Did my first tests a week or two ago and most of the kids did okay. I gave the kids two extra credit questions, and when some of them got back their tests with more than 100%, they were totally confused. You mean, Rachel, we did better than 20/20? But 22/20 doesn't make sense! I explained that that extra credit is pretty common back in the US to help out your grade a little bit. I'm sure the French Ministry of Education would deem it as rewarding incorrect answers or something to that effect...but my class, my rules! It's frustrating because there are always those kids that do great, and then ones in the same class that can't even answer the simplest questions. I know the learning curve is different for all of them, but it's annoying to see some kids do so poorly while others are chomping at the bit to learn more. I can only delay my class so much to accommodate the slower learners. I think a few of them don't understand one lesson and then immediately go into "well, I don't get this, so I'm going to just stop caring at all" attitude. I know it well because I remember being so frustrated when I first came to France almost four years ago (has it been that long already?). I wrote in my journal then something to the effect of "so many words are floating in my head and I can't figure out how to connect them yet." It takes time, and I often equate it to putting a puzzle together. You know bits and pieces, you see or hear something here, and then there again, and then you realize what it means, and hey! now you get what this means! I personally enjoy it, but I doubt a lot of 9-year-olds do. Language acquisition really interests me, and I might write an entry about it over break. Full of lots of nerdy linguistic terms, I know you can't wait!
Christmastime in Paris is beautiful. The city finally started decorating, and the weather changed to match the decor. I know that after spending a good portion of my life in the Midwest, I should be "used" to the cold weather, but nope, I'm not. Can't quite shake that habit of swearing profusely when I walk outside only to be greeted by a cold gust of wind slapping me in the face. And I can't say I enjoy the cracked, dry hands and constant cold feet. The last week has been pretty cold--temperatures in the 20s (-5˚C sounds much more threatening)--and on Thursday, SURPRISE! It snowed! Now, I know you Midwesterners are scoffing at this after the giant snow dump last week, but it really doesn't snow very often in Paris. Once a winter, maybe. It gets cold and teases you with a few flurries, but as far as real snow storms? Hardly ever. So imagine my excitement to wake up to see the sky filled with snowflakes..it really felt like Christmas was coming. The kids at my schools were glued to the windows and it actually tied in well because we had just learned snow, snowman, and snowball, so I told them to go and have fun in the snow! The temperatures are also not as cold as home, but as my friend Hannah was saying on her blog (she also writes about it much more eloquently than I can), winter in big cities is much harder when you don't have a car. We're kind of spoiled in the States--we go from our warm houses to a car, then to school or work, etc. Lots of inside spaces and the only exposure to the weather is walking between these places. Not so much for me. I have a cold walk to my metro, followed by lots of walking and waiting for trains and buses--all outside. Brr. Oh, and the other day, in typical French fashion, all the buses were canceled (for maybe 2 inches of snow), but no one was informed. So I waited for an hour at two different stops before finally deciding to just make the 45-minute trek by foot to the train station. Luckily, after about 20 minutes, a nice woman picked me up and gave me a ride. Faith in humanity restored!
Okay super long entry..that's all for now! Here are a few pictures. Lots more (I've been saving 'em up) here.
World's smallest Christmas tree (Joyeuses Fêtes=Happy Holidays)
Notre -Dame and her big 'ol Christmas tree
Coming very soon..my vacation plans and SO MUCH MORE! I know you're way excited.