Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Hola, Bonjour, Mabuhay, Hello

3/10/04: It's International Week at the ISM Elementary School.

Monday kicked off International Week with a flag ceremony around the Elementary school courtyard. Unravelled on all 3 levels by costumed students were 50+ flags representing the different nationalities within the school. Today was the international show in the Fine Arts Theater. One of these days I will actually have the video camera prepared to tape these shows because they are so much fun. I did have it for Katherine's musical which I'm pleased about, but they really get a lot of exposure to speaking and performing in front of various sized groups. And, well... my kids are just so cute on stage!
Today's program started with the 2nd and 4th graders doing a couple of songs, one of which was in English, French, Spanish and Sign, and about being with friends. Rebecca's grade and the 1st graders followed and did a song that had Hello sung in 10 different languages. Then it was the teachers' turn and the crowd cheered. The song was written by an ISM teacher and each verse included a nationality represented. We clapped along and cheered for every country, the Philippines getting the largest roar with Australia and U.S. right behind. New Zealand, Colombia, Britain and Canada were also noted (get it? Hah!). After the 3rd and 5th graders did the Kookaburra song it was time for the sing-a-long of "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" and "It's a Small World". If you can get past your aversion to Manilow (hey, I grew up with "Mandy") then it was fun.
Even more wonderful to see was all the children in their native costumes. The stage was filled with color. But how do you dress up kids for the U.S.? Some went as cowboys, some as Indians, some as ballplayers, pioneers or Union soldiers. The most common dress was American casual. You know what I mean: t-shirt, red white and blue, a flag, blue jeans or shorts. If you'd gotten them all together it would have looked like a 4th of July picnic.
Speaking of picnic, following the show was a mini-buffet in the 2nd grade hallway. Katherine and I had discussed what sorts of things were American and after considering options like spaghetti, pizza, hamburgers, corn on the cob, and chocolate chip cookies, we settled on a whole watermelon, jell-o beans and oreos. If those aren't American I don't know what is! I'm glad to say that every piece was scarfed up. Way better than when we had the rice meal and no one touched the rice pudding! Someone even brought a bag of McDonalds cheeseburgers. Again, not much more American than that.
In class, Katherine is learning about different nations around the world, how to read maps and everything else that is necessary for our lifestyle. I know, I know, I should have taught her last summer. I still have Rebecca and the boys I can work with. Geography is one of my favorite things, I actually enjoy perusing our Atlas.
The ECLC kids will be doing International studies for several weeks. Last year they tried to do everything in a week like the rest of the Elementary School and the kids were brain dead by the end of it. This year they have 3 days sprinkled over 2 weeks where parents of different nationalities will do short presentations and crafts with groups of kids rotating through the classrooms. Guess who's doing 2 of the presentations on the United States? My partner is taking 2 groups and I'll take the other 2. My groups will get background and a project on the U.S. flag while hers will be doing quilt squares. I think it'll be loads of fun and it'll be short enough that the boys can come along and play. Wish me luck, OK?

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