Culture and Connections!

Culture

After being here in Barcelona for 3 weeks, I have learned so much about the culture here. There are many differences in the culture everything from how people say hello to the time people eat dinner. There is something new to learn every day about the culture and way of life. Most people do a typically greeting a kiss and hug (if they know you of course). The metro station seems to be the main mode of transportation too and from. It has been very interesting to learn how to navigate our way around Barcelona using the metro stations and train stations. I think we have it down path for the most part. 😉 I think the biggest cultural difference I have noticed is eating schedule. Most people eat dinner from 9 to 11. Unlike at home when dinner is typically earlier in the night. When most Americans are eating dinner, Spaniards are eating a light snack. Definitely took us some time to get used to the schedule or “timetable” as they call it. I have also noticed how slow paced life is here in Spain. Everyone seems so laid back and relaxed. All in all I absolutely love the culture here in Spain and could go on and on about all I have learned and seen throughout my experience. It is definitely something you have to experience to really understand the way of life!!

Connections to the Educational System

The educational system here is very different from American classrooms but I have also been able to make connections to the educational system at St. Pauls to the educational system of where I grew up and went to school. St. Pauls is very Art orientated and incorporate Art in to various topics and lessons. The students seem to be very very good at Art even at a young age. The students are currently working on animation art. To create these animations, the students are working with the music teacher, art teacher, technology/computer teacher, as well as other teachers. I have loved seeing how the teachers have collaborated with on another so that students could incorporate various types of art and not just drawings. I think helping in the Art class at St. Pauls has definitely been my favorite connection. I come from a background where Art was prominent in the Elementary schools all the way to high school and where art teachers, music teachers, and other teachers collaborated.  I think it is very important for students to be immersed in the art culture. It contributes to students learning tremendously and allows the students to show their creative sides.

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Tomorrow is our last day at St. Pauls. This experience has changed me in so many ways and have been an experience of a lifetime. I am definitely going to miss St. Pauls and the culture here in Spain. I can’t wait to incorporate various ideas I have learned from being at St. Pauls into my future classroom!!

 

 

 

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Three Day Weekend!

Quick update on weekend:

This weekend we had 3 days off so I decided to do some traveling around the Barcelona area! I spent my weekend in Lloret de Mar in Costa Brava. The first day was a bit chilly but our last day was amazing. The weekend was full of sight seeing, eating, and relaxing!! It was absolutely beautiful and the beach was very nice!!

Similarities and Differences!

During my second week of student teaching here at St. Paul’s School, I have noticed many similarities and differences in this school compared to schools at home. The first similarity that I noticed was that this school implements the use of SMART Boards in the classroom. Just like in schools at home, the classroom teacher utilizes the SMART Board for instruction during lessons. The teacher uses the board for projections and student use of technology. There are an abundance of differences in this school compared to schools at home. Everything from the schools lunches to the schools schedules (or time timetables as they call them).

The first difference is the design of the school buildings. Instead of a traditional school building that has one building, this school has separate buildings for early years, intermediate, and high school. The students walk to other building for their specials (music, art, PE). The schools playground is also very different. The students are encouraged to create their own “playtime” ideas. But the school still has a few similar playground equipment such as a tetherball, basketball court, soccer goals, and ping pong tables. This school even includes a school garden where students are assigned weekdays to bring in compost to fertilize the garden. This school is absolutely beautiful!!

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Another notable difference is the schools lunchroom and lunches. The school has a formal lunch setting where students are served 3 courses typically. Each course is served on glass plates and the students use glass cups. Milk is hard to come by in this area so the students are just served water. Unlike American schools where milk is served with breakfast and lunch, the students drink glasses of water. The milk here in Barcelona comes in a carton but is not cold and has a lot of preservatives in it. The school only serves organic and fresh food so this milk is not an option on the menu.

The school also has a very different form of transportation to and from school. Unlike our yellow school buses, this school uses what we call charter buses as their school transportation every day.

 

The school schedule is also very different from our own. The students school days are different every day. There are about 9 periods per day. The students have the main subjects like math, English, and Science & Social Studies, but the students also take 3 languages (English, Catalan, Spanish). The students have a break time or recess in the morning for 30 minutes and then for an hour after lunch. The students also have the specials Art, PE, and Music during the week at least once. My 3rd graders also have Swimming every Tuesday during school for 2 hours. Each school day if different. The students may have math at the beginning of the day one day and the end of the day on another.

The classroom management is also different from home. There really isn’t a behavior chart for bad behavior. The students can be written up but don’t have an in class behavior chart. The classroom set up is similar to back home by having students sit in mixed ability groups, table groups, partners, and so on. The classroom also has a classroom library since there is not school library for the students to checkout books. The teaching strategies are also very different from a typical American classroom. The teachers typically use the same types of teaching strategies. There isn’t a variety really of how to implement instruction in new ways. But the teachers do implement student technology from time to time.

My role in this 3rd grade classroom is to assist the teacher, work with small groups or one-on-one, and also to teach full lessons in all the content areas. I have previously taught three lessons, one in math, one in English, and one in Science. This coming up week I will be teaching 5 lessons!! I have loved trying to implement a variety of teaching strategies different from their teaching strategies. I am looking forward to seeing how this week goes after implementing these lesson!!

Till next time,

Bethany!! 🙂

 

 

First Impressions

 

Hello from Spain!!

It is currently 7:30pm here in Barcelona on this lovely Sunday. It has been a long and fun week and weekend of learning and exploring. We first arrived here in Barcelona on Tuesday at about 8am. Instead of sleeping we decided to explore Barcelona a little and stopped to eat. It was definitely different from what I am used to back home. I think the most shocking difference is that water is not free at the restaurants here but we have now adjusted to having to pay for water (or bring your own water bottle)! Also, the transportation here is very different from what I am used to. Most people get from place to place using a Metro Station. It has been very interesting to learn how to get to and from using the metro but I love it (though sometimes it is very crowded).

On our first day of school we were welcomed by St.Paul’s staff with a breakfast and then an orientation. We then had a tour of the school. This school is indescribable and is amazing!!! I don’t have many pictures of the school but stay tuned for some. I absolutely love the atmosphere of the school and the community. This school is very different from our schools. Everything from the lunch to their schedules. I am in a 3rd grade classroom full of lively and bright kids. We have only been in the school for three days and I already love it. There is so much to learn and see not only in the schools but in the community as well. We have had a weekend full of exploring Barcelona with visiting parks, markets, boat rides and so much more.

This is all for now, stay tuned for more updates as we start our first full week at St. Pauls. I am looking forward to learning more and more about St.Pauls and the community of Barcelona this next week!!

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View from our residence!

 

 

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My Student Teaching Abroad Experience

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¡Hola! Welcome to my page!! As many of you know, Western Kentucky University has offered me the opportunity to complete my student teaching abroad. I will be traveling to Barcelona, Spain for 3 weeks. While in Spain, I will have the opportunity to student teach in an English speaking school in Barcelona. Through this experience, I will gain cultural awareness, learn new teaching styles, classroom management techniques, and so on, that are different from my own. I am beyond excited for what this experience has in store for me. Follow my experience with me on my blog.

¡La aventura espera!

“The world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page.” – St. Augustine