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What is a date?

My Year Nines are funny. They don't know what a date is (as in the dates you eat) although I suspect if I said 'date' in Assyrian, plenty of girls would understand. I was trying to explain that you grow dates in a region like Palestine. Dates, figs, olives, grapes... they didn't know 'fig' either. One girl said,
"Aren't figs on the end of branches?"
Well, I said, they do grow on trees.
"No, I mean the little ends of the branches."
I frowned, you don't mean - well, I think you mean 'twig'!
"Oh. Ah. Yes." Girl ducks head in embarrassment. 
I just smiled.

Halfway through the lesson, when everyone is busy planning brochures on Palestine, and we've done the background reading, a hand goes up, "Excuse me, Miss, but where is Palestine?"
I check. Most of the class had absolutely no idea, about Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, any of it! OMG! I shall have to go back to the beginning. I didn't teach this topic last year, I arrived later in the year. I guess it's all just part of the learning process for me!

I hung my Buddhist prayer flags up today. We've made a Social Justice wall in my classroom. I have a brilliant Ethics class. They are so keen to think about things. Today I taught them how to find the editorial, the political cartoon, the comments and the letters to the Editor in our daily paper. I hope they get into the habit of checking it out.

And Julie, my home organiser *g*,  was brilliant. I snuck away from school early to see how she was getting on (and to meet Finn from school) and she had cleared several rooms, done a ton of washing (even clean stuff LOL), stripped the beds, wiped benches, cleaned floors, just amazing. What a worker. I wish I had that kind of energy. I guess I'd better get back to taking those iron pills. I seem to have stumbled on that again.  So the house is looking a lot better already, and she will return tomorrow to continue the work. Then I think we'll take a breather and see what we can do ourselves. But it's been enlightening and a challenge for me to let go and let someone else in. And if I'm really honest, it's a relief.

I'm working on labyrinths for the Year 13 retreat. I'm going away to that on Wednesday, through to Friday afternoon. It should be pretty exhausting but hopefully a great three days. There are four of us teachers going and about 55 girls.  I have to plan quite a few liturgies to take with me, and also a session on planning a labyrinth. They will have to make one in groups, just using twigs, leaves, anything, and then they learn to walk it, to meditate, take time to pray, spend twenty minutes praying instead of two. It should be challenging for them, but also, hopefully, rewarding.  I think I'm looking forward to it but there is a lot of planning to leave behind - family, sports practices, uniform, food, lesson plans for all my other classes... aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh, it's never easy to just go do anything!

There is a lovely site about labyrinths here http://www.lessons4living.com/labyrinth.htm
and I have Googled a heap of info and pictures of labyrinths for inspiration.  Should be fun... they apparently enjoyed it last year.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 18th, 2008 10:16 am (UTC)
Modern geography lessons leave a lot to be desired. The students all end up knowing why cities were built but not where, leaving chaos for people teaching other subjects who make natural assumptions... The same obviously applies to any kind of real knowledge of world maps!! As part of an ethics course you could look at e.g. a Peters' Projection and sneak some geography in that way!!

A home organiser sounds fantastic. Every home should have one.

Your labyrinths sound fantastic, too. I hope we get some photos.

Keep taking those iron pills!!!
Feb. 18th, 2008 01:36 pm (UTC)
As well as taking iron pills, take a weekly dose of Julie !
It would keep the basic work under control and leave you free to do the nicer things,like cooking etc.
Feb. 18th, 2008 11:56 pm (UTC)
I bet if you had the time you'd get all that stuff done. It's just you're so busy that by the end of the day all you can do is collapse. Might still want to look into those iron pills though. Can't hurt!

it's never easy to just go do anything!
I run into that problem all the time...and it drives me mad!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )



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