Departure!

I am sitting at my desk in my room waiting for a cab driver to pick me up and take me to the airport.  Since I have nothing to do with my time, I decided to write a quick blog post!  I know family and friends are very anxious for my arrival and concerned with the flights as well.  Here is my departure information so that you are able to follow where I will be throughout the next 24 hours until I hit home.

Departure Information:

49 Milton Apartment – Cape Town Airport

Pick-up Time: 9:30 a.m.

Cape Town Airport – Johannesburg Airport

12:00 p.m. (Noon) – 14:00 p.m. (2:00 p.m.)

5 hour and 20 minute lay over in Johannesburg Airport.

Johannesburg Airport – Dakar

Dakar – JFK (Home!)

Departure at 19:20 p.m. (7:20 p.m.) – Landing time at 6:50 a.m. December 11 (I feel sorry for my parents having to get up that early! 😦 )

My flight number is SA 203 – South African Airways.  To follow my flight you can click on this link http://flightaware.com and type in my flight information!  You should be able to follow my entire flight (But only do this if you are really bored and have nothing else to do! or if you are concerned about my safe travels! 🙂 )

I hope you all have a wonderful day!  I will be spending most of it in airports/airplanes.  I can’t wait to see everyone in less than 24 hours!  Sad to say that this is going to be my last blog post from Cape Town, South Africa! 😦 Cheers!

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Last Hurrah!

So sad to say, but today was my last full day in Cape Town.  Instead of doing something very adventurous, I wanted to relax and enjoy the city one last time.  My roommate and I ventured to Clifton Beach for the day.  It is located right next to Camps Bay about 20 minutes from Observatory.  Here is a fun fact about Clifton Beach.  “Clifton was rated as one of the Top Ten Beaches by the cable and satellite television network Discovery Travel Channel in 2003 and 2004” (Discovery Travel Channel)  After several stairs we were able to see the gorgeous beach.  It was very secluded and peaceful.  We had a blast!  (We also got some color!)

Once we had enough time in the sun, my roommate and I walked around Camps Bay for a little bit.  At 7 o’clock my other roommates and friend met us for dinner.  We had a goodbye dinner for me at Ocean Blue.  It was a delicious seafood restaurant.  I ordered the seafood platter (Great variety of seafood), it was so delicious!  I even ate fish (Line Fish), it was actually really good!!  Now I am sitting in my apartment reflecting on my amazing journey in South Africa.  I can’t believe I am leaving tomorrow.  On a positive note, I am extremely excited to see my family, friends, and support system!  I am so excited to share my adventure with them!  And oh yeah…..I graduate in 5 days! 🙂

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Clifton Beach!

Clifton Beach!

Clifton Beach!  Wonderful view of Lion's Head.  (I hiked that mountain! :) )

Clifton Beach! Wonderful view of Lion’s Head. (I hiked that mountain! 🙂 )

Green Market Square

The Green Market Square is a Flea Market located on Burg Street in Cape Town.  Since I only have two more days left (Including today), I had to get all of my souvenir shopping done today.  It was set-up in a large square that consisted of several tents all having unique south african souvenirs in them.  Most of the tents sold the same items, it was all about finding the best/lowest deals.  If you enjoy bargaining for good deals this is the place for you to go!  I spent at least 3 hours at the Green Market Square and I wouldn’t allow myself to leave until I was finished with all of my souvenir shopping.  It was a very relaxing day.  

I am basically all packed and ready to leave Wednesday morning.  I decided to get everything ready and set to go so I am able to enjoy my last full day in Cape Town tomorrow.  My roommate and I are going to one of the beaches in the city.  It should be a very nice, warm, and enjoyable day at the beach!  I am not looking forward to the 30 degree weather and snow!!  

Sand sand sand …. EVERYWHERE!

It was my last weekend in Cape Town and I wanted to find something very adventure and unique to do.  I was researching different activities that I could do and I came across Sandboarding!  Sandboarding is exactly what it sounds like, snowboarding but in sand instead of snow.  Two friends and I ventured out to Atlantis (About 45-1 hours away from Observatory) to hit the dunes!  When we arrived and saw the view of the dunes, we were completely blown away.  It was so beautiful!

