Sunday, January 31, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Just to give you a little background on the education system in the UK, grade levels in the states are only one off from the grade levels here. So, if i say I'm in a year 6 lesson, that is the equivalent of 5th grade. Up to year 6 is in the preparatory school and 7 through 11 is in the senior school. After that they call it 6th form which is like being a junior and/or senior in high school, but they get to choose the classes they want to "specialize" in so it is really preparing them for college.
SO, with all that said, this is sort of what I have going on.
Mondays: double maths with year 5, then double maths with year 6 (in which I have full responsibility to teach them the "numbers" section of their maths lessons, Mrs. Lowe teaches the "Shapes, Data, and Measures" portion), then I go over to the senior school to have lessons with my sweet year 11 student, then double maths with year 10 (I really enjoy this class)
Tuesdays: double science with year 5 (which I am now responsible for the next 4 sections of a unit on gasses) double maths again with year 6, 2 planning periods (I love the UK because they think teachers should have almost a full days worth of planning periods through out the week) and lunch, then year 9 biology, another planning period and then for enrichment Jen and I have started a Texas Club where we will teach them about Texas of course!
Wednesdays: year 7 chemistry, year 7 maths, double maths with year 5 (this means back to the prep school), double science with year 6, planning period, back up to senior school for a period of year 9 maths and then during enrichment time, a lesson of year 10 maths.
Thursdays: year 7 maths, year 10 maths, year 9 biology, 2 planning periods and lunch, year 8 maths , a planning period, one lesson of year 11 maths (only observing, took this on only out of pure interest in maybe getting a secondary certification) and then nothing for enrichment time!!
Fridays: late morning!! only joking, I have 2 planning periods to start the day then double science with year 6, 2 planning periods and lunch, year 7 chemistry, year 9 maths, and then during enrichment I will go watch the prep girls play netball because I hear it is great fun!
I am still looking to observe a physics class, no teaching, because if you can't tell, even with all the planning periods, I am going to be a very busy girl. I am very much looking forward to it though. I am teaching 2 lessons on Monday, 2 double maths lessons to my year 5 and 6 classes! Hopefully I don't choke! :)
Here is just a taste of what there is to do here in Denbigh (Den-bee). The first day we arrived at Howells, there wasn't much for us to do, so the PA of the head suggested we go explore Denbigh. We thought, what the heck? So we set off the to Vale St, the main road just one block from our Park Street flat, and headed left (sorry Papaw, I don't know if it was NSEorW?). There were shops, including a Co-op (a fair-trade food distributer that is pretty common in the UK, sort of small) a few chemists of pharmacies, a chocolate shop, a Welsh store we have yet to find, two butchers, a farmers mart, and about 10 pubs (typical). But as good teachers do, we had done our research and knew there were castle ruins to be found. We hiked up a few steep roads and finally found it! It was absolutely beautiful!!! The grass was still very green and the walls were sort of mysterious, so we tromped around naming what we thought the rooms were (of course we talked about being princesses), pretended to visit Hagrid, and in honor of Matthew I had to climb something (of course it was the wall that said it probably wasn't a good idea to but that was obviously the one I wanted to climb). So, walking around the town took all of 20 to 30 minutes but Jen and I had a blast at the castle for at least an hour and a half.
Wednesday this evening we went to visit an American teacher from the school, Mrs. Patty Jones (I think she could be a Dunham, G you have a long lost sister I don't know about?). She is the Pshycology teacher in the senior school and told us she had an open door that whenever we wanted to just to pop over, so we did.
Thursday night this week, we were encouraged to visit the quiz night at the local pub, we are learning that all things social revolve around the pub. So Jen and I and an Australian gap student who is working at Howells, all went down to the Hope & Anchor for quiz night and met up with one of the prep school teachers (don't worry we are all caught up on our lesson plans and have 2 planning periods first thing Friday morning). Needless to say, with a 22 year old, a 21 year old, and an 18 year old, we were not the most stacked team, and we were all rookies to the game; not to mention we were at least half the age of 90% of the people there. The quizmaster we found out is the head of a primary school just down the road, so we recruited him for our team next time when he will no longer be the quizmaster. PS he gave us a 20 point bonus for our handicap :) but we were still behind by about 15 points! We all really enjoyed it and plan to go back next week.
Needless to say, there aren't a whole lot of things to do in Denbigh...
As you might guess, the food (names and options) are a little different here. For instance:
Chips = Fries
Crisps = Chips
Pudding = Any Sort of Dessert
Biscuits = Cookies
Just to name a few. Some of the things Jennifer and I have enjoyed eating are: custard (really really tasty, my favorite thing), lots of potatoes, hot cross buns (they are real, not just from the song, to the right), lots of tea, crumble (which is sort of like cobbler, and goes very nice with custard), roasted lamb, broccoli and cauliflower with loads of cheese, rice pudding (also very tasty), veggie patties (here they call vegetarians veggies), and yogurt (not the really sweet kind we are used to, just plain lo' yogurt, and they pronounce it yah-gut). They have also served my personal favorite, PIZZA, which I have very much appreciated. They also serve this item called a flapjack (which we would think oh, a stack of pancakes) which is really a nutty, honey-y granola bar that is very tasty, served with custard!!! Mmmmmm!!
