I fully expected that the last few weeks of school would drag by. I thought I’d be eager for the school year to be over, so I could visit home and then enjoy my summer vacation. But surprisingly, the last few weeks went by quickly.
Above: One of my fourth graders wrote me a sweet letter, and drew some pictures for me.
It is a tradition in Kosovo for the 9th grade to have a prom. I’ll admit, I didn’t want to attend (I don’t even teach the 9th grade). In my experience, celebrations in Kosovo can go one of two ways: they’re either fun, or they drag on forever. I tried to get out of going to prom by saying I didn’t have any money (because everyone had to pay their own way). Well, then my host father insisted on paying for me. So I kind of had to go.
The prom turned out to be pretty fun. My experience was in no way the night-long marathon my friend Chester experienced and wrote about here.
The only “bad” thing that happened is that I was unexpectedly pulled in front of a microphone and asked to give a speech. Not only do I hate being put on the spot (who doesn’t?), I also don’t possess the language skills to spout off an impromptu speech in Shqip (Albanian). I managed to say, “Urime!” (congratulations), and then I ran away.
And last, my host family threw me a little birthday party before I left for the States. (I spent my actual birthday at home.) My host mother made all of my favorite foods: mish pule me patate (literally translated: meat chicken with potatoes), sallat shope (a salad with cucumber, tomatoes, and cheese), homemade cheese, and (not pictured), petulla (pronounced “pate-la”), which is fried bread with sugar on top. They also got me a chocolate cake.
My host family invited my two site mates (Peace Corps speak for “other volunteers who live near you”) for dinner. Rachel brought Hello Kitty party hats.
There are millions of teaching materials available on the Internet. I spend a good amount of time pinning worksheets and activities to my TEFL Pinterest board. The problem is, I don’t have an easy way to get things from my computer to the copier at my school. I either end up copying/drawing worksheets by hand, or going to the Peace Corps office in Pristina, printing a copy of something from the Internet, and taking it back to my school to make more copies for my students. (I recently learned I can use my school director’s computer to print directly from the Internet, but I don’t want to make a habit of it.)
A while back, my mom sent me some workbooks from the United States (thanks, mama!). I’ve been cutting them up and taping them to computer paper to create my own worksheets. This eliminates the cumbersome need to find a printer. Also, it’s kind of fun to make my own stuff. 🙂
Here are some examples of worksheets I’ve “created” recently:
Here are some more links to materials and activities I’ve used in the classroom:
Kosovo is the second-newest Peace Corps country. My cohort is the third group of volunteers here. (If you’re curious, you can see a full list of Peace Corps countries, including the length of their programs and the number of their currently-serving volunteers, here.)
In a week, the newest Kosovo cohort arrives! The feeling I have is not unlike entering my senior year of high school. You know how things are so much better when you’re a senior, because you’re the oldest and you know everything and you’re excited for the future? That’s how I anticipate feeling in the coming year. One year of service down, one more to go!
I remember how I felt this time last year … my last week in the United States. My emotions ran the gamut from happy, sad, excited, scared, anxious, and hopeful.
Last fall, I created some blog posts in order to provide helpful information to the new cohort, as they were beginning to receive their acceptance letters. With only a week to go before they arrive in-country, I thought I would re-post the links to those posts.
I recently created this lesson plan to teach adjectives to my English Club (about 15 students, ranging from grades 6-9). It required very little in the way of materials, and my students enjoyed it, so I thought I would share it.
Begin with a reminder/explanation of what adjectives are. Write an example on the board.
Adjective Race: Give students a minute or two, and have them write all the adjectives they can think of on a piece of paper. Ask students to read from their lists, and write their words on the board.
Expanding Sentences: Write simple sentences on the board. Have students copy the sentences into their notebooks, and “expand” them by adding adjectives.
Example: The lamp is on the table. –> The metal lamp is on the small table.
Have students read their sentences aloud.
Explain Adjective Order: When using more than one adjective, list adjectives in the following order:
Activity: Create a list of adjectives and write each word on a set of index cards. (I made two sets of cards in anticipation of dividing my students into two groups. Make as many sets of cards as you think you’ll need.) Divide students into groups. Each group will receive an identical packet of cards and will race to put them in the correct adjective order. (You can do this several times, with several different sets of adjectives. Here is one of the sets I used):
Final Activity: Have students draw a card from a stack of cards with an adjective written on each one. Instruct them to find something in the classroom or school that the adjective could be used to describe.
The only materials I used for this entire lesson plan were index cards, a pen, a blackboard, and chalk.
Here are some other activities, materials, and lesson plans I have used in my classroom: