Friday, May 25, 2012

¡Por fin!

It's finally here! Two glorious weeks of vacation!

Today I finished my parent-teacher conferences: 8 yesterday, 19 today, 2 after vacation.

The best part about vacation is I can put away my evil alarm clock. No more waking up at 5:45 in the morning (seriously? that's practically un-holy). No more work to correct. No more children. No more meetings. No more lesson plans.

Actually the only thing above I really don't like is the waking up early part. But it's still nice to get a break from the rest!

No more papers to correct! (I think I need a desk.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me! Again!

Yes I know, my birthday was over a month ago. But hey, I've been busy getting everything finished at work before the end of the term. So here you go. This is how I celebrated my birthday with my students last month.

I knew my kids were working on a surprise for my birthday. Every chance they got, they'd somehow get me to go outside the class so they could plan something. I tried my best to pretend I didn't know what was going on. 

So the morning of my birthday, as soon as the bell rang, one of my more theatrical students grabbed my hand and pulled me outside. He immediately fell to the floor, pretending to writhe in agony. His stifled laugh made it quite clear he was kidding. So after about a minute of this we were beckoned inside. This is what was waiting for me:

Seriously??? They brought me cake! And sang me happy birthday. Can you say 'adorable'??

 Those of you in the area should recognize the cake on the left as a Mil Hojas cake. If you aren't familiar with Mil Hojas don't worry. You're not missing much. It's a cake with dry crackery layers with manjar (dulce de leche) in between each layer (no, crackery is not a word). The cake on the right was made by one of the girls in my class. All you need to know is that it was covered in melted Trencito, a super sweet, super delicious chocolate bar.

 While the kids were working on a group project I had the fun task of cutting these two cakes into 29 pieces. Definitely not as easy as it sounds. Plus the pieces needed to be relatively the same size to avoid any fighting amongst the kids.



During recess some of my kids from last year came by and sang me Happy Birthday. 



During Science class the kids were again working on a group project. The school's doorman came to my door and told me my uncle was waiting downstairs. He stayed in my room so I could run down to see my uncle. He was waiting in the lobby with the biggest cake I've ever seen.

My kids almost fainted when they learned there was more cake in store for them. This cake, I later learned, is the President's favorite cake. The woman who sells them only makes this cake. It's that good. The cake had layers of manjar inside and was generously coated with a meringue frosting.

There was more than enough cake for my kids so I sent over the rest to the teachers in the teachers' room. 



 My kids were basically dumping presents on me all day. I don't think I've ever seen so much chocolate before in my life. Cards have always been my favorite gifts from students. They are always so freakin' adorable. This one I loved because of its ransom note style.


And because I'm a giant dork, this was my favorite gift:

I got a medal!
So that pretty much sums up how I spent my birthday. Of course, at night I had to go back to school to have a meeting with my students' parents. Nothing says happy birthday quite like a meeting.



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. Especially mine of course.


I love someecards. I think they're hilarious. This one is perfect. Mom, I love you (duh) and thanks for everything! I miss you everyday and I can't wait until you visit again!

Speaking of Mother's Day,  this past week my students made cards for their moms. One of my girls told me I was like her second mom and handed me this card:




 It's always nice getting a card for a holiday that celebrates other people!

Batman en Vivo!

Prepare for an onslaught of videos and pictures.

On Wednesday I went to see Batman Live at the Movistar Arena. The show is playing through Sunday. The centro de padres (sort of like a PTO) at my school got free tickets for all the students in fifth grade (and their teachers) to go see the show. Each student received three tickets so they could bring their parents or siblings. I went with my fellow fifth grade teacher, Carolina, her son and two of his friends. Her son goes to another school and they also received free tickets.

After an almost hour and a half car ride, we arrived at the Movistar Arena, located inside the sprawling O'Higgins Park.  As soon as we parked the car we were mobbed by vendors trying to sell us posters, glow sticks and random crap with bootleg Batman logos on it.


I was probably a little too excited to see the bat signal being projected onto the side of the arena. Come on, it was cool!

