Three Sonora Elementary teachers partner with the University of Arkansas to become 'Teacher Buddies' for the International School.. Before these teachers leave the United States and head to their respective homes, they visited Sonora. Please read more about our special visitors from our guest blogger, Mrs. Stephanie Wilson-Scott, 2nd grade.
On Thursday, October 2nd International Teachers came to visit Sonora Elementary, specifically the 2nd grade classes of Mrs. Wilson-Scott, Mrs. Dellett and the 4th grade class of Mrs. Hampson. These teachers were from countries all over North Africa and the Middle East, including Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, and Lebanon. (thousands of miles away from where they are having the Ebola crisis!) These teachers have been in the US for three weeks at an intensive English and American Cultural training class funded by the US State Department. They are teachers of English and American Culture in their own countries.
They came into 2nd grade just as we were starting our Science Experiment, we were observing Gobstoppers,in a dish of water, to see what they would do. We first talked about the items we had to mix and predicted what they thought might happen. Then after putting the candies in the dishes the colors (sugar) dissolves but instead of mixing with each other they stay on their own sides of the dish. When the students touch the mixture it is like there is a barrier keeping the items from mixing. It was a fascinating experiment! The kids were able to show the International teachers how they observe, how they write down their observations and they were able to see if their predictions came true or not.
After the experiment the students came to the carpet and were introduced to the teachers, including where they were from. Of course the teachers had different accents so the kids asked them many different questions. I had created a flipchart of the map of Africa and Middle East so we could locate where these countries were, and found come photos so we could compare and contrast our countries.
They showed the students how to write in Arabic . . . that you start on the right and continue to the left unlike English. There are also different characters to represent different sounds in their language. We learned how to say "Teacher", "Hello", and "My name is..." The students used an Arabic Alphabet poster to look at and write their names in Arabic.
We also talked about the differences in currency. One of the teachers, Mrs. Aaouatif, had some Moroccan dollars and coins that we were able to pass around. We found that she had enough for each students so she allowed them to keep the coins. Totally spontaneous!
We then took a class picture, finished our end of the day jobs, gathered our homework and dismissed. The International teachers walked with us to the buses to see how the students went home. They were really blown away with the school, but mostly with the students!