... and the rest of the world

Since I deactivated my Facebook, maybe I’ll have more time to post here. Hah! I have so much exciting news to share! ONE: I WILL BE HOME IN ONE MONTH!!! TWO: I FINISHED MY LAMP (my 125 page unit project)!! and THREE: SPRING BREAK STARTS IN TWO DAYS!

I am clearly very excited about all of these things. I still have A LOT to tackle, but I’ll make it through. 

The least I can do is share a photo or two from my wonderful trip to spend the weekend with my host family in Erlaheim. We headed to the Bodensee (Lake of Constance), which is one of my favorite places in Germany, mostly due to my love of Insel Mainau, a gorgeous flowering island.

My latest contributions to Ms. Marshall’s room and the school!

Ms. Marshall and I are in charge of a school-wide perseverance project and would you look at the cute idea I came up with! All of the students are writing or drawing their goals or dreams on the stars, and how they are going to reach their goals on the rocket ships. This is only one chunk of the huge display, and I’m working on the other as the teachers return their stars and rockets to us. I spent a nice chunk of my afternoon last week punching out 450 die cut stars, but despite my aching hand, things are working out to be super cute!

I also make a problem solving strategies poster to help my students remember the different strategies for solving our fantastic problem of the day series. The writing could have been a little bit bigger, but you live and you learn, right? My latest bulletin board was a result of my 2 week unit on slavery and segregation (which went really well!). The students needed something low key to do during standardized testing week, and I needed to get my snowmen off the bulletin board. Not too bad, if I do say so myself :)

Leander and I decided to combine her desire to go to Trier with my desire to go to Luxembourg, and we took matters into our own hands to get there. Trier was just about as fabulous the second time around for me, and super fantastic for Leander’s first crack at the ancient Roman city. We were on a slight time crunch, but we still made it to the big sights. We spent a few minutes in the Dom, one of my favorite churches I’ve ever been in (second row, far left), and we also rushed through 3 other churches (some beautiful, some colossal and plain). We made sure to fit in the Roman ruins, including Porta Nigra, the Ampitheater, and the Roman baths. 

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect in Luxembourg, but I just felt the urge to make it there (it’s so close, it would be a shame not to go!). It turned out to be pretty cool, and there were many Roman ruins there as well. I was a brave soul, and took a trip through the Bock casemates. Despite the warning not to enter if you have heart problems or claustrophobia, I put on my big girl pants, and trucked right along. I did pretty well, except for one slight incident with some guys who thought they were just funny as can be, scaring a poor, innocent girl, but everything worked out all right in the end. We took a walk along the river and did a little exploring, before heading back. I was worn out by the end of the day, but it was a great day trip!

I have not been very diligent about posting on my blog. My sincerest apologies. We all took a trip to Prague for Tatina’s birthday weekend, and it was absolutely amazing! I have traveled to so many intriguing places, but I have never experienced a city quite like Prague. It is so eclectic and unique, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to spend a few days there! All the buildings were fantastic and ornate, as well as so many different styles. It was such a mish-mash of architecture and color, and although everything was so different, it fit together so well. It only seems fitting that it is Franz Kafka’s hometown, and the oddities dedicated to him fit in quite well. Leander and I had the opportunity to climb up the old astronomical clock tower, and it was definitely worth it! The view was spectacular, and you could see so far, due to a clear, sunny day. I had to hold on the railings for dear life, due to a slight fear of heights, but it was still a lot of fun. We also saw a newlywed couple once we came back down, which was, of course, a blast for me :)

One of the many highlights of my trip was running into the Fred and Ginger building. My love for Fred and Ginger made me thoroughly appreciate this old building, which is shaped like to people dancing. Another favorite of mine was the BABY TOWER!! It is actually an atrocious TV tower that was built in the communism era, and according to Dorris, no one was allowed to say it was ugly because it was the communism era. To make it more unusual, an art exhibit of crawling babies was added to the tower in 2001 and the babies became a permanent feature, due to the ohhs and ahhhs of the rest of the world. Of course, I had to find this baby tower upon hearing about it, and I was oh so glad I did! Afterwards, we all headed towards a much more depressing part of town, to the Jewish Quarter. The Jewish cemetery was quite a sight to behold, with the gravestones all tumbling over each other, and knowing that there were up to 9 layers of bodies underneath. The gloomy day turned a little more sunny and Julie and I went on a nice little hike through Petrin Park, where we encountered great views, along with a mini Eiffel Tower. All in all, it was a super fun adventure, and Prague is 110% a city that I would recommend to any curious traveler.

