Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Spanish Classes

31/8/11
Kristen says...

I've become a student again.

Not a college student, not even high or middle school, but an elementary student.

One of my good friends, an elementary teacher, was assigned to teach Spanish as a Second Language (SSL) at my school for four of her students. All are non-native Spanish speakers (at least one is not even a native English speaker) and so are a year "behind" their native speaking friends, and need SSL class.

A week or so ago, I happened to be down chatting with my friend when her class was about to begin. I started flipping through the three Honduran curriculum workbooks, and realized that completing the assignments there would be a challenge for me. I told my friend I thought the books were about my Spanish "level", and she offered to me to join her class every day.

So I did. :)

Now, every day from 10:10-10:50 I lock my classroom (it's my planning time, don't worry, I'm not abandoning my students) and head down to the elementary building, and become a student.

And you know what? It's hard!!

I forgot how hard it is to be a student, with homework and quizzes and things! It's even harder than college, where everyone's in the same boat, and you have "all" your time to devote to school and homework, and you don't have your class every day...

For example, last week in class we watched "Hans Mi Erizo ("Hans my Hedgehog"), part of the Spanish version of Jim Henson's "The StoryTeller." I think that story is probably confusing even in English (it includes a man who looks like a hedgehog, a huge chicken, and other weird things...) but I had NO idea what was going on!

Then yesterday we started reading a book called "Brotes," which my friend explained (in Spanish...did I mention the entire class is in Spanish?) were kind of like Chicken Pox...yet the book we read was about a girl going to a new school and the class growing brotes! All I could think was, "How do you grow Chicken Pox?" I was expecting this girl to bring Chicken Pox to the school and they would have a "Pox Party" or something, but really it was about the class growing a garden. (I finally figured it out in a discussion with a fellow "Gringo" teacher today, that brotes probably means quickly growing plants, or plants that pop up quickly like Chicken Pox...)

Anyway, our teacher asked us what level we thought the book was...turns out it was a 2nd grade book!!! After years of testing at the highest reading level possible (in English), I found out I read at a 2nd grade level in Spanish...it's very humbling.

But lest you think I am complaining, please let me assure you that I am not! I signed up for this class fully knowing that it would be a challenge, and desiring it. I KNOW this is going to help my Spanish so much, it's just really hard to get myself back into "student mode."

For example...tomorrow I have a spelling test.

I don't remember the last time I had a real spelling test...I think it was in 7th grade, and I was in spelling level "C" ("A" was the highest, and "C" was either the lowest or just one above "D", I can't remember.) I actually think I'm a good speller, and I'm pretty sure I was only in level "C" for about 3 weeks because I wasn't studying enough, (or at all), but still...I'm really kind of nervous for this test.

Especially because when the list of 10 words was handed out to us on Monday, I only knew what half of the words meant! At least in 7th grade spelling I knew the meaning of all the words...now I'm dealing with words like tiza (chalk), rizo (curly hair--think Shirley Temple), and liso (straight hair), which I'd never actually seen before. We also have risa (smile--sounds quite similar to rizo, because the "z" and "s" have pretty much the same sound in Spanish), salió (the ´is important, because it's a past tense word), and saco (without the ´, because sacó means you/he/she left, and saco (sans ´) means a man's suit coat).

I feel really lucky to be able to have this challenge, but the spelling quizzes are going to be tough. We also have vocabulary words during the week, but I'm not sure if we will be having quizzes on those...I kind of hope not, because "entusiasmado" and "cuidadosamente" are hard to spell without looking. (Entusiasmado means enthusiasm or enthusiastic, and cuidadosamente means to be careful...) Also, did you know deslizar means "to slide"? I didn't either, until Monday. :)

Anyway, I need to get back to studying my Spanish, but I plan to blog again soon...I've been having some "old soul" moments lately I'm interested to discuss.

KF

Monday, August 15, 2011

Motifs #s 13 and 14 (and State Fair News!)

15/08/11
Kristen says...