The tickets we received were general admission in the upper level. After we found seats I started searching for my students. The majority of them told me they would be there, and even though the arena holds like a million people I figured I'd find them. I didn't have to look very hard because they found me. A group of eight of my students and their families ended up sitting about 3 rows behind us. My kids begged me to sit with them but I wasn't about to abandon Carolina (plus our seats were closer).

This was the opening set of the show.




I hadn't actually heard about the Batman Live show until my boss told me we'd be getting free tickets. Everyone I asked told me it was going to be similar to Cirque du Soleil but with Batman doing whatever it is that Batman does.

Well, I've never actually been to a Cirque du Soleil show (on my to do list!) but I'm positive they're nothing like Batman Live. It's not that the show was bad, it was just, in my opinion, very repetitive. Either people were swinging from the rafters or doing somersaults and flips on the ground. 

The show was in Spanish so I wasn't able to follow everything. Part of the plot took place at a circus so there were many acrobats and other circus performers. Including these guys (one of my favorite parts):


poodle-horses!

As a performer balanced on a (stabilized) ball these horses paraded around her. It killed me that during the first act I couldn't remember how to shoot a video with my camera (give me a break, it's new).  Here are some more circus scenes from the first act:




Okay. So like I said the show was in Spanish. It took me about four seconds to come to the conclusion that the performers were not actually speaking. Sometimes it didn't even look like their mouths were moving. I could be wrong, but it sounded more like a taped recording was being used. Which would make sense, seeing how this is a world tour. Using a recording would allow the same actors to go from country to country.

I should also point out that my extent of Batman knowledge is the Dark Knight. That's it. I'm familiar with some of the other non-Dark Knight characters, but only vaguely. There was one semi-prominent character in this show that I hadn't heard of before. I wanted to kill her the moment she walked onto the stage. She had, and I'm not kidding, the most annoying voice in the world. So annoying, in fact, that I had to record it. (During intermission Carolina's son showed me how to take a video with my camera.) After looking it up online I found out her name is Harley Quinn.


(That's me at the end of the video, clearly fed up with the girl's squeaky voice.)

It seemed like every villain from every Batman movie was in this show. First the Penguin came out. (I immediately thought it was the Joker.) Later the Riddler came out. (I immediately thought it was the Joker.) Then the two-faced guy came out. (This time I didn't think it was the Joker.)

Here they are with Catwoman. More villains came later. Clearly four weren't enough. Wait, is Catwoman bad or good? Never mind, I don't actually care.



And finally the Joker:


This was, by far, the coolest part of the show. A giant, nightmare-inducing Joker face came onto the set. Upon further examination I realized parts of it were moving. The moving parts turned out to be people wiggling about. I immediately snapped a video. If you're going to only watch one video from this post watch this one!

 


The show was split into two acts. The first one was 50 minutes and the second one was 45 minutes (according to their website). Seeing how this is Chile, the show started at least 25 minutes late. By the time the first act ended it was 9:30. Intermission couldn't have come soon enough. The constantly flashing lights finally got to me and I was beginning to feel a little queasy.

Seizure-inducing lights.


Act two had its moments. Like this scene when Batman began fighting off his enemies with Light Sabers. Wait, no, that can't be right. 

 


By the second act I was tired and just sort of waiting for the show to end so I could go home and go to bed.  I guess I'm just not that into Batman. And strobe light filled shows. I'm more of a Phantom of the Opera type person. (Blame my mom, she took me to see it as a child.)

So again, I wasn't able to follow the whole plot of the show. But from what I understood, most of the show revolved around Robin before he was Robin. For a show about Batman, he certainly appeared in only a few scenes. 

The last two villains had such awesome entrances I just had to record them. Really I just started recording everything. You know, just in case something cool happened.

First there was this scarecrow guy walking around on giant stilts. He was so wobbly I just kept waiting for him to fall over. He didn't.

 


The last villain (number 7!) was Poison Ivy. Here's her super cool entrance:


                                       


Anyway, the whole show ended with Harley Quinn helping to defeat the Joker (which now I find confusing because of what I read on Wikipedia about the two of them being like in love) and pre-Robin finally becoming Robin.

