Sunday, May 18, 2008

Windischgarsten Trip

Last weekend, a group of five VCS teachers left Vienna for a couple days away in Windischgarsten, a small town surrounded by the Alps. We stayed in a farmhouse bed and breakfast and spent our days there soaking in the beautiful sights and hiking at the foothills of the mountains.
This was our farmhouse home for the weekend. The owners served us breakfast in the morning, consisting of fresh cow's milk, coffee, tea, semmel rolls, ham, cheese, butter, and jam. In the barn to the left of the house are the cows that live on this dairy farm.

This is the view of Windischgarsten and the Alps from a hike we took near the farmhouse. The views were gorgeous and it was so refreshing to get to see a part of Austria outside of Vienna.

We ended our weekend in Windischgarsten with a ride on the Sommer Rodelbahn. First, we rode the ski lift to the top of the mountain, enjoying the views all the way up. Then, we rode a wheeled sled down the mountain on the solid metal track you see in this picture. The other tracks you see here are for another ride, the Alpine Coaster. The Rodelbahn was a thrilling ride and a great end to a fabulous weekend away.

ZOOM Kindermuseum

Mr. Reynolds, the Elementary Art Teacher, and I took the fifth grade class to a special art workshop at the ZOOM Kindermuseum (Children's Museum) this month. This workshop was a great chance for the students to experience some painting techniques in ways that we're not able to offer during Art Class at school. Students learned about mixing colors and layering colors in paintings. In one activity, foam balls were dunked in paint, then tossed onto paper spread across a wooden frame. Students held on to the edges of the frame, raising and lowering different parts of the frame to roll the foam balls and make paint trails across the paper.
Students also had the opportunity to paint some real-life objects at the end of the art workshop. Here, Mr. Reynolds and the fifth graders pose by an old car that they painted on. This activity was especially popular with the boys in our class - they love cars!

Mother's Day Tea

Elementary students recently hosted a Mother's Day Tea. All moms were invited to come have tea, juice, and pastries with their child(ren) and be guests of honor as each class performed a short program expressing how much we love and appreciate our moms. Our theme for this year's tea was "Queen for a Day". Each student made a crown for their mom to wear at the tea.

For those whose mothers were unable to attend, teachers filled in as substitute mothers. These girls were my adopted daughters for the morning - we jokingly called ourselves the Stevens family. Our fifth grade class opened the Mother's Day program with an original skit called "Best Mom in the World." We staged a game show in which six contestants sought to prove that they were the best mom in the world. In the end the audience voted and the results proved, with each student holding up one letter of this message, 'ALL MOMS ARE WONDERFUL!'

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Austrian Labour Day

Today is Labour Day in Austria. Political groups and representatives from each district in Vienna marched in a parade at the city hall this morning. Bands played and speeches were made. Many Austrians wore red and white, while flags and balloons were flown above. All stores, banks, schools and offices were closed today in honor of this holiday.