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May 28- It’s the weekend!

Today went by so quickly! Last night I went to bed at 7pm, woke up after an hour when several of the girls in my room started playing music, stayed up for another hour and fell fast asleep from 9-6:30 this morning. Needless to say, I was well rested for the day, which was a wonderful feeling! After taking a shower, getting dressed, and making my breakfast and lunch, we walked down the street to the bus station. We’ve finally gotten a hang of the system and are making all of our buses to get to and from the school! It’s still about a 30-40 minute ride each way, but it gives me time to rest and enjoy the wonderful view of the city and part of the country. Today was assembly for the school which meant that every student, teacher, and administrator gathered together in the hall or gym and watched for an hour as weekly awards were presented, songs were song, and message about a particular topic was given. This weeks’ message was about recycling and “can it in the bin” or throw it away! After assembly, the Wake Forest students were called to the office for a meeting with the principal. We were allowed to ask any questions we had about the school, the country, or any of the procedures that we have seen so far in the week. That lasted until tea time and by the time we made it to the staff lounge, it was time to go back to class! I got to be with grade 5 for the rest of the day and it was so much fun! They have such interesting and funny little personalities! I worked with a group on a math lesson and then it was lunch time. I ate my usual peanut butter and bagel sandwich, cookies, and a special K bar. After lunch was reading time and I got to read to my class! They thought it was so funny when I stopped reading the book to ask a question about a certain sport that was mentioned in the story. Most of the students thought I was crazy for never hearing of it before. I can’t remember what it was called, I know it started with a “q” and Ms. Squires said it was something like our game of horseshoes. After reading, the students broke up into groups of two or three and worked on writing and editing their blogs about swimming. I worked with a girl named Martha to edit her writing and that lasted until the end of the school day. When the bell rang, I headed down to the staff room and sat in on a meeting about special needs children throughout the school. The district manager of the special needs children came to talk to the team leaders about who is progressing, who needs to be checked up on, and who needed to be evaluated to be added to the list. It was a pretty interesting meeting to listen to, very long though. We left the school around 5:20, caught the 5:45 bus at the bus stop about 3 blocks down the road and then headed back the Britamart bus station on Queen street. As I mentioned before, we at dinner at an Asian mart type place. I got something called the chicken lunch box and it was really good! It had deep fried chicken strips, salad with ginger dipping dressing, teryaki chicken with mixed grilled veggies, and steamed rice. Yum!!! Then Beth (one of my friends) and I went to Borders for two hours until they closed at 10. I bought three childrens’ books and they are sooo precious!! Pictures to come on Facebook later! Then we walked back to the room, hung out with some of the other people from our group before they went out on the town. I decided to stay in and work on my classwork before tomorrow so I can go have some fun! We are going back to the farmer’s market and possible the Parnel which is the arts district (lots of cool little Maori shops). I’ll keep the updates coming! Goodnight (or goodmorning) all!