We all chose a board to use from our guide and immediately headed to the dunes.  Our guide explained to us how to wax our board and how often we must wax it (After each ride or every other time for light weights).  My friends and I stayed within two dunes and tried our best to master them before our time was over.  We were provided with about 3 hours on the dunes, which was plenty of time.  (Towards the end we were beginning to get very tired from the heat and walking in the sand)  On my last ride down the dunes I was able to make it all the way to the bottom without falling!  Please take a look at the pictures below!

Sandboarding!

Sandboarding!

Friends :)

Friends 🙂

The dunes!

The dunes!

The dunes!

The dunes!

Unbelievable!  Look at this view!

Unbelievable! Look at this view!

Woo!!  Sandboarding!!!

Woo!! Sandboarding!!!

Sandboarding!

Sandboarding!

Friends

Friends

The hardest goodbye…

On Friday I had to say goodbye to my first grade boys.  It was the day I wasn’t looking forward ever since I met them a little over a month ago.  This was a very special placement for me.  You know how most individuals despise waking up to go to work, school, or whatever it may be in the morning?  It wasn’t like that for me.  Every weekday I would wake up with a smile on my face ready and eager to get to school.  The best part was when the boys would run up to greet me in the mornings.  (It is the little things that you will never forget)  Since it was my last day of this placement and student teaching, I wanted to make sure I made it very special for my class.

When I come in Monday mornings the boys ask me, “Mr. Guignet!  What did you do this weekend?!”  (With very anxious little voices)  Of course I tell them what I did and they get so excited and ask for pictures.  I told them that on my last day I will share my adventures with them.  I created a PowerPoint that had pictures of every adventure (Activity I did) on it.  Before showing them the PowerPoint I had to give them a little snack to enjoy while going through the PowerPoint.  Since Mr. Guignet LOVES popcorn, he made mini bags of popcorn for his boys to munch on while he showed the different slides.  They loved all of the pictures and couldn’t believe all of the crazy activities I participated in.

After showing them the first PowerPoint on my journey through South Africa, I showed them a second one.  On the second PowerPoint I provided them with pictures about home.  The pictures consisted of my elementary school, location at home, sports/clubs I was a part of during my schooling, family, friends, etc.  I also took this time to answer any question they had about the United States of America.  Once I was finished going through the PowerPoints it was time to show my appreciation to my students and give them their little gifts.

Every day at least  5 boys would ask me to draw them pictures.  Since I am busy trying to help them learn and teach them it was difficult to find time to draw pictures for them.  I also couldn’t draw a picture for one boy and not another one!  (Have to be fair!)  As I was thinking of what I could give to them on the last day to thank them, I thought of the perfect idea.  I decided to draw each boy an american flag.  On the back of each students drawing is a personal message to them.  Hopefully they will keep the drawings forever and remember me every time they come across it.  (I even laminated them so they don’t get ruined!)  When I gave them their drawings/thank you cards they were thrilled and excited about what I wrote about each of them!

Thank you cards for my kiddos!  When they flipped them over they were thrilled to see what I wrote about them!

Thank you cards for my kiddos! When they flipped them over they were thrilled to see what I wrote about them!

Before leaving for my big adventure, my parents came up with an awesome idea.  They said to me, “Why don’t you give your stuents coins from America as a gift to them on the last day”.  I thought that was a brilliant idea and was so excited to finally be able to give each student their coins.  I termed this as a “Token(s) of appreciation” for all they have done for and taught me.  Each student recieved a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter.  A few boys came up to me and said, “When I visit America I am going to use these coins!”  I really hope each boy is able to make their way to the United States of America and experience my beautiful country just like I did with their country. 🙂

Coins!

Coins!

A few minutes were left in the day to say goodbye to my wonderful teacher, staff, and kiddos.  I was surprised with 24 very beautiful and special cards from each of my students.  These are the things in life that you will keep forever to remember such an amazing experience.  One of my boys surprised me with a box of chocolate and a very personal/special card.  It’s great receiving compliments from others but hearing them from the ones you taught is the best.  With only a few minutes left, we took some class photos outside.  These pictures are way to precious not to share with everyone.

My class!

My class!

SILLY FACES!!

SILLY FACES!!