Last weekend was our wonderful 3 day weekend in Stockholm, Sweden and it was absolutely amazing! We did a little island hopping (by foot, of course) and scurried back and forth over bridges, due to my split second decisions to walk in the direction of the things that caught my eye. We explored city hall, the palace, and most importantly of all, the VASA MUSEUM! This was the most amazing museum I have ever stepped foot in. The Vasa is a massive warship that sank in 1628, after only 20 minutes at sea. The ship sat at the bottom of the sea for over 300 years before being salvaged in the 60s. It was an amazing sight to see, and 95% of the ship is original. I think we could have spent all day at the museum. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience, as well as one of the best experiences I’ve had overseas! We ended our trip with a chilly experience at the Icebar. Everything was made of ice, including the glasses. We had a great time, and it was a fun way to end the trip.

Julie, Leander, and I headed down to the Schwäbisch alps this weekend, and we had a blast! We braved the bone chilling cold, and trekked up to Burg Hohenzollern, the ancestral seat of the Prussian Royal House and of the Hohenzollern princes. Even though I’d been there numerous times, it was still a fun experience. We went on a tour of the castle and ran into some students from the US, and we learned a little history along the way. Afterwards, we headed into Balingen, where we watched them put up the Fasnets tree and ate some ice cream. No, it’s never too cold for good ice cream. That evening, Thomas and I cooked some Käsespatzle for the crew, and I think we did a pretty decent job. On Sunday, we headed to Schömberg for a Fasnets promenade. I’d never been to one before, and I think it’s safe to say we all enjoyed ourselves. After a nice cup of Glühwein, we headed to a nearby fossil museum, where we collected a few fossils of our own. After a nice lunch at the delicious Sicilian restaurant, we hurried to the train station, where we just barely caught our train. We successfully made it home, though, and had an overall wonderful weekend.

Leander and I thought it was a nice day for a stroll through the woods. So we grabbed Benny and hit the nature trails. We informed him that we were going on a very, very, very long walk, but maybe he didn’t understand that very, very, very long = 7 miles. We all survived, and we even enjoyed ourselves a little. It was snowing lightly, which made it a little chilly, but it added to the scenery. We found some other cool trails along the way that we want to check out in the near future, and we encountered my new soulmate: the Bear-dog. We think it’s a Newfoundland, but at any rate it looks like a bear, and I want one. New life plan: Save $$$$$. Buy small house with decent backyard. Buy bear-dog. Snug with bear-dog. Live happily ever after.

Being Crafty!

I put together my first bulletin board here a few weeks ago and finally took a picture. Each student was given a snowball, labeled with one of the 6+1 Traits of Writing. They wrote a brief sentence or idea about the trait and I combined them into a snowball fight frenzy in the hallway.

One of Ms. Marshall’s friends is very excited because her husband is coming home this weekend, so she asked me to make a cute welcome home sign. Cute posters are kind of my thing, so I whipped up a cute one after school. Just trying to do my own little part for the soldiers (along with helping provide their children with an excellent education!). 

Also, one of my friends from the year I spent as an exchange student is coming to visit this weekend, so I’m excited to see him! Other than that, no crazy trips or excursions planned for the weekend. 

Tales of a Fourth Grade Everything

I suppose I should probably make a post about my placement and how school is going. Everything is going really great, and my teacher is fantastic! I am definitely enjoying my student teaching experience so far. We have a larger class of 27 students, but it’s nothing compared to the 38 Kindergarteners I started out with earlier this year. My teacher only had 15 students in her class last year, which is absolutely crazy. The students are very well behaved, and they are very sweet and welcoming. I had the opportunity to run the classroom on Friday while my teacher was out at an all day dentist appointment, which turned out to be a great experience. We had a sub, but she sat in the back of the classroom all day and let me run the show, which was nice. The students were really good and everything went pretty smoothly.