May 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

May 27- On the Bus

I just got on the bus and we are talking about what we are going to do for the weekend. Tonight after school and a meeting, we are meeting Nyved (the librarian from Pt. England) for some kind of Asian food experience and possibly trivia night at a “pub” place. Hopefully there won’t be too many crazy people there, at least Dr. Cunningham will be around! Yesterday we got to meet with Delwyn, one of the assistant principals of the school and she talked a lot about the surrounding communities, where children are coming from, what the home life consists of, and how the ministry worked to make up the curriculum. It was about a 2 hour long meeting until tea and I learned some very interesting things. Most of the children that go to Pt. England are immigrants to New Zealand, their entire family or part of it (sister or mother) came to find work and send money back to the rest of their families on the islands. Children are a large part of the culture of a family, the more children you have, the richer you are, so it’s a big status thing for this community. Most families have at least 5 children for the average, some have up to 12 brothers and sisters. Pt. England covers grades 1 (Kindergarten) to 8 and after they leave primary school, they go to “college” or high school. The drop out rate isn’t very high, they all know that they have to go to school to get a job and help their families. After college, they have the option of going to university, which is actual college. Students from Pt. England get financial aid to continue to university and some go on sports scholarship if they are good enough to play for the university team. The way that the community housing is set up is very different from the United States. The government provides housing for those that need it and this is based off their yearly income. Houses have two to three bedrooms, one bathroom, and a living/kitchen area. There are generally four houses to an 1/8 of an acre and more than one family will live in the house. Delwyn said that most of the Pt. England children live with about 16-20 other people in their house. There are a lot of skin problems and lung problems because people are so crowded in the house. Problems like these will affect students’ performance and behavior in school and some students will stop coming to school for weeks because they or someone in their family is sick. Teachers are responsible to conduct house check-ups on their students, even when they are doing well in class. This helps with the home/school connection which Pt. England really values. The ministry (which is similar to their government) is responsible for making the curriculum for grades 1 through 12. These people are not teachers and don’t know about the needs of children in these lower income schools. Regardless, they publish a very very general curriculum for the schools in the district to follow. Some of the objectives that are listed are like: “Appreciate that scientists ask questions about our world that lead to investigations and that open mindedness is important because there may be more than one experience.” Teachers are supposed to take this and mold their lessons to cover this goal. I know that from writing all the lesson plans this past semester, the United States takes a very different approach in providing very detailed descriptions of what students should be learning.

Anyway! That was the extent of the meeting in the morning, it was tea time by the time it was over. After tea, I went to my new classroom (Room 15) with Ms. Squires and the 5 graders. They were so interesting!! This term, they are focusing on integrating and learning all about technology that is offered and most of them have cool blogs and animated videos that they created. I was able to help with a reading lesson, working with a boy who had just transfered to Pt. England. He could read the words, but he didn’t comprehend what they meant so I had to help him make the connections by looking at the pictures and saying different words that he might know. After that, it was lunch time, so I went into the staff room to eat my PB bagel, a banana, and some jaffe (or orange) cookies with chocolate on the bottom. I got to skype some which was wonderful seeing home and the people I love. My class got to go to the library and I read them a book called “The Crazy Hair Day.” Some of the girls asked if they could take pictures with my camera and I let them. They loved it! And this class loves my hair too! One girl asked if I could leave my hair down today so that she could “plait” it or braid it. So I did, maybe I’ll get some pictures of what she does. It’s about time for assembly so I’m going to go to class! I’ll post more about today later. Bye everyone!

May 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

May 25- It looks like rain

School just ended and I’m sitting in the teachers’ lounge relaxing until the bus comes. Tomorrow I am leaving my Room 1 and heading down the hall to Room 11 with the 10 year olds! It should be an interesting switch! Yesterday was so long but it was pretty great just the same. When we got to school, my class was working with reading and writing, they had tea time which is when they are allowed to eat something small from their lunch box and then play for the rest of the time (about 20 minutes). Then they did some math and story time before lunch at 1pm. The whole school eats at 1, gets 15 minutes to eat lunch (or longer if they need) and then they play until 2pm on the fields near the school. Yesterday after lunch, I walked out to the field to play with some of the older students at the school and all the girls seemed to love my hair! They couldn’t stop touching it or asking me TONS of questions! The favorite topic was Disneyworld, it was pretty funny. All of them have enormous families! About 9 to 10 siblings. We are in some of the poorest school districts now working with the children who need it most. Today was generally the same as yesterday and tomorrow I will be coming to school for a meeting at 9 about special needs children and how this school adapts for them through the curriculum. Should be interesting! It’s about time to pack up and catch the bus so I’ll post tomorrow or maybe some tonight. A group of us are cooking tacos for dinner at the hostel, I’m looking forward to it!