Hello everyone!

In an attempt not to do any lesson planning or anything remotely related to school while at home (it won't last forever, I'm sure!) I have been filling my time lately with fun things like tatting and baking!

The tatting first...if you remember in my first "tatting" post I mentioned I was working on a baby bonnet...I started it as a gift for my then-unborn first niece or nephew, which turned out to be a boy (Ezra), so, I just kind of put it aside.

Then my other sister announced she was pregnant, so I thought maybe that baby would want it...but of course my new nephew Jackson doesn't want it either...and as I have no other prospective nieces and nephews lurking in the shadows (that I know of)...

I didn't think I would ever have a reason to finish it.

But then, miracle of miracles, one of my friends here in Honduras had a baby girl, and so I thought I would finish the bonnet and give it to her. Thus, over the weekend I added the last row to the brim and the edging around the whole bonnet.
The problem is, it's HUGE! Apparently one thing I need to learn about tatting is to look at the suggested thread size...I really like working with a #5 needle and this gorgeous Pearle 8 Turkish cotton I buy down here for 60 Lempira (about $3.00) per spool (365 yds of the softest thread ever for $3.00? Yes please!), but apparently I needed to use something a bit smaller for this bonnet...because it's not baby sized, it's Kristen sized:









oops! :)








We've all had a good laugh about the gigantor baby bonnet (made from a vintage pattern I found on the Internet, btw) and had some fun making fun of it...












Even Pip's gotten in on the fun :)

So, lesson learned...pay attention to thread sizes or be prepared for huge baby bonnets :)

Motif #14 is much, much smaller and less intricate. It's the Lacy Square from Rozella F. Linden's "Easy Tatting." Take a look:
Nothing too exciting, but it was kind of fun to make.

Also, in State Fair tatting news...I ended up entering 4 things into the Iowa State Fair, and found out this week that all four are on display, and Motif #12 (that stupid maroon and white bookmark) received a Horrible (I mean Honorable) Mention ribbon! (We've called them "Horrible Mention" ribbons since childhood, back when we were upset to get them, but I really am excited...I didn't expect any sort of ribbon at all my first time entering, so I will be proud of all the ribbons I won this summer!)

I have also dedicated a lot of time the past few weeks in baking bread...so far I've made an oatmeal wheat bread, a soft white bread (which I made into knotted rolls), and this braided egg bread:
So, that's what's been going on here since school started last Wednesday...we're in the midst of what may turn out to be either our last or second-to-last year in Honduras (WOW!) so we're starting to plan some trips we've been wanting to take...hopefully we'll have new pictures from the North Coast/Roatán sometime in September, and Guatemala(!) in October (happy birthday to ME!)...also it looks like we may get some visitors from my side of the family, so theoretically our TeguciAdventure will get a little more exciting in the next few weeks/months. :)

Have a great week!
KF

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Kids Return to School TOMORROW...

9/8/11
Kristen says...

So, am I ready?

Physically, yes. I've been getting up early the past week so I won't be incredibly tired tomorrow, I've spent a good amount of my planning time getting a tan from the copier (and thus won't have to have copies made until the week after next), AND, my room looks AWESOME, if I do say so myself:














(I want to point out the world map shower curtain in the RH picture...best.purchase.ever.!)

Mentally? Eh... I had such a great SUMMER that I'm not sure about this going back and working thing... PLUS, it's the Iowa State Fair this week, which always makes me super-sad to miss... but, oh well... it's school time, and that's that... ready or not, the kids show up tomorrow :)

KF

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

First Day in the Classroom...Eventful!

2/8/11
Kristen says...

Well, there's always a surprise when you walk into the classroom for the first time in the school year...here was mine:
Yes, that is a GIGANTIC, hairy, disgusting (and luckily dead) spider! EEEEEEEKKKK!!

In the year I have called #4 my school "home," I have had:
-a slug
-wasps
-blue bottle flies
-giant moths
-cockroaches
-mice
-and now this gigantor spider
IN MY CLASSROOM!!

