Friday, December 4, 2015

Dreams Do Come True

Last Saturday, I took the trip of my dreams and visited the Cliffs of Moher.  I traveled with the All Tours Ireland tour company to ten different locations including my final dream destination.  Before taking the tour bus, I had to take a city bus from Westport to Galway and then from there I began my adventure to the Cliffs of Moher on the Lally tour bus. Throughout the tour I was able to see many scenic views of the countryside, Atlantic Ocean, Castles and a few unusual animals.  During the tour I was also able to learn more about the culture and history of Ireland.  This was an amazing experience that has opened my eyes the beautiful features Ireland has to offer.   Below is a list of the locations I visited and some the pictures I had the opportunity to take along the way.

I traveled to the following locations:

  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Dunguaire Castle/ Kinvara
  • Corcomroe Abbey
  • Poulnabrone Dolmen
  • Ballyalban Fairy Fort
  • Leamaneh Castle
  • Kilfenora/ High Crosses
  • Doolin/ Lisdoonvarna
  • Black Head
  • Fanore
  • Ballyvaughan

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Breath Taking Views

As a Black Friday celebration, I took a day tour to Connemara to do a little site seeing!  Thanks to our tour guide and host, Joe I was able to see some breath taking views that one could only dream about. Our tour began at Croagh Patrick Mountain in Westport, Ireland. This is one of the most famous mountains to climb in West Ireland.  People that seek adventure and want to see incridable scenery would love climbing Croagh Patrick under the right conditions of weather.  The climb usually takes people about four hours.  Therefore, it would normally take two hours to climb to the top and two hours to climb down. Below are some pictures from the bottom of Croagh Patrick Mountain.

Along our tour we visited the beautiful Kylemore Abby Castle and viewed the Atlantic Ocean from several different points of interest.  I was even able to visit the location of the famous American Movie "Leap Year."  During our tour we were able to stop at different places along the countryside and take pictures of the landscape.  Our tour guide also showed other student teachers and I some unusual churches that had eccentric architecture. Throughout the tour, our host described the history behind the different points of interest and the scenery.  The exposure to the culture, history and points of interest in the Connemara area as well as the surrounding cities was a meaningful experience that I will always treasure. Below are pictures are some of the beautiful views I had the opportunity to see.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What Are You Thankful For?

During the fourth Thursday in November we celebrate Thanksgiving in America.  This is the time we spend with the people closest to us such as our friends and family.  We also spend this time eating a nice meal together and engaging in different family traditions.  Even though we were unable to be with our friends and families for Thanksgiving, the faculty at the Galescoil school made us feel right at home.  They had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal to celebrate our holiday just as we would at home. Many of the faculty and students wished us a Happy Thanksgiving throughout the day.  They even honored us by flying two American flags outside the school along side the flag of Ireland.

The other student teachers and I took this opportunity to teach about Thanksgiving.  Together we taught the history and traditions within the lessons we created.  The principal allowed us to travel around to each grade to teach about the American holiday utilizing different visual aids, examples and explanations.  We made a couple different powerpoint presentations appropriate for each grade level.  For example, the students in the lower grade levels were provided with a presentation that only contained pictures and the upper grade levels were exposed to pictures as well as a significant amount of text.  The fourth, fifth and sixth grade students had more background knowledge of the Thanksgiving holiday.  In return the students had many questions that were unanswered regarding the holiday and American traditions.  The students were very appreciative of the time we spent teaching them about the holiday and the projects we taught them to make as apart of our lessons.

The pictures above show the wonderful Thanksgiving art projects the students completed last week following our lessons.  The fourth class created the turkey hands shown above and the second class created mosaic corn.  Turkey is iconic to Thanksgiving and the corn is used to decorate during the fall holidays.  I assisted the other student teachers to help the students create their very own turkey hand.  The fourth class students had a desire to show their gratitude for the time we spent with them by painting the American flag behind their turkey hands.

 I also created two small art projects that allowed students to show their creativity.  The day before Thanksgiving I gave the second class students a small Thanksgiving booklet that described the events leading up to the holiday.  I used the small booklet as a reference as I described the history of the Thanksgiving holiday.  After the lesson, the students had the opportunity to color the booklet.  My cooperating teacher created a bulletin board so that I could display the booklets in the hallway.

On Thanksgiving Day I described the things people would use to decorate with for the holiday.  I explained that dried corn is used as outdoor decorations and Fall center pieces for a table.  The students created a corn mosaic by coloring the stalk of the corn and then tearing pieces of construction paper to glue on the corn. This project was also displayed on the bulletin board, along with their Thanksgiving booklets.

This was an amazing opportunity to share the American culture just as the students have shared their Irish culture with me while attending the Galescoil school.  The students have expressed how much fun they had creating these Thanksgiving projects and learning about the American holiday.  I have never felt so welcome and thankful for the generosity they expressed while celebrating Thanksgiving.