Today I started heading down to the resource room for a small chunk of the day. I will be working there for the first 2 hours of the school day starting in 2 weeks, and I’ll slowly build my way up down there over the course of the semester. Hopefully I will also start teaching a little more in the next few weeks in my 4th grade room. I’m off to a great start, and I can’t wait to dive in further!

We had a 3 day weekend spring up on us, along with an offer to stay with my classroom teacher in Madrid, so off to Madrid we went! We really only had a day and a half to see all the sights, so we hit the ground running as soon as we arrived. We spent Sunday morning wandering the streets at El Rastro, a huge open air flea market, where I acquired a few small trinkets for myself and a friend. Afterwards, we headed to the Royal Palace, which was absolutely grand!! Everything was ornate and over the top, and we really enjoyed strolling through the inside and grounds of the palace. Then we made our way to an Egyptian temple, which was an interesting contrast. We hit the Prado, which is an art museum filled with works by Goya, Velazquez, Caravaggio, and more. It’s not particularly my favorite style of art, but I was able to appreciate that I was able to view numerous famous works of art. We went out for tapas for dinner with some friends, but we very unimpressed with the food. Obviously, food and I aren’t the best of friends 100% of the time, so I wasn’t too upset. 

The next morning, we got up early and took the Metro to the park behind the Prado, and that turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the trip. It reminded me of a mini mini Central Park. There were fountains, small “palaces” and plenty of nice scenery. I can’t even imagine how gorgeous it is in the spring, with everything in full bloom. That was about the end of our trip, and although we didn’t see everything, we still saw a lot of amazing things and we had a really great trip!

We were lucky enough to have a teacher offer to take us on a day trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber today, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! We headed into the walled city and ran into beautiful alleys, a crooked house, the medieval criminal torture museum, and walked through the wall itself (which was absolutely terrifying for me, due to the confined, dark spaces). I was excited to visit a city I’d never been to before, and we had quite an adventure of a day. We got a little lost on the way there, due to a temperamental Garmin, named Gabrielle, and we split up when I was too afraid to keep walking through narrow walls, leading to a slight confusion, but the trip was definitely a success! We’re now planning our next trips, and we are very much looking forward to our future travels!

Home Sweet Home!
Welcome to our new apartment! It’s super chic and super nice! We’ve cozied in quite well, and we’re ready to start our fantastic semester! 
More photos coming soon!

Home Sweet Home!

Welcome to our new apartment! It’s super chic and super nice! We’ve cozied in quite well, and we’re ready to start our fantastic semester! 

More photos coming soon!

We made it!

We arrived in Germany safely! Our apartment is very nice and super cute! We got our ID cards today to get on base and we’re all hanging in there pretty well, considering the lack of sleep we got. And we ventured out to the nearby bakery, which is small, but really great!

It’s officially official!
I got my letter from the Department of Defense today! I am officially a student teacher in a 4th grade classroom at Wetzel Elementary! I am so thrilled that I am good to go after the whole paperwork fiasco, that has caused me a minor amount of stress. I’m sad to leave for 4 months, but I am extremely excited and I know that it’s going to be a marvelous experience! Plus, 4 months is nothing compared to 11! I can’t wait to get to Germany and hear the wonderful sound of the language and eat delicious German food! And I’m saving every single penny I got for Christmas, because this trip is already breaking the bank. But it’s going to be so worth it!! One week from tomorrow!!!!

It’s officially official!

I got my letter from the Department of Defense today! I am officially a student teacher in a 4th grade classroom at Wetzel Elementary! I am so thrilled that I am good to go after the whole paperwork fiasco, that has caused me a minor amount of stress. I’m sad to leave for 4 months, but I am extremely excited and I know that it’s going to be a marvelous experience! Plus, 4 months is nothing compared to 11! I can’t wait to get to Germany and hear the wonderful sound of the language and eat delicious German food! And I’m saving every single penny I got for Christmas, because this trip is already breaking the bank. But it’s going to be so worth it!! One week from tomorrow!!!!

Two Weeks!!

We leave in 2 weeks from today!!!! I’m a little panicked, but extremely excited! Word on the street is that I’m in a 4th grade classroom with an awesome teacher! That would be super fantastic! Still no letter from the Department of Defense, but I’m sure everything will work out just fine. I’ve done everything on my end, so now I just have to sit tight and wait. And pack. And prepare my IRB proposal for my thesis. Gross. 

Bis bald!