Monday, May 16, 2011

Edinburgh, Scotland

I'm taking advantage of my last months in Europe and travelling to places I really want to see before I leave. Last weekend, I traveled to Edinburgh with my Scottish friend, Jayne. What a beautiful city!
We wandered through some of the wynds and closes, admiring the architecture, stairways, and flower boxes. We also visited several tea shops for a proper spot of tea and scones with cream and jam. Loopy Lorna's tea shop used these fun tea cozies over the teapots!
Jayne and I enjoyed a free tour of the Scottish parliament building. The parliament wasn't in session, but we enjoyed reading the displays about the history of this law-making body and the construction of the building. It was designed by an joint-architecture team from Barcelona and Scotland. Materials used in the building came from various parts of Scotland and the building was built to look as though it's emerging from the land.
We also visited a fudge shop where we got to watch the process of making fudge! This batch of fudge is Strawberries 'n Cream. I bought a slice of toffee fudge as a souvenir to share with my class.

Chris' Birthday Party

A lot of kids in 5th grade have birthdays this month! Chris brought in a very special Spiderman cake for his birthday. He also brought pecan pie just for the teachers - what a treat!
We enjoyed finding out about the day he was born and how he planned to celebrate with his family. Then we all gathered around Chris and the birthday treats for a class photo.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spring Break in Holland - Part 2

One of the reasons I wanted to go to Holland is because I've heard so many neat things about that country from my Dutch friends, the deJongs. They were also in Holland during Spring Break, so we met up one day at Madurodam, a mini-version of Holland. It was fantastic to see this with the deJongs - they could tell us about each of the buildings and where it's located in their country. And the kids had a super time looking at the models and watching the boats, cars, and trains move around.
It was a bright, sunny day! I've had the pleasure of teaching two of the four deJong children in Vienna and also know their family well from church. The kids loved seeing their teachers in their home country.
Some of the models at Madurodam moved when a coin was inserted. This one was my favorite - the clog factory!

Spring Break in Holland - Part 1

Three ICSV teacher-friends and I traveled to Holland over Spring Break. What a fabulous trip! The weather was gorgeous and we got to see everything we wanted to while we were there. We visited a clog museum and saw how clogs are made. Nowadays, they're cut with a saw in 5 minutes!
Amsterdam was full of bikes - way more than we expected! Now I understand why it was such a big deal when the Nazis took away the Jews' bicycles! Everyone rides a bike here. Some bikes even have an attachment on the front that looks like a wheelbarrow of sorts. Two kids can ride in them, plus groceries.
We stayed in Amsterdam with family members of the deJongs (see Holland - Part 2), but took several day trips outside Amsterdam. The countryside was beautiful. There's lots of water in this low-lying country and windmills, just like you see in books about Holland.
On our last day in Holland, we went to Amsterdam to see the Corrie Ten Boom house. The watch shop is still there, although no longer owned by the Ten Boom family.
The tulips were in perfect bloom during the week we were there. We went to Keukenhof - a very large tulip park - and took hundreds of pictures. The tulips there came in so many colors and varieties. We even got to climb a windmill and see tulip fields below!
Here's our group: Nicki, Amanda, me and Carrie. What a fun time we had touring Holland together!

Word Game Party!

In April, I hosted a word game party! I served alphabet soup for dinner and we played word games together afterwards. It was lots of fun! One group played Boggle, while another laughed their way through Electronic Catch Phrase.
This group wins the prize for tackling the most academic word games - they played Bananagrams and Upwords (a 3D Scrabble game). Please note the player second from the left. That's Willem, a highly intelligent 5th grader from my class!

A Night at the Staatsoper

Amanda, Carrie and I got standing tickets to the opera Anna Bolena at the Vienna Opera House. Standing tickets cost 3,50 Euro here - an unbelievable deal to see such amazing talent performed live on stage!