Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Polish night

We started the day with a delicious breakfast of cheese fritters, cold cuts, fruits and vegetables.

As everyday, classes started after breakfast. Joanna’s, Mark’s and Jordan’s class set up a “super market” where the kids were selling food, clothing and toiletries. The selling and buying had to be done all in English. Megan’s, Amanda’s, Lori’s and Vanessa’s classes came to the store to “buy” the products. It was a lot of fun for everyone. Amanda’s group practiced their song, and their introduction to their presentation. Vanessa’s group collaborated with Shelby’s class and made “career cards” that had the names of the professions the kids aspired to. Lori’s group watched a DVD, learned the “I want a dog” song, and drew dogs. Erica’s group wrote a story about a rabbit, drew the rabbit and used eight adjectives to describe the rabbit. Megan’s group learned about several forms of transportation, did a word search, and practiced a song for their presentation. Amy’s group learned about zoo animals and played the game, “Mother May I” and “Go Fish”. For the fourth period Amy, Vanessa, and Amanda did a presentation about their lives and their hometowns. The kids listened intently and asked many questions.

Lunch was delicious as always and consisted of pork, potatoes and broccoli. In the afternoon we prepared lessons for the following day and some of us went to the local market. Dinner was crepes filled with meat and cabbage.

The evening activity was “Polish Night”. The kids proudly danced the “Polonaise” and talked about the history of Poland. We learned about famous polish people like Chopin, Kościuszko, Copernicus and Marie Skłodowska Curie. It was a great evening, fun and educational. We ended the evening dancing to a song called “I Love Poland” with all the kids.
With Reymontowka silent, the teachers finished the day by preparing lessons for the following day, We are all very sad that there are only two days left.

Journal prepared by Mark

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Another wonderful day in our home far away

Tuesday morning: Again the eager sun rose over Reymontowka at its usual 4:30. Slowly the muffled, comforting sounds of the camp starting another day echoed down the halls (in a charming mix of Polish and English) and brought us gently out of sleep. At a hearty breakfast of ham salad (in the Polish style), fresh breads, cereals, yogurts, fruits, tea, coffee, and ‘all the fixin’s' the teachers discussed the day ahead. Classes began as usual, though as we discussed at breakfast, the usual will not be usual for much longer. (The volunteers are realizing a growing apprehension to the nearing of camps end; ‘Missing it already’.) The overarching theme of the day seemed to be preparation for the parents' day. Joanna, Mark, and Jordan worked on a teaching and translating a special song, as well as word Bingo. Amy also worked on a song for Friday, along with animal recognition and charades. Amanda's group worked on Friday's presentation along with the daily report of weather and expansion of the students of vocabulary. Megan’s group learned and discussed occupations and ‘what do I want to do when I grow up’. Then ended class by practicing a song. Lori taught her class about the special relationship between Q and U with a song and collage project, while Erica taught and discussed the Happy Birthday song with her students in honor of her sons 6 birthday taking place at home. Vanessa and Shelby teamed up to bring their children a riddled and frenzied scavenger hunt around the grounds after a brief practice for Fridays program.

3rd – 4th period the students joined in the main room to watch the ‘Crudes’ in English, with Polish subtitles.
After the lessons, the volunteers left for Warsaw. Sylvia guided us as the trusty yellow van made its way through the city; visiting the lovely Royal Palace, the Chopin Monument and Old town. The history packed film at the museum caused us to wonder at the miracle of the beautiful city and the strength of the Polish people, after learning that 85% had been destroyed during the Second World War.
Joanna, Mark, and Jordan visited Siedlce once again for a relaxing afternoon of shop and exploration.

A tired , hungry, but happy group of volunteers returned to a satisfying dinner of pizza in the Polish style. Lesson plans were next on the agenda as we worked away in the teachers lounge. The vibrant and adorable fashion show and voting of the ‘nicest camper’ ended the night. A tight race ended with the election of Kuba and Kalina.

Again it was a wonderful day, in Poland, our home far away.

Journal prepared by Shelby

Monday, July 29, 2013

Back at Reymontowka

Message of the day: Education is not the learning of facts, but training the mind to think. –Albert Einstein (Shared by Shelby).

We had an AMAZING weekend but it feels great to be back at Reymontowka, our home away from home.
One thing we really missed  was eating together at the manor. There’s nothing better than home cooked meals!! This morning, we started off with a hardboiled egg topped with mayonnaise and green scallions. We also had the opportunity to eat liver pate amongst an assortment of fruit, yogurt and other delicious breakfast items.
At 9:30, we began our English lessons. Joanna, Mark, and Jordan taught their little ones how to play Bingo. Joanna also taught them how to say, “A mosquito bit me!” in English. Lori had her class write words to match the different letters of their name. Shelby’s class put together an American puzzle map to get ready for future activities. Amanda’s class played different games to help build their vocabulary. Amy’s class reviewed parts of the body and played the popular game, “Food Jingo”. Erica’s little ones played a career word search and had a preheated game of Uno. Megan’s class drew pictures and wrote sentences about things they liked to do. Through fun worksheets and a beautiful nature walk, my students added new vocabulary to their already long list. 

