Barcelona goodbyes

Working at the school was a unique experience that I will cherish always. The teacher I worked with was young and full of enthusiasm about teaching. She liked to have fun in the classroom so that the children would love school. I made a powerpoint about the US and gave 5 45 minute presentations to 4th graders and 6th graders. They were all interested about the US and knew a lot themselves which made conversations interesting.
Sight seeing in the city was a great pass time after school. During the last week I went to the Catherdal at Tibidabo. It was the most amazing spectacular cathedral I have been to. There is a giant statue of Jesus on top of the building that is lit up and looks down upon you. Inside it smelled of insence, beautiful stain glass, statues, and murals. Words cant really do it justice. Gaudiś archutecture in the city was also great to look at and witness his genious.
The last day of school there was a lunch surprise prepared for us with pizza and softdrinks. The teachers that we worked with were invited to eat with us and they gave us goodbye presents to remember them by. They gave us a school t-shirt and year book. Everyone was really sweet. I gave my email to students so that they could write to practice their English.
Barcelona Goodbye!

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Half Done!

It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve been in Barcelona! The teacher that I’m with at the school is so nice and interested in ideas that I have. Today I helped her create a chart to keep track of how much the students are speaking English. I’m in English speaking classes but since they integrate other subjects with the English the students try to slip in as much Spanish as they can. For instance, I’m in an all English Science Class. I’m in an all English Art Class. We also have English enrichment class where the students create skits themselves by writing the lines and then acting it out. They also do debate in English Enrichment. The students are very happy at the school. It’s a laid back environment where the students are allowed to socialize with each other and learn at the same time. Talking and running in the hall way is not a big deal. The students seem to accept that they are there to learn and care about their grades. Before the 6th grade science test I asked who had studied and everyone raised their hand and they were serious! I’m not sure I would have gotten the same response back in the States.
There are many interesting differences between Barcelona schools and Kentucky schools. The students here get an hour and fifteen minutes just to eat lunch and they are allowed to go home if they want during that time. Many of the students live in walking distance and their mom or dad or housekeeper meets them to walk them home. If the students are old enough though they can go home by themselves or out to a restaurant. Their recess is not included during this time so they get another 30 minute period for play and snack during their designated time. The students here also get more P.E. time. They get an hour of swimming and an hour of exercise/sports every week. Most of the schools in Barcelona don’t have pools but Santa Isabel is special in that way.
They learn 3 languages at school. At SI School they learn Spanish, English, and Catalan. Every school in Barcelona teaches 3 languages but the languages differ. It’s always Spanish and English but the third could be French, German, etc. The 2nd graders are already fluent enough in English to carry on conversations with me.
The teachers have a separate dining area where they are served lunch. It’s nice not to have to cut school children at lunch time or worse yet, get in line behind them. The teachers don’t have to stay for lunch though. They are free to go home or out to a restaurant for at least an hour and fifteen minutes or sometimes more.
The classrooms do not have computers and there is no Wi Fi in the building. There is one computer room and a few rooms with a SMART board. It’s hard for the American teachers to get used to this.
Enough about school!
Last weekend I went to the Camp Nou Stadium to see the Barcelona Soccer Team. Camp Nou is the biggest stadium in Europe. They won 4 to 0 so there were no riots 🙂 When the game let out the streets were flooded with people and automobile traffic had to stop. People took over the streets for blocks!
I went to the Picasso Museum. I found out that he didn’t just paint abstract but he did realistic paintings and even made pottery. Seeing paintings through his whole painting career gave me a more complete picture of who Picasso was as an artist.
I went to the Port to see the Mediterranean Sea. There are many tourists in this area and a lot to do. A Christopher Columbus statue stands tall pointing to the United States.
See you in 2 weeks U.S.A.
Bye for now.
Shannon Swift

Ok! It has been officially 1 week since I left home for the airport. My jet lag is getting better and I’ve settled in here at my flat. The school that I’m working at, Santa Isabela, is beautiful and very big. They have 2 year olds all the way up to high school students. The boys and girls are together when they are small and then separate for elementary and middle school and then start having classes together again in high school. We arrived at the school on the biggest party week of the whole year and it was interesting to participate. Every class had a color and there were competitions all week to earn points for their team. They could earn points by creating posters or wearing there color. They could also earn points by being good students and of course by winning the games that they played on the play ground. There was high energy all week with cheering and chanting and music and large puppet dancing. Friday was All Saints Day and that was an all play and no work day. The 6th grade girls that I was with went to a football game across the street that some played and some watched. Something that I noticed is that they didn’t wear shin guards and so you have to be tough. After football we went to the school gym for a basketball game. Some of the girls played and some of them cheered. They love to cheer. Cheering must be a favorite pass time for girls and boys. After basketball we went to dance class which was very fun. I got to participate in this! After dancing it was lunch time. The teachers were invited to a special All Saints Day Lunch in the courtyard and it was delicious and beautiful. I had pizza, sesame chicken shish Kabobs, and other strange and wonderful food. After lunch I went with two 6th grade girl teams to the park for games. They played Snatch the Pin, I Am Virtuous, and Blind Fold Walk. Fun stuff and then gummy candy! They cheered all the way to the park and back!