29 November 2012

2nd Quarter Updates

It's already almost time to go home for the holidays! Where's the time gone?

One of my friends and I decided that we wanted phone plans (I've really been missing my data plan), so a couple weekends ago we headed to the mall to get contracts with Tigo. What a process! We needed all sorts of things: residency booklets, social security pay stubs, a water or light bill... We didn't have the bill since the school takes care of all of that for us, so the salesman ended up borrowing a bill from a friend. By the time all was said and done, we had been back and forth to the mall 3 times and spent most of the day waiting. However, I now have a data plan and an 18-month contract ($30/month). Most people here have BlackBerrys, which is what my friend got.

We headed to Costa del Sol for the Thanksgiving holiday and had a really good time. It's nicer and more spacious than Tunco. We had a huge house with a pool and kitchen, and even had the housekeeper cook our meals one day.

I've been doing some soul-searching as far as my classroom management goes. The system I have now (PAT, moving clothes pins up and down, counting wasted time, giving warnings) worked at my school in The States, but it's failing miserably with the kids here. My next-door neighbor and fellow third grade teacher turned me on to ClassDojo.com, and I asked my kids what they thought about changing to a more online behavior-management system. Some of them had even used the website before! Since most of the kids at Escuela Americana have access to a computer at home, it seems like a logical choice for them. I think I'll try it in January and see how it goes.

I am very much looking forward to being in Texas in 17 days! Sharp cheddar and customer service, here I come!

Costa del Sol

I never get tired of the sunsets!

21 November 2012

PAT Today

We had a pretty rough couple of weeks, but my kids were so good during PAT (personal activity time) today that I had to take some pictures.

Texas Bingo


The Artists (and Connor)

13 November 2012

iPhone Photo Dump

Here're some pictures of my classroom. And stuff.

Our class library
My little corner of insanity before I got my charola from Office Depot
A particularly nice sunset walking home from school one day
Coloring mandalas in class
There's a lot going on here.
The Writing Process
Huge burger from GBC...ate this on an in-service day.
Random note from my student
This chicken was walking around the bus stop at Tunco.
Good morning from the boys' apartment!
Casey and Matt getting ready for a pirate party

05 November 2012


It's November! The rain has turned off like a faucet. Parent conferences went well last month, and we're already nearing another round of progress reports. My class is trucking right along. We've even got centers set up! On Thursday, I shared a little bit about Mexican Día de los Muertos celebrations that we have many of in Texas, and I brought them some sugar skulls to color - they loved them!

We finally got our first day off last Friday for Día de los Difuntos. Some of my friends and I went to Parque Nacional El Imposible (there used to be a pass that was near impossible to cross until they built a bridge). We rented a pickup and somehow managed to miss the correct highway and go in a big triangle instead of a straight line on the way there...the good thing is that El Salvador is so small that it didn't really send us too far out of the way. It was a good idea to get a truck - going anywhere in ES is pretty risky when you're not sure if the roads will be paved or not (they're usually not). We also had a fun surprise when we turned on the CD that was in the stereo: a random mix of 80s and 90s, heavy on the Air Supply.

We stayed here for the weekend, and it was awesome. All the food at the restaurant was made to order from scratch, so it took a while to get fed but was sooo worth it. We usually took a deck of cards with us and just played games while we waited. The day after we got there, we walked about 1/2 a mile to the entrance of the national park and hired a guide for the day (you can pay them whatever you want - there were 4 of us, and we paid $10, which is pretty good). We hiked about 8 km round trip: first up to a mirador to see the tree tops, then alllll the way down to a swimming hole to eat lunch, then back up again to the park entrance. It was a pretty steep hike, but well worth it.

That evening, we ate dinner at the hostel and asked if there was any place to make a campfire. The hostel employee shrugged, looked around our cabin, and pointed to a spot in the dirt among a lot of foliage. Ha! Smoky the Bear would not approve! We made it anyway, and managed to avoid burning down the whole park. Hot dogs, s'mores minus the graham crackers, and quite a lot of beer were consumed.

We woke up to a wonderful, homemade breakfast at the restaurant, took a picture with our awesome truck, and headed home to see Skyfall (IT'S ALREADY OUT DOWN HERE, SUCKAHS). Great weekend! Just two more full weeks of school, then it's time to celebrate Turkey Day Salvadoran style (at the beach).

Y'all go vote tomorrow.