Tony, on of the chefs, was an army cook for about 15 or 20 years. Jennifer and I were thinking, before we got here, that surely Howells would serve really healthy, light meals since it is an all girls boarding school. On the contrary, it is all very heavy and filling. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but I guess I'll have to give up now on my new year's resolution if I want to continue to eat yummy, FREE food.
It has been really exciting trying new foods and we have become friends with the chefs and kitchen staff which makes going to dinner (lunch) and tea (dinner/supper) fun indeed.
Although the snow has proved to be problematic for continuing classes, and the boarders have been bored and feel trapped in the house, Jennifer and I have had the opportunity to get to know everyone better than we would have, had it not snowed; for that, I am thankful. Wednesday and Thursday last week, we spent the day in St. George's House, and played in the snow with the girls. We also had some time to sit with Ms. Chris, a secretary for the preparatory school, supervising in the house, so we had some time to just chat. Everyone has been so helpful and inviting. Many people have invited us over either to just have a change of scenery or what-not, and given us their phone numbers in case we should need anything.
We had a meeting with the Head, Ms. Hodgson, on Friday to discuss how things are going, if we are settling in fine, and to see if we had any questions. Jennifer has her time table figured out already but since I will be floating between the preparatory school and the senior school, it is taking a little more time and effort to figure out. I will have the opportunity to work with a student one-on-one for two math lessons every monday. She is behind; she is an 11th year student (10th grade) and is completing 7th year requirements (6th grade). I think this will be a very good experience for both of us.
On Sunday, we decided to check out a local church, St. Thomas Presbyterian Church, which is literally 2 blocks from our flat. It was very traditional, they sung hymns, had a short sermon, and everyone gathered for tea and biscuits (cookies) afterward. I think we will check out St. Mary's next week.
In case you are interested to know, Howells was actually in the running to be Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies. They were in the top 3 and then the producers chose to use a few churches instead. But how cool is that?!?! It really is Hogwarts!!
Jennifer and I will also be working in St. George's House 2 nights a week. We will be putting the prep boarders to bed. Those 3 little girls are so adorable and they are such a handful as well, so we have decided that a tag team method would work best rather than each doing one night solo. One of the prep boarders was at dinner tonight when we were discussing with Ms. White about helping and she was so excited that we would be coming in every week! That just gives you a good feeling!
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I have almost got my timetable sorted out. I have picked up a year 10 maths class (which will be like a freshman math class) which I am really excited about!! I also now have a year 7 chemistry class and a year 9 biology class, still working on getting a physics lesson. should know by tomorrow. Since this is a 150 year old school, they are still using lots of pen and paper for keeping records which slows the process of making my timetable.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
We are supposed to have a technician come tomorrow during the day so we should have internet by the time we get out of school, as long as it doesn't snow this evening. I have blogs waiting to be posted on my computer at home, and since I am in the junior library at the moment, can't be posted immediately.
More to be posted in the days to come!
Thursday, January 7, 2010
We arrived on Monday, met some important people, got provisions from the kitchen, and settled into our flat. We explored Denbigh (pronounced Din-bee) a little. The town is very small, and we spent more time at the castle ruins than anywhere else, but let me just say...it is BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL here! Jennifer and I keep saying, "is this really our life?" It is so fantastic!
Day 2, Tuesday: We met with the head, Rachael Hodgson, to go over logistics and assignments. We spent the rest of the morning in the preparatory school. After lunch, the bagan to send students home because it was a blizzard outside (not really, but I've never seen anything like it); I believe there was 4 or 5 inches of snow, but apparently it doesn't snow in Denbigh often, so people sort of freaked. We had 29 extra students that couldn't get home and a few parents that were stranded as well.
Day 3-4: Jennifer and I have spent these 2 days helping out in St. George's Boarding House, where most of the girls are. Mostly we have been with the 3 preparatory boarders (age 7, 8, and 9), and boy, are they a handful! It is really great though because we get to see the girls outside of school and get to know them. Although, most of the girls who attend Howells do not board, at least we get to know the ones that do.
We should be getting internet tomorrow at the flat, so I can load pictures and Skype. More to come soon!
Sunday, January 3, 2010
We started out the day going to East Hill Baptist Church; the church Jennifer's brother attended when he lived here. Following the service, we had tea and cake. One thing I learned about tea, you have to ask for it without milk or you get it with milk. I like mine straight; no milk or sugar. I'm weird!
Friday, January 1, 2010
Well, jet lag set in a little this morning, so we had a late start. We took the train into London and saw Big Ben, House of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the Eye of London, Buckingham Palace, St. James Park, Hyde Park Corner, and what we think was the St Peter's Gate. We are getting good at riding the buses and not getting lost, although we were looking for this fish & chips joint last night and ended up walking about a 3 mile circle, needless to say we woke up a little sore after all the walking we did yesterday. I am already used to riding the bus on the "wrong" side of the road. I think it will be weird coming back to the states and driving on the right side of the road!