No idea what happened to the rest of the villains. (Again, I don't actually care.)

On Thursday, all the students came to school super excited about the show. I guess being an actual Batman fan makes seeing a show about Batman more enjoyable. I'll have to remember that the next time I go see a show. But hey, at least it was free.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Walt and Me

In social studies my kids had to do a research project on one of the countries in the Americas. They were asked to look up things like the president, population, natural resources and important people. 

Here is the poster made by my student who was assigned the US. 

Clearly I need to clean my desk.

Let's see how she did. 

Capital - Washington D.C. *check*
Population - a lot of people *check*
Area - really big *check*
President - Obama! *double check*

Oh, Important People: 

  1. Mr. Walt Disney - created Disneyworld
  2. Thomas Edison - inventor
  3. Maggie Flashner - (that's me!)

 Let's zoom in, shall we?


Kid obviously wants an 'A'

I never thought I'd see my name on a list with Walt Disney!
Oh Thomas Edison's okay too.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Pointless Post About TV

I think I like TV a little more than your average person. We recently got cable and I was thrilled to find a channel that's very similar to HGTV. I'm addicted to any show that's about buying houses.

As much as I like TV, I only actually turn it on once a day and always at the same time. Monday through Friday at 9pm old episodes of Property Virgins come on followed directly by House Hunters International. I'm probably paying too much money seeing how this is the only thing I use the TV for.

There's a point to this, I promise.

Over the weekend we changed our clocks back an hour. Who doesn't love getting an extra hour of sleep? (Rhetorical, of course.)

Anyway, come Monday at 8:55pm I turned on the TV to watch Sandra try to sell some newbies a house. Instead, I caught the end of some people buying a vacation home in Costa Rica. Apparently the TV company didn't get the memo that the time changed. Everything is on an hour earlier.

That's strange, right??

Or maybe I'm the only one perplexed by this.

Yeah, it's probably just me.

Yes, Another HP Post. Deal With It.

Today was a weird day mainly because tomorrow is a holiday (technically tomorrow is actually today since it's 12:18am but whatever).  The holiday tomorrow is Labor Day even though it's not September. So sometimes when holidays in Chile fall on a Tuesday some companies will decide to give their employees Monday off as well. You know, so everyone can enjoy a four day weekend. Well, my school didn't give us Monday off, so I found myself at 7am on a very empty metro on my way to work. I was missing 10 kids from my class so I decided that was a perfect excuse for a video day. 

Last year I showed my kids many Planet Earth episodes (it fit in nicely with our unit on ecosystems). Now we're not suppose to cover ecosystems until term 2 but I thought I'd show them the first episode, From Pole to Pole anyway.

I love Planet Earth. Like a lot. And From Pole to Pole is a good introduction to the series. It covers a little bit of everything: penguins, seals getting eaten by sharks, ducks, caribou getting eaten by wolves, elephants, impala getting eaten by some weird African dogs. My kids really enjoyed it. Especially when animals ate other animals. Gross. 

Anyway, when the video finished I asked if anyone had a questions. One boy shot his hand up in the air and asked, "Miss, was the video narrated by Dumbledore?" 


Seems I'm not the only one with Harry Potter on the brain.

I should also point out I was showing my students the British version, not the US version narrated by Sigourney Weaver.

In case you were curious, the British version is narrated by a famous Brit named David Attenborough.  You know, this guy:

It's okay, I don't know who he is either. But the guy's got a frog on his hand.

Anyway he's pretty much famous only because his brother Richard was the crazy dinosaur man from Jurassic Park who thought opening up a petting zoo with raptors and a T-Rex was a good idea. You know, this guy:

He's the one who isn't Laura Dern or Sam Neill.

Relax, England. I'm only kidding. David is famous for a bunch of real reasons. But neither of the Attenborough brothers will ever be as famous as Dumbledore. Obviously.

I feel like I've gotten way of topic. So let's end it here.


Moral of the story:

All British people sound alike (in the ears of a 10 year old Chilean student).