May 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

May 23- Point England Primary School

Today was so awesome!!!! I woke up at 5:30am to start getting ready, took a shower, got dressed, made my lunch (bagel with peanut butter, apple, and granola bar) and then ate some oatmeal for breakfast. The group left the hostel to make the 20 minute walk to the bus station around 7. Our bus left us, but thankfully, there was another one that was going to the same place that we caught instead. It took about 30 minutes to make it out of the city, through part of the country and down to the school. We were 20 minutes early so two of the school girls showed us the area around the school because we weren’t allowed into the school until the ceremony started. At 8:45 we were greeted at the gate and led into the “hall” or gym. About 20 of the children in the 6th and 7th grade gave the coolest Maori tribal greeting. After they prayed in their native language, danced, and sang, it was my turn to speak to the school since I was chosen by my professor to be a “tribe leader” of our group. My speech went really well, I just said good morning, asked the school how they were and then thanked them for welcoming us into their school and their country. As a group, we presented them with the Moravian star because it is part of our culture around Wake. I then explained why the star was so important and its meaning to the Moravian people. Afterward, we shook hands and kissed cheeks of all the administrators and then were led into formal tea. Tea is sooo awesome and should be made mandatory to ALL schools everywhere! All the teachers have the time to come into the teacher lounge, drink coffee or tea, and eat scones that are laid out on the center table. We were showed around the school and I went into my classroom. I am in Room 1 which is a “new entry” room. In New Zealand, students start school on their 5th birthday, no matter where it falls in the year. They are placed in the new entry rooms and caught up with the rest of the class. My class has 18 students (which is the cap for all new entry classes) and they are all so precious. I got to work with a small group of them for reading (they kept asking me to read pages over and over again because my accent was “so funny”). I even got to teach a math lesson about counting to 10 and grouping objects. It was so cool!! Then we went to tea at 11, when the students went out to play or eat something small from their lunch boxes. Lunch is at 1 and after lunch, the school has organized sport teams practice for about 30 minutes. The children get tons of outside time, which is great for their energy levels. The last hour and a half went by so quickly. My class was learning about healthy eating and Ms. George (my teacher) made whole wheat sandwiches with baby lettuce, red ripe tomatoes, and “tasty” cheese for the children to eat before they went home. Tomorrow they are going to write a story about what they ate today and how it was healthy. Pt. England has faculty meetings every Monday and our group got to stay and listen. It was all about different uses of Google and was pretty informational. Around 4:30 we walked down to the bus station, caught the bus back to the Britamart train station on Queen street, then trekked all the way back up hill to the hostel. A few girls are cooking a spaghetti dinner (my turn to cook is next Wednesday, I’m doing soups and grilled cheese!) and then I’m heading to bed. It’s going to be another early morning!

May 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

May 22- Auckland Domain

Wow!! Are my legs and back tired tonight! I have done more walking around in these past two days than I think I ever have in my life! And this city is very up and down with MASSIVE hills to climb. My calves are definitely going to be in shape when I come home! Today, I woke up around 7:15 and went downstairs to eat some breakfast. I had an apple that I bought at the farmer’s market yesterday and a half bagel with peanut butter. VERY yummy. Then I got to skype with my parents, it was so nice seeing them. : ) Afterwards, the group met up at one of the tables and planned our day. We decided to go grocery shopping because we won’t have lunches provided at the school we are observing in. It’s about a 20 minute walk down to the ONLY grocery store in the area and boy, was it busy today! Supposedly Sundays are the biggest days to stock up on groceries. I bought some oatmeal packs for breakfasts, some snack “choc biscuits” or chocolate cookies, a few bananas, some apples, and a snickers bar for the long trek back up the hill to the hostel. We put our stuff away and then headed up the hill some more (about another 20 minute walk) to visit the Auckland Domain museum. It closed at 5pm, so we only had about 2 hours to go through all the exhibits, but it was wonderful! (And it was free!) Our group walked back down and stopped to eat dinner at a chinese restaurant. I ordered noodles and “bean sauce” on the side. The bean sauce was very strange, but I ate most of it mixed in with my noodles. Tomorrow is the first day at Point England Primary and I was chosen by Dr. Cunningham to be the “tribe leader” and give a welcome/thank you speech to the students there. We are going to be greeted by an original Maori tribal ceremony (presented by the students) and then we are expected to give a gift, sing a song, and give a speech. So I’m going to go figure out what I’m going to wear, brush my teeth, and head to bed for a big day tomorrow! Wish me luck!

May 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

May 21- Sightseeing in Auckland and Devonport

Today I woke up around 7am and could NOT go back to sleep. So I got up quietly so I wouldn’t wake my roommates and took a super nice hot shower. I took my laptop and class book down into the breakfast/eating/table area of the hostel and uploaded all of my pictures so far (check out my facebook to see all of those). Serena, a girl in my group came down about the same time and we talked about our trip so far and what to expect in the next few weeks. Point England Primary School won’t be providing lunch, so we decided it would be a good idea to find something like a grocery store around and buy some things for our lunches. Ethan, the only guy from our group, and Dr. Cunningham joined us as we left. Not too far down Queen street (where our housing is located) we found a fresh farmer’s market and it was sooo neat! There was even live music to listen to while we sampled and shopped. I bought some bagels and homemade peanut butter for sandwiches and then split a bag of apples with Dr. Cunningham. It was a neat little environment to be a part of. Afterwards, we walked back to the room and met the rest of our group for brunch at a place called Mecca. It was a really nice restaurant and I ordered french toast while was sooo delicious! The group decided to take the ferry over to Devonport island (about a 15 minute ride) and check out the city over there. We did so much walking I thought my feet were going to fall off. There were cute little stores to browse in and tons of coffee shops and cafes. Most of the group decided to stay there for dinner and a movie, but Beth (one of my roommates) and I decided we were ready to go back to Auckland. We got back on the ferry and rode across to find some dinner and do a little more sightseeing for the night. We ate a place called Nandino’s and I got this really good spicy bbq chicken sandwich and chips (or french fries). Then we walked over to a Gelato shop and got a little cup. It’s kinda of like icecream, but the consistancy is different. Mine was watermelon flavored and I ate every bite! We came back to our rooms, got a fresh shower and now we’re about to head to bed! It’s been a long day. Tomorrow I’m just going to rest and get ready for my first day at Pt. England. Talk to you guys soon!

PS- the world doesn’t end on May 21st… so live it up!

May 21, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

May 20- Where’d that day go?

It has been such a long two days and after 31 hours of straight travel, and losing a day due to time change, I’m tired! I am currently sitting in my room in the YHA international hostile in downtown Auckland, about to go to bed. And it’s only 8pm! But I’m skipping ahead, let’s go back to Wednesday when I got in the car from my house and headed to Charlotte. So Mama, Bubbie, and I loaded up and hit the road around 9am, stopped close to the airport at a Cracker Barrel to spend some time together before I got checked in. When we arrived at the airport, it seemed like we were never going to find parking. I know we drove around the parking deck about 20 minutes before Bubbie pulled into a spot on the top level (seemed like the last spot up there, too). We headed to the Delta terminal and I got my bag checked in and sent off down the conveyor belt to be loaded onto plane. Then I got in the long line for a security and carry-on check. I had no idea that would be the last time I got to say goodbye to my parents, so we hugged a few times across the ribbon partitions, teared up a bit, and finally waved after I made it through to the other side. Once I got my bag repacked and my shoes back on, I headed down to my concourse to wait for my flight to start boarding. I didn’t have to wait too long and soon enough I was seated (on a super full plane) in front of a large group of musicians flying internationally to Genovia for a concert. The first flight to Atlanta was short, only about 40 minutes and my layover time (2 hours) passed by pretty quickly. I had to switch concourses from A to T, so I hopped on a train and rode over to find my gate. According to the lady at the desk once I arrived, my plane was overbooked (I have no idea how this happens). They were asking people to switch their flights if they had flexible travel plans to a later flight into LA. I went ahead and checked in to my flight so I wouldn’t run into problems and waited about two hours before boarding. I left my watch at home so I found this really pretty white one in a store not far from my gate. Atlanta airport is kinda like a mall it’s so big with stores and restaurants all over. Once I was in my seat, I met a really nice man flying home to LA and got to watch some tv on the screens attached to my seat. (The best part was, it was free!). This flight took about 4 and a half hours which seemed like the longest time ever to me. I kept telling myself there’s a suuuuuuper long one to come. After we landed, I walked what seemed like a mile to baggage claim and finally my bag rolled around the corner. I made my way up to terminal 4, checked my bag, checked my carry-on, and found my group. I realized at this point that I didn’t want to wear jeans on this flight so I found some pretty cool Puma sweatpants (Mama, don’t worry, they weren’t too expensive) and put those on. We had to wait about five hours before they started boarding, our plane didn’t take off until around midnight LA time (3am NC time). Thankfully, I was seated next to a girl that goes to Wake and is going to be with me for the study abroad in NZ! I don’t think I made it 30 minutes into the air until I was fast asleep. Quantas Air was pretty cool though, they gave out complimentary pillows, blankets, snack bags, and headphones with access to free, current movies. They provided a dinner (but I was asleep when that came around). I slept for about 10 hours straight and woke up at 5:10am (New Zealand time, really 1:10pm NC time). I still had about three hours to go before we landed, so I watched “The King’s Speech” and “Tangled.” We ate breakfast on the plane and I was awake for this meal. I had scrambled eggs, toast, yogurt, fresh fruit, and coffee. It was decent for airplane food. We touched down in Auckland around 8:15am, had to check in with customs and we were off on the bus to our hostile. It’s a pretty nice place, four girls to a room with stacked semi-bunk beds. (I have the top, but it’s not too high, it comes to my shoulder and there’s a little latter). Bathrooms are individual on the hall, showers are in a separate room from the toilet and sink. I took a shower after we walked down to the harbor (pictures to come) and then we walked the streets until dinner. Our group at a japanese place, I had salmon sushi with soup and it was pretty good! Now everyone is back and it’s about time to head to bed. We have a brunch at 11 tomorrow and then the whole afternoon free to do whatever. Not sure what I’m going to get into, but I’m sure I’ll write about it soon! I’ll post pictures from the airport, from the air, and from the city of Auckland as soon as I can…

Mama and Bubbie, I love you!


May 20, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

May 17- The Night Before

Hello all! I just figured out how to set up this blog and I’m sitting in my living room checking in to my two flights for tomorrow. If you don’t know, I’m going to NEW ZEALAND!! For five weeks! I’ll be traveling with a group of eight Wake Forest students and my Elementary Education Technology professor, Dr. Cunningham. We are going over there to work in schools all across the country to observe the different learning styles of the children. I will be taking a class called Education Psychology (for 3 credits) while I’m there and I’m so excited! Everything is packed and ready to go, I’ll be leaving the house tomorrow morning to head to Charlotte, NC. My first flight is with Delta, I have a layover in Atlanta and then I’ll head straight to LAX in California. There, I have seven hours to check my luggage, find my group, eat some dinner, and waste some time before I board Quantas airlines for a very very long flight to New Zealand. According to my travel agent’s email, I will be departing LAX at 11:40 pm, arriving in Auckland, New Zealand at 8:10 am (2 days later). Loooooong flight, thank goodness I should be sleeping for most of it. When it is 2pm here in North Carolina, it will be 6am the next day over in New Zealand. Oh, and did I mention I’ll be going from summer here in the States to early winter over there! My jacket is packed right on top and will definitely be pulled out in Auckland in the airport! More to come on my experience in the airport, saying goodbye, going through terminals and across seas, and finally arriving in the awesome country of NZ. Check back in every few days for updates, pictures, and videos! Much love.

May 18, 2011 Posted by | New Zealand | 1 Comment