After lessons, our students danced their little feet away. They also enjoyed a game of musical chairs which of course always gets very competitive.
For lunch, or you can call it dinner like the Polish, we had vegetable soup. For the main course, we were served buckwheat with pork and gravy.
After lunch, everybody caught up in different activities. Some started planning for  tomorrows lesson plan. Others took small naps. A few even caught up on shopping!!
For dinner we had pierogi, kopytka (potato dumplings), and blueberry bread. And if you are anything like me, there is always Nutella and bread in addition to every meal.
At  8 pm, our kids participated in performing various lip syncs. Some of them persuaded a few of us with their “can’t say no” charm to join in on the festivities. Shelby, Megan and I lip-synched to Brittney Spears, “Oops I did it again!” Like every event we participate in, no matter how bad or good or bad we do, the children treat us like rock stars!! From asking for our autographs, to screaming at our arrival, tonight was no different. This time they held out their little hands so we can high five them down the rows.
The children really make it hard to miss back home. We are enjoying our stay so much at Reymontowka that we are already missing our home away from home.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday's classes, "visit" to Disney World and off for weekend adventures!

Message of the day: The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Attributed to Alan Kay and shared by Vanessa

On Friday morning we enjoyed delicious ham covered with scallions and poached eggs for breakfast.

Amanda’s group explored the outdoors during a nature walk.  Erica equally challenged and entertained her group during a scavenger hunt around Reymontowka. Vanessa’s group wrote summaries of short stories and Shelby’s group played a fun game of scrabble.  Lori sang songs and danced with her students.  Amy’s group sang about Big Macs and then ordered from menus they had created.  Joanna, Mark, and Jordan’s group played Bingo, and practiced sentences during a nature walk. Megan’s group drew pictures and created short stories to go along with them.  
Lori talked about the wonders of Disney World during her presentation. The kids “oohed” and “ahhed” to see a video of the fireworks display in EPCOT. Many of them even inquired about the prices of Disney World so that they could begin saving up for a trip.  
Everyone rushed  to eat a lovely lunch of chicken filled with cheese paired with coleslaw before departing for the train station to go on their separate weekend adventures.
Joanna, Mark, and Jordan traveled to Warsaw and met with a family friend.  Lori explored the city of Lodz. Amy, Amanda, Erica, Megan,  Vanessa, and Shelby experienced the beauty and great shopping in Krakow and the sadness of Auschwitz.  After the long train ride, we were greeted with the friendly faces of the children and some parents as well as a wonderful dinner of bigos. With a great weekend away behind us, we were all glad to feel back at home in Reymontowka.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

English classes, presentation on New York and karaoke night!

Message of the day: The more you read, the more you know. The more you know the more places you'll go. Dr. Suess (Shared by Megan).

It’s another beautiful day at Reymontowka. Our day began with a delicious breakfast of apple fritters, cold cuts, fruit, and other tasty delights. We prepared ourselves for the day’s events as we conversed over breakfast. It seems that we are really becoming a team and getting to know each other quite well.
Lessons took place across the Reymontowka campus as the volunteers guided their students in a variety of activities. Megan led her group in a game of fast hands, covering multiple sight words. Fast hands is quickly becoming a favorite among the campers. Erica reviewed the body parts while playing an exciting game of hangman with her students. Vanessa’s group enjoyed a game of animal memory game to review the previous day’s lesson on animals. Lori’s students got to play ”Traffic Jam,” as they learned the words for various forms of transportation. Amy’s group practiced naming vegetables and fruits in a variation of the game, “Duck, Duck, Goose.” Shelby’s group eagerly took on the task of writing their own book reports and comic strips. Joanna, Mark, and Jordan led their group on a walking field trip to find shapes and colors. Amanda’s students enjoyed practicing English through a few rounds of Twister and Uno. 

The afternoon activity was hosted by Joanna and her two sons, Mark and Jordan. They gave an interesting presentation on their home state, New York. They included  pictures of the many attractions their state has to offer and included a portion on the influence Poland has had in the New York City area. Mark and Jordan explained American schools and the New York sports teams.  The students were all enthralled and asked many questions. The presentation proved to be a hit with the students, staff, and the Global Volunteers.
We enjoyed a nice lunch of meatballs and potatoes with soup and delicious Polish pickles. The kitchen has learned of our love of Nutella and now provides a jar for every meal. Dziekuje! After lunch, volunteers leisurely planned lessons and enjoyed the beautiful outdoors. Students spent time in their afternoon classes and prepared for the evening’s special karaoke night. Music filled the hallways all afternoon!
Later in the evening, we enjoyed dumplings filled with pork and fresh raspberries. Truly delicious! The evening did not disappoint with students heartily singing popular Polish songs. Joanna graced the stage with a favorite song of hers in her native Polish language. A few from the UCM group joined the students in singing, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” and a popular hit with the students, “Call Me Maybe.” The karaoke night was a huge success and fun was had by all. Reymontowka provided yet another memorable day!

