A collection of thoughts, pictures, and videos of my global education journey.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Farewell to Zaporizhzhya

Presenting the flag to the Lyceum

Yesterday was our last day in Zaporizhzhya.  We have made many friends and have had a wonderful time.  The warmth of the people and the way that they made us feel so special was something that I will never forget.  So, thanks to Lydia our wonderful host, her husband Sergie, the Zaporizhzhya Classical Lyceum staff , and the students who included us in their lives for our visit.

We had the honor of attending the end of year concert and award ceremony .  The talent of the students is amazing!  It is very evident that both the students and teachers have worked very hard.  There was dancing, singing, and instrumental music. 

Sara made a few remarks and presented a bouquet of balloon flowers.  I made a few remarks and presented the U.S. flag to the school.  It was a very special moment that I will always treasure.

After the concert, Sara and I boarded the overnight train to Kyiv.  It was bumby, loud, and ho,t so we didn't sleep very much.  I am back in the hotel in Kyiv.  It is 7:00 am and I have meetings from 11:00 to 6:00, dinner, and then we leave for the airport at 2:00 am.  So...no sleeping today or tonight!  Maybe I will sleep on the plane! 

Looking forward to seeing everyone soon!  Goodbye Ukraine!!

Sara with her balloons, me, and Lydia

Students playing traditional instruments

A traditonal dance

The bandura


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Computer Is Back!!

The computer is working again!  All I did was rock the button instead of pushing the button.......who knows!  Anyway, I am glad that I will be able to post. 

I am adding a few more pictures from yesterday.  They are from the schools that we visited and students that say hello!

Question to the students:  Was Ukraine occupied by Germany during WWII?  What was the "Great Famine"?
Helen, the school principal, Lydia, our cooperating teacher
and Sara
A special needs student
SO sweet and funny!

A Cossack Warrior from the play

Hugs and hellos!

Because I am having difficulty with the commuter (it has gone haywire!) I am going to combine several things into one post.

Yesterday ws another very interesting day.  We spent the morning at a school for students with disabilities. They attend a separate school and are usually diagnosed early in life. Sometimes they are not seen until they go to Form 1 at the age of six or seven.  Most of the students with special needs are day students, but a few of them actually live at the school.  They go home once a week to see family and take a bath.  There are no facilities to bathe the students at the school.  All of the students seem happy and well cared for and the teachers are loving and have great lessons.  It seems strange that they do not come to a general education school like we are used to in our country but they are receiving services in an alternate setting.

We also visited a school that has a focus on English.  The students must take exams to enter and maintain grades to remain.  They are highly motivated, hard working, and dream of college and good jobs. They were very curious about American students and asked many questions and all hope to visit our country some day!

In the evening, we attended a play in Russian about a fictional character called Mamai.  He was separated from his family as a child by Turkish invaders.  His mother was killed and his brother was held by the Turks and became a Muslim and Turkish warrior.  In the end, they fought and killed each other before they came to realize that they were brothers.  Very sad!!  There is also a real warrior from the Cossacks called Mamai. This is a picture of me standing with a statue of Mamai!

Tomorrow we will see a concert of the local symphony in the morning and the school's end of year concert in the afternoon.  The Principal has asked that we talk about our experience at the school and I will be presenting a U.S. flag to the school.  After the concert, Sara and I will board the overnight train back to Kyiv for a day of meetings and a 2:00 am flight home.  I will try to post again from Kyiv but I am having to borrow a computer so it might be difficult.  So...if I do not post again, I will see you on Monday!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A collection of random thoughts and pictures!

I just thought that I would post some pictures that I liked that there had not been time for in the other posts.  So here you go....just some sights from Ukraine!

We are visiting a school for special needs students this morning, a school that specializes in English this afternoon, and then attending a play this evening.  So.....more later tonight, or for you all, a post for tomorrow!!

Question for the students:  What does the colors of the Ukrainian flag stand for?  Remember...the first student who sends me a comment with the correct answer will get a souvenir!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Learning from each other!

Our Ukrainian Colleagues

We spent the morning exchanging information with the students. The topic was traditional holidays.  They would present a Ukrainian holiday and then we would present an American holiday.  It was great to see the similarities.  They always centered around family and friends, and quite often food!!  Many stayed after class to talk with us and ask more questions.  They are very curious about our lives in the states and are anxious to get to know us and our students.  I am really hoping that the letters that will be shared because of this experience will just be the start of a long term connection between our students!!

The school cafeteria is used by students as they are free.  There is no set lunch time, they go when they have a break!!  They have a few tables but most carry the food back to class or into the hallways to eat!

Questions for my students:  What are the major religions in Ukraine and what are the percent of the population follows them?  Souvenir to the one who answers in a comment first!!

School Cafeteria

A Ukrainian Student
Presentation on Christmas!
School Cafeteria

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Weekend of Sightseeing

Lydia and her husband Sergei took us on a day long adventure on Saturday to one of Zaporizhzhya's most famous sites.  It is an island called Khortytsya Island in the middle of the Dnieper River that has a long history of settlement and conflict.  The first people to settle were the Sich.  They were called the Sich because of the way that they sharpened wood into a point.  The island is also famous as a defensive location for the Cossacks and was the sight of many battles during WWII.  The Germans occupied Zaporizhzhya during the war and many soldiers were killed in the city's defense. 

We had a wonderful picnic lunch with vegetables and grilled chicken and potatoes.  We then took a walk to see the river and the rocks for which Zaporizhzhya is named.  We got turned around in the woods but found our way back out. 

On our walk to the river, Sergei suddenly said for us to stop.  Of course, for Sara and I he had to motion because he speaks no English.  He stopped us because their was a wild boar in the middle of the path up ahead of us.  It disappeared into the grass before we could get a picture of him....but he was hugh!!

Today we went with Lydia and her husband to her home village about 60 miles south of Zaporizhzhya.  Today was a special day in Ukraine that is similar to Memorial Day.  On this day, people go to the cemetery to lay flowers to honor their ancestor and relatives.  They also bring sweets to make sure that the dead have what they need in the afterlife.  Lydia brought artificial arrangements for her grandmother, mother, father, and brother.  She also brought bags of sweets for them.  The sweets are almost immediately snatched up by gypsies.  They even took Lydia's sweets for her relatives while she was standing there!! 

We then drove to a site that was also visited by the Dalia Lama!  It was an area with ancient rocks that may be as old as 20th century B.C.E.!!  We climbed all over the rocks looking for petroglyphs but didn't find any.  Lydia provided another picnic and we returned to Zaporizhzhya with a stop at a chocolate shop!!

Questions to the students:  What does Zaporizhzhya mean?  What are petroglyphs?  Souvenirs to the first to tell me!!

Map of Khortytsya