I've been told there used to be many little critters in my room, including all the above mentioned and scorpions too...I've really worked hard to keep them away, mostly by "strongly discouraging" food in my room, and specifically not allowing any food or food wrappers to be thrown away in my class...but it was not a pleasant sight this morning to be greeted by that...

Anyway, after I got rid of the spider (I gave it to our lovely art teacher for the little littles to examine), I settled myself down and moved some furniture...

From this:

To this:
There is still SO MUCH WORK to do! Glad we still have a week left before the kids arrive! :)

We start our teacher days tomorrow...hopefully there will be no spiders to greet me in the morning!

KF

Monday, August 1, 2011

Teguci Poll

Hey Friends, Family, and Followers!

We here at ¿Teguci What? have been blogging for over a year and a half now, and are interested in what you think of the blog...

We realize it's a little random, a little all over the place, and that some of you may enjoy that, and some of you may...not.

So, loyal readers, we'd love a little feedback from you...what do YOU want to see more (or less) of on the blog? Vote for your favorites, let us know what you like about ¿Teguci What?...

(Also, thanks to those of you who have left comments in the past, and to those of you who will leave comments in the future...we LOVE reading your take on our lives :)

We really appreciate you tagging along with us on this Teguci Adventure, and thanks for taking the time to vote in the Poll :)

The Finks (Chris, Kristen, and of course, Pip!)

School Must be Starting Soon...I'm Dreaming about Seating Charts

1/8/11
Kristen says...

I can't believe school starts the day after tomorrow!

We have been back in Honduras for over a week now and life down here has quickly become "normal" again...I think a lot of that has to do with the friends we have down here...after 5 weeks of not seeing each other we have done a great job of making up for lost time.

We've been to movies, had Happy Hour, gone shopping, had dinners out...all in a week.

Speaking of dinners out, I never thought I would feel this way, but I am ready to not eat at a restaurant for at least 2 weeks...while we were gone my friend Maricarmen brought our cleaning lady over to the apartment and let me know that some chicken we'd apparently left in the freezer was stinking up our home...apparently we'd lost power a lot while we were gone and the chicken hadn't tolerated the warm weather very well...ew...

So not only did we have to deal with stinky chicken funk in the fridge, but it became painfully obvious that the fridge had decided it didn't want to fulfill its food-cooling functions any more...so we had the fridge repairman come over again (2nd time this year, the thing got a new motor in April), and after 4-5 hours of work...our landlord bought us a new fridge...it's really awesome; it has a built-in water holder so we can have cold water that doesn't come from the tap (because we can't drink tap water down here) we fill it from our big 5-gallon bottle...it also has holders for pop cans and a cool ice maker...it's also about a foot taller than our old fridge, so then we had to have carpenters come in to move our shelves higher, too... I just got all my pictures of Ezra and Pip put back up there today...












It's been quite a process, but I finally got to go grocery shopping YESTERDAY for the first time since our return! We had Chicken, Garlic, and Sundried Tomato Pasta last night and I made Oatmeal Bread today to celebrate...YUM!

I also decided I'd better do something about school today, since it does start Wednesday, and I have done literally nothing to prepare this summer :) On a tip from another teacher I brought home all my files, stuck them in a corner, and promptly flew off to Iowa...this evening I pulled them out, dusted them off, and organized them...I think I might head into school tomorrow to try and put some things together, just to get a little jumpstart on the year...I also dreamed about seating charts last night, so it must be imminent...

I am looking forward to this school year for many reasons, one of which is that this is my first second year of teaching! Before starting this Honduran adventure, I taught one year at a school in Iowa (my first first year), and last year was my second first year at a new school...many teachers say the second year at a school is a million times better than the first year, and the third year is the best...I certainly can't attest to either, but if the second year here is better than the first, then it's going to be a fabulous year!

Anyway, that's what we've been up to, nothing too exciting...

KF