Friday, May 28, 2010

May 28, 2010

Thought for the Day: “Many a tear has to fall, but it’s all in the game---“ Popular Nat “King” Cole song

Mary Martin @ Strzala Elementary

This is my final visit to the children in four various classes. First grade identified the days of the week as we do routinely, then busily worked with flash cards depicting colorful clothes and animals. “I have a brown bear. I have a green frog.”

Third grade practiced sentences that described their routine activities. Verbs were written in red pen or ink. Example: I walk to school. We speak English. We then expanded sentences by using names of classmates. Natalia plays with her friends.

This same attention to the FIRST PERSON SINGULAR –S in present tense verbs was practiced by Fourth graders, but we extended it to asking “Do you –VerbDoes s/he –Verb” questions of one another. It reinforced their focus to sit in two rows of chairs facing each other and work our way down the line: Line A asked questions; Line B answered and then we switched the procedure. Martina clearly distributed an advanced level of English language proficiency.

The principal and vice-principal, along with Agnes and Kate presented me with lovely tokens of appreciation for the services of a Global Volunteer. I carry with me warm memories of Strzala School and the lessons I learned there.

Georgianna taught four classes and bid a fond farewell to the two groups she won’t see tomorrow. The rest of the day was occupied with daily logs, summary log sheets for the two groups that ended classes today, and tweaking tomorrow’s lesson plans. And, sadly, one last class with Tosia and Waldek.

Audrey: I left Reymontowka at 9:00 in order to be on the bus and ready to roll out of Cisie at 9:30. After Pani Dyrector Maryla led the students in prayer, off we went to Warsaw.

The students loved the play---Little Tiny in English---and I was mesmerized, despite the fact that I do not understand Polish. After the performance, the students were bubbling over with what they had seen and there was a constant “Mrs., Mrs.” as they used their English---or tried to, usually as a group effort—talk about what we had seen.

Next we went off to Zelazowa Wola, the birthplace of Chopin. For me, a true lover of Chopin’s music, it was a very special occasion, something completely unexpected, a true gift.

Eventually we staggered back to the bus, collapsed into our seats, students and teachers alike, recharging and rehydrating with candy and chips and water. Some of us sat quietly, a few snoozed briefly, most talked, and eventually we all sang. A few students volunteered to use the bus microphone to sing, sort of a rolling karaoke, and all joined in.

I arrived home weary but energized and very happy, in time for a late supper and then to bed.

Jim’s penultimate day with the 8th & 9th “scholars” at Spoleczna went well. The schedule was unchanged, the interruptions were non-existent, and the students seemed to accept the foreigner as “one of the staff”. Even the grade-schoolers hailed the visiting American with hearty “good mornings”. Lessons were performed quite well by the upper Middle School students, and the word search puzzles filled out each of the class hours that had unfulfilled time remaining.

A particularly heart-warming tutoring session was shared by his two adult “students” in the four-to-five-thirty afternoon session. Again, animated conversations which included new segments on stress in the workplace and Polish and American superstitions, were the order-of-the-day. Parting was indeed sweet sorrow! It is felt that tomorrow’s final sessions at Spoleczna will just be more of the same!

May 26, 2010

Thought for the Day: "When in doubt, don’t."

Audrey: starts today’s report: Margaret (Gosia) and I did have one small class of 5 students who are in need of some extra coaching in English and it went well. Then it was off to the GYM….by now crowded with smiling Mums and some smaller children. Well the SHOW was terrific and I learned the children, who take dance lessons every Wednesday, have been preparing for this day since last September……their efforts showed as class after class,in lovely costumes, sang, danced and read poetry for their Mothers…..what a tribute and how special for me to be there on such an occasion.

A combined class---grades 4, 5 and 6---at Zelkow---was great with lots of conversation and some questions about Canada and my family. The class gave me a very nice thank you gift in the form of a class photo with the words, “Thank you for helping us!”

Jim’s day began early and ended late – with a sprinkling of meals and Spoleczna classes mixed into the middle. In a word, Jim’s day at school was “satisfying”. The story creations dealing with “Disasters” were expertly read aloud and the exercise of passing “Rumors” – Jim would secretly tell the first student about a rumor and that student would secretly tell another student (in Polish) their recollection of what was said – and on and on until the last student in the chain would tell Jim what his/her version of the original rumor – in English. Each student was given the opportunity to be the final link in the chain producing a lot of laughter and successful endings to each rumor started.

Jim’s afternoon session with the two ladies, Aneta and Joanna, was equally satisfying. Topics of discussion were troublesome TH sounds and ING endings to English words and late-night television addiction. The discussion turned to the difficulties in learning both English and the native language, Polish. It would be remiss to avoid thanking Georgianna for her assistance in this session. Her knowledge of both languages was invaluable.

Mary Martin went to Strzala School with Dorota where they enjoyed the Mother’s Day/Father’s Day presentation which the elementary classes had prepared, with mothers as their guests. The songs, poems, and dances showed the talents of the children and the warmth of their affection for mothers as each child gave his/her mother a flower. On the return trip, Mary Martin got photos of a stork atop her nest, and photos of a farmer plowing his field by a one-horse power “engine” – his horse. Poland has been full of lovely surprises.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 25, 2010

The realization that our days here numbered---only three teaching days left---was brought home to us last night when Dorota distributed the combined Global Volunteers Assignment and Team Rating sheets, along with the IRS certification forms and the summary sheets for the log books. We’ve started working on them, although the summary log sheets most likely will not be finished until the last day of classes.

At 5:00, our invited guests, principals, teaching colleagues and adult students arrived for our celebratory farewells. A weekday evening works out better than a Friday night, for our Polish colleagues and for those of us who must depart for the airport at 6:00 a.m. Saturday.

And now, the day’s activities, as reported by the volunteers:

Mary Martin---Mother Nature is playing tricks on us. A cold front moved in during the night, bring chilly temperatures along with partly cloudy skies. Mary Martin’s ride to Strzala arrived shortly after eight o’clock, taking that back county road which passes through several tiny villages. The four morning class periods passed quickly. Grade 5 students presented their poster work to one another. Grades Four and Two practiced songs for the Family Day presentation tomorrow afternoon.

The “older” students (I’m guessing ages 15 – 16) explored the topic of Idioms which makes English more colorful, more visual, and for the foreign language learner, often more opaque.

Once a lead student caught fire, the rest of the thirteen students became active, participating in sentences which built a dialog around the theme of whether or not to tell parents about their boyfriends. They decided in favor of their teacher, Miss Kate, whom they adore. My driver for the return trip to Reymontowka efficiently whisked me home through green fields and leafy trees swaying under strong winds out of the northwest.”

Jim had breakfast with his mates preceded the measured driving of Roman – off to Spoleczna to face the energies of the students there – and the day can be deemed successful by Jim even with several students absent. The lessons remaining for the week were introduced and a full week of classroom work and homework assignments were forecasted. These include writing and reading aloud “Disaster Stories”, performing a “Restaurant Skit”, and reviewing the students ideas of what items were to be deposited in a “100 year Time Capsule”. In addition to the above, parts of sessions would be devoted to the “Rumors” activity and the “Complete the Story” project. “Search Word” puzzles would supplement whatever time was left in each session.

Audrey had a very good morning in Cisie. The kids—grades 2, 3 and 6—were spontaneous and enthusiastic, quite focused. They asked questions , we did word lists on the board, practiced the words, and made sentences. We also worked with clocks and made sentences, for example, “I get up at ________________.” Grade 3 loves to sing, so we began and ended with a song.

At 7:00 we moved to the big tent for a special children’s performance of traditional games and dances, as well as a concert by a local women’s group, both dancers and singers being accompanied by three local musicians on fiddle, accordion and drums. The encore involved us! Several rollicking dances with performers, volunteers, colleagues and students at the invitation of the real performers.

We then trudged up the stairs and to our rooms, ready for sleep.

May 24, 2010

Thought for the Day: Taste all that is possible; you may regret passing on something good! --John Robert Paulus

Believe it or not, we are into the third and final week of our Global Volunteers service. As noted below numerous times, we each have acquired a daily routine, despite the variations in our schedules among the different schools. This Monday at Spoleczna, Mary Martin enjoyed exploring the topic of Idioms which makes English more colorful, more visual, and for the foreign language learner, often more opaque. “You cannot translate these; you will not find these in an ordinary dictionary,” she advises students. “But you can learn these and use them to make your conversation more interesting.”

Idiomatic expressions were matched with definitions. Then students created sentences on the white boards, using names of classmates. For example: Konrad has a candy bar and Pawel is green with envy. Keeping to a theme also enhance meaning, with themes of COLOR and SPORTS:

A. Patty, you didn’t study for the test. I heard you tell teacher a white lie!

B. Yeah, but you didn’t either. We’ll both sink or swim together.

C. Not me! Go fly a kite!

Students caught on quickly. Those who listened and contributed sentences earned stickers for their notebooks or pencil cases. Those who chose to coast through the exercises learned a fact of Life: “Those who don’t work, don’t eat,” for, in Mary Martin’s classroom, even those who listen courteously and show effort can achieve recognition.

The day continued with a tutorial at 3:30 and steady completion of the Global Volunteer evaluation forms which are due before we pull up stakes and move on.

At Spoleczna, the III-A girls sailed through a Translation Exercise, and a pronunciation scheme featuring voiced and unvoiced TH sounds, adding ING practice as well. A harder-than-usual Word Search puzzle was used as fillers for all four classes. For tomorrow, a Time Capsule project was prescribed as homework – and the shorter assignments covering ED endings, and Radio/TV commercials were returned to the students. Jim discovered that when students do not turn in homework, it does make his job easier! No fractured English sentences to correct!

Nothing out of the ordinary at Niwiski School. Pani Dyrektor and three teachers left a bit early for an afternoon of training---in research methods and evaluation---in Siedlce. Several students were absent with what were pantomimed as “sore throats.” Since I, too, have developed a raspy voice, probably due to pollen in the air, I seized the opportunity to teach the English idiom “frog in my throat” as in “I have a frog in my throat.” The fourth- and fifth-grade students knew “frog,” and “throat,” but the third grade needed the dictionary to grasp the meaning of “throat.” The third-graders were especially amused by the image and later danced down the hall making frog sounds and repeating “frog in my throat.”

Audrey's day started at Grala school with Kasia with school lunch between 3 and 4. Kasia and I decided that since it was my last visit to the school we should talk more about Canada, my family and theirs and encourage questions….so we did just that. In Grade 4 class we also covered Birthdays. The students at this school are all eager, full of fun and had some good questions. Grade 4 sang me a’Tiger’ song…in English. Today I met the Headmistress who gave me a warm welcome and invited me to return to her school.

Agness arrived at four o’clock and we enjoyed a visit and conversation on many topics….weekend activities, etc. over tea. She wanted to practice reading and chose a story from her brother’s English workbook on the history of TRAINERS (running shoes) which was very interesting for both of us. Agnes read very well and only needed correction on very few words. I’m so glad she can come to our picnic here tomorrow evening….a delightful young lady and its been a pleasure to work with her.

May 21, 2010

Thought for the Day: "The only constant is change!"

Fortunately, or unfortunately, according to your point of view, Friday arrived at around 4:45 a.m! The mourning doves were alive and messaging each other. A pig could be heard in the distance acknowledging the presence of Eos, the Goddess of Early Mornings. And down the road, a gentle breeze was using the pine forest as its method of announcing yet another day, a pleasant one to be sure, at our digs here at Reymontowka. The awesome foursome plus the” awesome-champion” Dorota, sat down again to break the nighttime fast with a delicious “start-of-the-day” meal. The Thursday journal was read to the assemblage and our respective journeys to school followed.

Immediately after lunch Dorota and I headed into Siedlce to meet up with my student Agnes for a shopping expedition. I was interested in finding a simple summer dress but most of the fashions seem to be for slim young things!! I felt it was good experience for Agnes… taking me into several shops and helping me look, convey my questions to the sales clerk, and then try on a few items.

Georgianna’s students were all in their places with bright, shiny faces and homework, too. She took advantage of the sunny, breezy afternoon to camp out on the back patio with logbooks and lesson plan books and succeeded not only in completing all of the Friday logs but also all of next weeks’ lesson plans for grade three, both groups. She had time to do a half-hour session with her Pimsleur Polish Lessons before a short walk along the fields. A grand day to start the weekend.

Mary Martin had another lovely day with sunshine and fair temperatures: "Since students at Spoleczna school portrayed Polish historical figures of the Baroque era, the 1700’s, on Wednesday, I followed up our Monday historical timelines – which compared Poland to the USA – by showing them the photos I took of them on Wednesday. My pint-size Acer notebook proves its worth as I carry it from class to class. Using the wh—information question stems (who, what, when, where, how, and why) I ask probing questions hoping to elicit significant historical information from them.

May 20, 2010

Thought for the Day:

"It is only with the heart one can see rightly;

what is essential is invisible to the eye." –St. Exupery

At our team meeting following lunch, there was consensus that we are meeting our pre-established goals: To provide practice with English language, to build bridges of understanding and respect, to be personally enriched. members agreed that this is happening through interactions in our school environments, on the social level when we meet Polish people – drivers, cooks, principals and teachers – and even in our team interactions.

Dorota reviewed the characteristics of a strong team, which we had articulated earlier. Again, consensus on success.

We have passed the first half of our three week period. Each of us has a daily routine of teaching hours in the morning, tutoring hours on varied days of the week. We meet three times a day at our meals. Days are not set in concrete; flexibility helps to advert a sense of frustration or discouragement. Like gardeners, we plant seeds; we cannot control the factors which affect student progress, nor control the outcome of English language learning. We can offer our gifts and, as the song advises, “let it be, let it be; there will be a future, let it be.”

It was a day like all days, filled with the events that illuminate our times, and Georgianna was there, at Niwiski School! A tad scrambled, with some students at Reymontowka with a poetry competition and others in the mountains on a field trip and two third grade sections that took it upon themselves to change groups. Hence, group 1, instead of the usual students, was augmented by two students who decided to join the earlier session, probably because they could then slip away early. The nice part for Georgianna, was that group 2 had a much smaller number, so she could devote herself to individual attention to certain students, one at a time. Probably, not a positive for those students who were maybe feeling a little bit on the spot. It’s difficult and frustrating to be a third grader whose English skills are really limited to vocabulary, sentences being a whole new, overwhelming concept. But they survived and will live to tell the tale, probably in Polish.

Audrey had another good day teaching at Cisie School with Margaret, grades 4,1 and 6 today. The grade 1 students are great fun and we just take it very slow with colors and numbers and we use flash cards, that went over quite well. We sang some songs about our body parts—Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. She asked them to color a Canadian flag for that class hadn’t done it. I took my camera today and had my picture taken of this delightful little class.

Grades 4 and 6 are always a bit more challenging. Today we continued to build on sentence structure and especially on Time using a big yellow clock with moveable hands to great advantage. They have to translate clock time in words into numerals on the face by using matching slips of paper. Margaret drove Audrey home, so they were able to continue our English conversation.

Mary Martin brought home a bouquet of flowers – yellow tulips with white roses -- which the recalcitrant First Communion class offered her as an act of contrition for their “misbehavior” yesterday – recorded in yesterday’s notes. Cook gave her a pitcher for a vase and the bouquet graces the Global Volunteers workroom table.

She adds another highlight, “Today’s driver took the same county back roads which delighted me yesterday when that driver traveled by the same shortcut. This driver, along with her daughter, Natalia, turned down a narrow lane and stopped in front of their new home. We had time for the briefest of tours, but it was a great opportunity to get a glimpse of modern design for the many new homes which are popping up over Poland.”

May 19, 2010

Thought for the Day: You’ll be dead a long time! - Victoria Litwornia Chojnowski

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tomorrow, tomorrow---that’s been our song for days but finally, today, tomorrow arrived and we could sing “Here comes the sun . . . .” as it broke through the clouds late in the morning. The world lit up and so did we.

We are, in Audrey’s words, settling into comfortable routines at our schools and here at home, Reymontowka. We have finally internalized the fact that dessert is with supper (colazion), not with lunch (obiad which means dinner). Obiad has soup (zupa) as the first course, then the full formal meal.

Georgianna’s day was nicely paced. The usual morning at Niwiski, meeting with four classes: a fourth grade, two third grades, and the fifth grade. This was her day without an afternoon tutoring session, so she holed up in the cozy yet spacious wood-paneled resource room under the eaves and worked her way through all three log books, one for each grade.

Audrey reports that she and Margaret (Gosia) are becoming more of a team every day as they teach together at Cisie---today grades 1, 4 and 6. The highlight of her day was a lovely afternoon nap, followed by a walk in the countryside before our evening meal.

Jim spent the day with his Spoleczna school students witnessing an amazing production of student talent at a sports center in Siedlce. But it wasn’t nearly as athletic as it was artistic! As it turned out, the Baroque Project had been planned for the school featuring gorgeous period costumes, rehearsed dramatizations, dance routines, and other theatrics, all staged on a gymnasium floor. Properties such as draped folding chairs, microphones, posters depicting regal crests, and other paraphernalia were quickly carried to the performance area by the entertainers themselves, and just as rapidly removed for the next presentation. All of the scenes were laudable! It was obvious that the students, ranging in age from six to 15, had worked very hard at this project.

The afternoon ended with the return of Aneta and Joanna to Reymontowka for another tutoring session. A good time was had by all, exploring American idioms and slang!

May 18, 2010

Thought for the Day: "Yesterday is but a memory; tomorrow is a mystery; that’s why today is called the present – a gift!"

Tuesday, May 18

Today’s driver for Mary Martin has her niece with her; this Maja is a student at junior high school; judging by her flow of English, she is a highly successful student. “Strzala” she informs Mary Martin “means arrow.” Certainly many arrows have flown through the course of Polish history. Once again, classes flow by in a medley of themes: sports, routines of the day, telling time and the days of the week. The oldest group of students use an article to explore the meaning and significance of “environmental issues.” Some are clearly more confident with cooperative learning than others when they work in small groups with a definite task to perform. The friendly, pleasant staff paired with friendly, willing children create an atmosphere conducive to learning and self-expression.

At Spoleczna, Jim used word-search worksheets and city map locations, the ensuing classroom response to the lessons was quite enthusiastic.

Jim attempted his infant Polish vocabulary on his trip to and from the school on a very amused Roman, the morning and afternoon “chauffeur” – and slowly but surely, a bond is being formed with this most genial of Polish gentlefolk.

At four o’clock, Jim met with his two adult ladies for their regular tutorial sessions and enjoyed the encounter immensely. Aneta and Joanna have extensive vocabularies with only an occasional pronunciation “wrinkle” to correct. Aneta seems to be the “resource” person when Joanna stalls on a word selection. Both responded well to an English speech (delivered by a visiting big-wig) and the supposed translation of the speech into Polish (for an invisible audience).

The day was capped off by an invitation to an evening Chopin concert – one of Jim’s favorite composers – to be absolutely blown away by the talent and skill of a quartet of young people. The youngest, Aleksandra, was (guessing) eight years old and displayed an amazing gift at the keyboard. She was followed by Alicja, again guessing, a ten-year-old, who stroked the ivories with her renditions of a composition by Chopin and an etude by Liszt. The third and fourth pianists were older boys, Jakub and Igor, both playing other works of Chopin and Liszt. It was a most impressive concert.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

May 14-16, 2010

Thought for the Day:

"We build the ladder by which we climb."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Rain drums on rooftops announcing that the May festival will not be spared. Nor will Georgianna be deterred from the thrill of a horseback ride. She rode in the rain. Now that is passion!

Through late morning hours stalwart Poles gather and under the sophisticated white tent, “the show must go on” as a talented and discipline dance troupe, composed of university students, delights the audience with folk songs and dances representing various regions of historical Poland. Zygmunt Wielogorski, equivalent to a U.S. County Commissioner for this region, attends, distributing certificates to mark the official closing of wood carvers’ workshop.

Local folk groups perform traditional songs. Stalwart. Vibrant. These senior citizens portray how one can continue to be actively engaged with Life despite the inroads age may take on one’s physic. I, Mary Martin, study their faces with wrinkles or creases that map out stories unknown to us. But, given their generation, they have surely witnesses sufficient harshness and suffering since that fateful day, September 1, 1939. I never heard my Croatian baba sing, nor her friends among Mrs. Starcevic, Mrs. Papic, Mrs. Miletich, girls who immigrated from the poverty stricken region of Like in northeastern mountains of Croatia. They always had sad eyes. Yes, the faces of Polish grandmothers, along with a sprinkling of grandfathers – for singers tend to be female – more than entertain us. They inspire us with the vivacity of Poland whose cardinal virture appears to be that of “endure, and celebrate Life.”

Jim remains in the audience. Georgianna is happily chatting with Polish friends, when Audrey and MM steal away toward the food court. Yuk yuk. Like everyone else, we find ourselves perilously slipping and sliding and balancing ourselves through trails turned into muddy quagmires. They begin to laugh, yet they are determined to reach that kielbasa stand! Photos testify to their near misses for firm footing. As a table of Polish folks begin to sing traditional songs, they creep over to listen. A Polish woman waves to them, “Come join us,” she gestures, making room on the bench. They join these warm-hearted hosts and soon are humming and swaying to the melancholic, soulful or romantic tunes. Dorota and her husband . . . come by and wave to us. Food is passed. Dancing begins. But 6:30 P.M. arrives, and lest they turn into pumpkins, Audrey and Mary Martin bid Thanks and Farewell, slipping and sliding their way back to the bright and dry shelter of their residence. It’s great fun to reunite with Jim and Georgianna for a recap of the day.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Jim and Georgianna team up to do their laundry and later, Jim “cleans up” by efficiently writing a play for his middle students to perform, entitled Breakfast Skit.

Georgianna enjoys excursion with a friend.

Audrey & MM bravely take the morning train into Warsaw where they join a tour for part of the day and explore Old Towne on their own for their final three hours. Audrey is fortunate in finding a water color print to accompany her home to Canada.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Georgianna spent a day with 2 classes of 4th graders, so she had a good time. She knows them well, meeting with them 2 hours a day for 3 weeks. “We moved through introductions by reading the day, date, and weather -- our standard for each day.”

Topics included families and the sound of th. Georgianna returned home, planning to ride a horse, but it was going to rain so she cancelled that and worked with Gosia (Margaret) in one-on-one tutoring.

Jim, despite a rearranged teaching schedule and some absent students, some of them now 2 days behind class work, believes that today all 4 groups handled word searches very well, and word chains exceptionally well. “We began the business of being interpreters of a city map for a group of Germans or Japanese or Peruvians who were asking about drugstores, hardware stores, and the like. I feel that the old American teacher is no longer a novelty. We finished the work, on idioms and slang expressions and conversed about fathers’ and mothers’ occupations.”

“Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to a new school I go,” chants Mary Martin as she joins Jim for the ride to his middle school site named Spoleczna. On Fridays and Mondays she is scheduled to meet with four classes. Today, three of those classes explored the question, “What is the difference between communication and language?” “I introduced myself and a brief family history in Croatian, writing supportive, visual information on the board – such as proper nouns or significant dates – and by using my USA and Iowa maps. We then determined how much information they gained about me, although I was not speaking English or any language familiar to them.

“Next, I role played the “slouching student” in contrast to the “alert student,” the “unhappy teacher” compared to the “happy teacher.” We used a T-square to compare Communication and Language – both involved in the transfer of information. However, communication includes non-verbal language (facial expression, tone of voice, body posture) while Language is a tool by which we share specific information through speech. (They arrived at the “tool” concept after examples of fork and spoon for lunch, pen for writing notes, axe for chopping wood to make a camp fire.)

Forty-five minute class periods were broken by fifteen minute pauses. In the faculty room Jim and MM were served hot tea, sliced fruit and some chocolates. “My final class of eight students sat in an informal circle and talked about what was important or special about each of them. Conrad played a short classical tune on his violin as an example of something he wanted us to know about him. A lad of Chinese origin, born in Spain but living in Poland, seem to huddle within his large self. One tiny lad appeared to be about six years old. The agonizing contrasts of emerging adolescence was obvious in this lively group whom I will revisit on Monday. They asked for our topic to be United States history. How’s that for being specific?!”

Before their van left Siedlce, their driver, Roman, paused at a kiosk so MM could fulfill her craving for green onions and fresh apples. Upon arrival at Reymontowka, Jim and MM found the dining room packed with a group employed by the prosecutor’s office. Georgianna followed on our heels, to round out our homey group of five. Hot mushroom soup brightened the gloomy, gray day, an appetizer to our plates overflowing with a pork cutlet, boiled potatoes and two kinds of salads, not to forget the bread basket – and fresh green onions!

TGIF it may be, but duties still await Audrey, who meets with a small group of children for conversation and a picnic lunch on the veranda, and Georgianna, who has a tutorial session. Dorota generously escorts MM to get train tickets for tomorrow’s excursion with Audrey to Warsaw, and for MM to get a haircut, a real treat with these accomplished Polish beauticians

Audrey spent the morning at Cisie School with Margaret/Gosia and she assisted her teaching Grades 4, 5, and 2. They all went well but the last is so much fun; it was my third time with Grade 2 who love to sing and all of them are so attentive and enthusiastic. Home for lunch and the usual, wonderful, “over the top” lunches. It is so nice to meet the rest of the team over our meals. I really like that time together.

After a short rest I went downstairs to meet a small group from Skorzec, seven of ten who arrived with two teachers. They are working on an EU project. They came with written questions about Canada. We sat informally around the table and had a lively discussion. At the end of our indoor time we posed for a picture with everyone wearing stick-on Canadian flags!!!! The heavy rains had arrived but did not deter us from the planned picnic on the beautiful grounds of Reymontowka. The cook took care of the sausages while we ate them under the picnic shelter. The children sang some Polish songs at my request …what enthusiasm!! The teachers and I had a little time to talk together. One little lad circled the group, amid much giggling, asking “Would you like a sweet? We took some photos and about four of the students asked me to sign their work books. The happy visit ended with thank yous and hugs all round!!!!

Rain, again, this time a persistent downpour that dims the afternoon, sends cobblestone workers home hours early, and drums with steady persistence on the roofs of Reymontowka