the quotations). No mail for me but he's a funny old guy to chat with and he really likes Americans. I'll be guesting at one of my teacher's houses on Wednesday. I have realized that I have let myself slip from my community a little so my new/old goal is to get myself out there more and as much as possible. Spring will make that easier I know. Now I'm rambling, next time I'll some with a really great story. Miss you all!