Journal prepared by Amanda. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Another successful day of teaching

Message of the day: “Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.”-Mahatma Gandhi. Shared by Amanda.
Wednesday morning we had a beautiful breakfast which included what is called in Poland, omelet. To us it looked like a folded pancake with jam inside. We spend time every morning during breakfast discussing our experiences and reviewing the previous day’s activities before beginning the classes for the day.

On this day we all held our classes as usual, but some were moved inside due to a few sprinkles of rain. Our fourth hour lesson was combined. We enjoyed teaching the students some new number games. It is wonderful to watch the students interact as one big group and to see how competitive a game of Capture the Club can become. 

We had a wonderful obiad of pork, mushrooms, onions, and potatoes. During obiad we volunteers discussed the activities that worked well during the morning session. Vanessa said that her students enjoyed a game of Food Jingo. Lori mentioned that the ice cream menu sign was a good way to get the students to learn numbers and express prices. Megan had good luck with Go Fish.  Amanda had her students pretend they were at McDonald’s and they practiced saying their orders in English. Shelby’s class enjoyed Scrabble and charades. Amy’s class enjoyed happy hands and Shape and Color Bingo. The class taught by Joanna, Mark, and Jordan are having fun learning the ABC song.
After obiad everyone dispersed to rest for a bit. Then the UCM group practiced a dance routine for the talent show. Jordan and Mark played a soccer game with their students, which the students really loved. 

We had another delicious evening meal which included a Hungarian dish, leczo and Polish donuts, pączki. Joanna graciously shared a type of kielbasa and also Milk in a Tube. Both were wonderful.
Then it was time for the Talent Show. There were many good acts from the students. There was singing, dancing, and other talents displayed.

The UCM dance group was a success performing a dance to “All the Single Ladies” and was even asked to do an encore.
After the talent show the volunteers collaborated together to finish working on lesson plans for Thursday. We also shared many stories and laughs together. I am glad to have such a great team to share this experience with! 

Journal prepared by Erica

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Learning and fun

Message of the day: "Knowledge is the greatest gift you can give to a child". Shared by Erica, source of quotation is unknown.

Our morning started out as usual, we listened to the kids scurry in the hallways as they prepared for their morning run.  For breakfast we had delicious scrambled eggs with scallions, cold cuts, jams, bread and vegetables.  During breakfast we discussed what lessons and activities we prepared for the day.  At 9:30 we met our students in the assigned areas.  Some of us moved indoors since it was chilly.  The kids were excited and at ease and the first day jitters and apprehension were gone.  All the lessons were planned according to the specific needs of the particular group since the groups were well matched.  Some kids were just starting out with learning the proper pronunciation of the English letters and mastering the alphabet song.  Other groups worked on parts of the body, shapes, sight word bingo or number bingo.  The children were very enthusiastic to learn and participated freely.  Some actually stayed around their teachers during the break to ask additional questions. 

Our last hour was a lot of fun.  All the groups joined together in the big room.  Kamil was our house dj and seemed very confident with all the equipment, if law doesn’t work out, this might be another career option.  The kids listened to the instructions, followed directions and danced wildly to YMCA, Gangham style, Cotton Eyed Joe, If you’re happy and you know it” and other hits.  
Obiad was delicious, we enjoyed chicken that looked beautiful sitting on a leaf of butter lettuce, potatoes, green beans and tomato salad. 
Right after obiad we drove to Siedlce to meet with the county Governor Mr. Zygmunt Wielogorski.  Mr. Wielogorski talked to us about some history of Poland, the social/economic issues that Poles face and a little bit about his personal life.  We were surprised to learn that, not only is he a county governor and a lawyer by training, but also a judge at weight lifting competitions, even at Olympic events. 
He thanked us for our volunteering service and talked about the importance of sharing oneself to educate others. 
Following the meeting we went for a short walk, got some groceries, ice cream and pastries.  On the way back to Reymontowka we were thrilled to stop at a Polish McDonalds, where some of us enjoyed burgers , fries and chicken nuggets.  We remarked that they tasted pretty much the same, maybe  a bit better. 
Upon returning home to Reymontowka we had supper of zapiekanki, a baked baguette with cheese and mushrooms, watermelon and cold cuts. 
The entertainment for the evening was: "Randka w Ciemno" or "A Date in the dark".  The kids had a lot of fun, especially since the teachers participated. 
In the evening the teachers worked on preparing lessons for the following day.  We discussed what worked and what didn’t during the days’ lessons.  We shared ideas for learning games, interesting and stimulating educational activities and researched special projects that would keep the kids attention the following day.  Yet another FANTASTYCZNY ("fantastic") day at Reymontowka has ended.    

Journal prepared by Joanna.