Thursday, December 24, 2009

Free Tree

This is my Christmas tree! A family donated it to school. After it was used for our staff Christmas party on Dec. 4, I volunteered to give it a new home. The organizing committee decided that I would be a great host for this fine tree and sent it home with me that very night. I joked that I was the first person in all of Austria to have their Christmas tree set up. Here, it's tradition to set up your tree on Christmas Eve and attach candles to the branches. Then in the evening, families light the candles and have their Christmas celebration.

Rathaus Christkindlmarkt Field-Trip

The fourth and fifth graders (fifth graders pictured above) took their annual field-trip to the Christmas market at the city hall. It was a cold day, but the weather was sunny and clear. The students had their choice of craft workshops this year. Some made a mosaic coaster and others decorated a wooden tissue box holder. Below is a group working on their mosaic coasters.
And here's a proud student showing their decorated tissue box. After the craft workshops, the students got to shop at the market with parent and teacher chaperones. They bought gifts for family members, gifts for themselves (like mood rings!) and tasted Austrian delicacies at the food booths.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Ever show up at work and realize you dressed just like someone else without planning it?!? Well, that happened to me and Melissa today. At least two of us have good fashion sense! We got a good laugh over this one.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Liz Turns 30!

What a fun day of celebrations! It's official - Liz is 30. Here I am celebrating at lunch with the other elementary teachers. This cake is a traditional Austrian Sacher Torte. It's a chocolate cake (but not sweet like American chocolate cake) in two layers with apricot filling between the layers, frosted with chocolate frosting.
One of the most special parts of the day was the birthday party that my class organized for me with the help of their German and ELL teachers. They kept the whole thing a secret, so I had no idea until the party began! The students brought me 30 of various items, like 30 teelights and 30 pieces of chocolate. They also prepared some special lessons for me in all of our academic subject areas. I had to take timed math test, on which all the answers were 30, and use the letters in "Ms. Stevens" to spell 30 words on a spelling test. Their ideas were SO creative and unique! And of course, we had treats at this party, too.
A family from school and church hosted a birthday open house for me in the evening. Many friends came to share some cake and their good wishes for my 30th year. The daughter of this family is one of my fifth grade students. She was so much fun to celebrate with because she was so excited about the open house - she talked to everyone, took lots of pictures on my camera, and seemed to enjoy the gathering as much as I did!
Thanks to all who sent cards, emails, Facebook messages, and gifts. You made my day wonderful!

Cooperation Skits

The elementary students have been learning about cooperation. Each class prepared and presented a skit on this topic at chapel. These skits reinforced cooperation as "working together to do more than you can do alone." What a great message!