At my first day of school in Guadeloupe it was very hot. In the classroom it was so hot I could barely work. Class starts at 8 o'clock in the morning, but we get to go home for a long lunch break. I'm in a split class with around 20 kids in grades CM1 and CM2. They made us write so much just for math, like 4 536 923 = 4 x 1000000, 5x 100000, 3 x 10000, 6 x 1000, 9 x 100, 2x 10, + 3. My hand was tired after that.
At recess I met a kid that originally came from Montreal, and has also spent a few years in New York. This is his fourth year in Guadeloupe. There were a lot of Beyblades out at recess. They just came out here in Guadeloupe and are really popular at my new school. Almost everyone has them. I should have brought mine from Canada too.
After recess we had lecture silencieux which we also did when I was at class in TFS too. Mine was about music people. An artist drew a picture of five musicians. The teacher speaks french clearly and not that fast, I understood most of what he said. I was only at school for the morning today, but I'm looking forward to going to school all day tomorrow.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
I met my new class and my new teacher and I had a snack. I had a very loud class and a big class. We were supposed to have 26 children in my class, but today was only 23 children because some kids were away. My classroom is warm. I did easy work and fun work at my class. At recess we got to play football. That's what they call soccer. And that was all about my new class in Guadeloupe.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
With daily negotiations Xavier diligently completes math, and language arts tasks from the grade 4 curriculum. Current events and the island itself, are the source for many of his independent studies. He has come to love reading books, and right now adores the Animorphs series.
Now, how am I keeping 3 active boys reading, writing, drawing, typing in the hot Caribbean sun? With my positive teaching style and dynamic personality? For the love of learning? Sadly, no.
I have resorted to bribery. "Finish this and then we get to go swimming in the pool." "Finish that and then we can go to the beach." And the most important bribe of all: "When you reach the day's goal, it's free time"- translated into boyspeak - video game time!
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
|Tip: don't leave crayons out in the Caribbean sun.|
We are living in a two bedroom apartment in a villa in the town of Gosier, just outside of Pointe-a-Pitre. This is located at a dead-end street (good for ball playing) on top of the cliffs of Gosier with an epic view overlooking the ocean, the seaside communities across the bay and the mountains of Basse-Terre. On a clear day (which is almost every day) our vista includes the outer islands of Les Saintes and even Dominica in the background. Every morning as we dig into our cereal and fresh mangoes on the outside terrace we can watch the colourful sailboats bobbing in the water, and hear the waves crashing into the rocks. I look forward to drinking my coffee out here as I guide the kids through their morning school work.
My first comment on our Guadeloupe experience would not be complete without a mention of the most challenging aspect of all, and that is the heat. Intellectually I knew to expect hot, and people warned me of the sun's unrelenting shine, however I really did not understand how uncomfortable it is to feel that hot, wet, and sticky day in and day out. Even as I sit at the computer now rivulets of sweat are running down my back, and my eyebrows cannot keep the perspiration from dripping off my nose onto the keyboard. We were so relieved to experience overcast skies and even some rain with the threat of Tropical Storm Maria. Storms and sunshine aside, I'm going to continue sitting here on the terrace, with fresh passion fruit, bananas and limes within arms reach, and finish my rich coffee sweetened with some island sugar cane. Let the dog bark and the kids bicker, I'm going to savour this moment at our home for now, with a view!
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Xavier, Quincy and I started the long drive down to Miami Friday August 26 to kickoff "Operation Airlift Stanley". With the mini-van loaded up with boxes and street hockey equipment, we passed through US customs without incident. Strangely, the US customs guy didn't question me much about taking two kids, a dog, and a car full of stuff without Samantha. No matter. After passing through 8 states and skirting hurricane Irene, we arrived in Miami on Sunday evening.
Now here comes the complicated logistics for getting a large dog to Guadeloupe.
On Monday, Samantha and the two little ones took an early flight from Toronto to Miami, while original drive-to-Miami team flew down to San Juan, Puerto Rico ahead of Stanley. Just before 10 pm, Stanley followed us to San Jan and was put on an overnight cargo. Due to temperature restrictions when transporting animals, an overnight flight is pretty much the only way to get a large dog to the Caribbean by air.
On Tuesday morning, the drive-to-Miami team greeted Stanley at the San Juan airport. Needless to say, Stanley was happy to see us! And it was the kind of happy that only dogs can pull off - dog happy. With Stanley safely in San Juan, it was a race to Guadeloupe. Samantha and the little ones hopped on an Air France flight to Guadeloupe while the drive-to-Miami team flew on a 6-seater island hopper. Stanley was sitting next to me in the middle row.
By mid-afternoon, we had all arrived safely in Guadeloupe. Now it's time to get everything in order for day-to-day life in Guadeloupe.