Lovely gifts :)

Lovely gifts 🙂

My fantastic cooperating teacher. :)

My fantastic cooperating teacher. 🙂

Once I sad goodbye to my class (The hardest goodbye EVER) it was time to say goodbye to the staff and my cooperating teacher.  I went into the faculty room and was surprised with more gifts.  These gifts are very special and I will definitely keep them forever.  I received a Wynberg Boys Golf Shirt (Polo) and a tie with the school emblem on it.  The staff was so amazing and very helpful throughout my 7 weeks at the school.

I want to say a HUGE thank you to my phenomenal cooperating teacher, Mrs. Graham.  She allowed me to have the best student teaching experience ever.  If I wanted to try something new or had a fun idea in mind she was more than willing to let me try it out with the class.  She provided me with useful feedback on a daily basis, which led to helping me grow as an educator.  I have learned so much from her and her class.  I hope to see her again one day and share my teaching experiences/life with her in the near future!

Before coming to Cape Town, I wanted 2 questions to be answered.  Is teaching abroad what I am meant to do?  Am I ready for my own classroom?  On Friday I walked out with both of my questions answered.  Yes, teaching abroad is what I am meant to do.  Yes, I feel as though with the help of my class, cooperating teacher, and staff that I am fully ready and prepared to step into a classroom on my own.  Words cannot express how blessed and thankful I am for these past 7 weeks.  Unfortunately, I only have 2 more days here in South Africa, so it is time to go make the best of it!

End of the Year Events!

I’m sure you may be a little confused as to why it says, End of the Year Events.  In South Africa the primary schools (As well as all schools) finish school in December.  This is because December is that start of their Summer Holiday.  Where as in America we are heading into our Holiday (Christmas) break.  The past couple of days have been hectic at the Wynberg Boys Junior School (In a good way) preparing for these events!

Prize Giving!

Prize giving is exactly what it sounds like.  The students receive prizes (rewards, certificates, trophies) for all of their handwork and dedication throughout the school year.  Parents, family, and friends attended this event on Wednesday, November 26, 2014.  It was a beautiful event that lasted about an hour and a half.  All of the boy’s looked very sharp in their uniforms and we’re very excited for the event.  I was proud with how many awards they received!  They are brilliant kiddos!

The stage!

The stage!

Beautiful auditorium!

Beautiful auditorium!

My reserved seating! :p

My reserved seating! :p

Market Day!

Market Day is held once a year towards the end of the school year.  It is an event where the Grade 7 students are responsible for selling and/or re-selling items they bought, made, or already had.  For instance, they would sell food, drinks, candy, toys, etc.  The items that they already have consist of playstation.  They would charge the boy’s to play for a few minutes.  (Smart idea!  Every boy loves video games!)  This is an excellent event for the older boy’s pertaining to management and all of the responsibility that coincide with it.  It was also wonderful for the younger boy’s because they had to learn how to manage their money.  (They had to make sure they were getting the right change back!)  Market Day reminded me a lot of an event I and when I was in Middle School called, Middle School Mall.  It was an event where each student (Group of students) had to come up with a theme and sell different things they made.  (Of course I sold popcorn.  Yummy!)

It was definitely a fun and exciting week at the Wynberg Boys Junior School this week.  I am not looking for to leaving them next Friday. I hope everyone has an amazing weekend, I know I will!  Cheers!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Gobble Gobble!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

A few weeks ago it hit me that this Thanksgiving was going to be the first one away from home.  Thanksgiving is a very special holiday for my family and I.  It is a time to come together in laughter, joy, smiles, and thanks with your family.  I was thinking to myself… I need to make this Thanksgiving one to remember.  Since I am South Africa and Thanksgiving is an American holiday, I know my boys knew nothing about the holiday.  I talked with my cooperating teacher and asked if I could plan a special Thanksgiving lesson with the class.  She approved of my request and was very eager to see the result!  That being said I have been looking forward to this lesson for a few weeks and it finally arrived!  The way that I taught Thanksgiving was in 2 days.  On the first day (yesterday) I introduced the holiday and on the second day we celebrated Thanksgiving!

Day One:  

What is Thanksgiving?

Before getting to the fun part of the lesson (I think it is all fun! :p), I needed to give the class a basic understanding of Thanksgiving.  I was looking for various materials that contained formative information on the holiday.  I don’t get to read to the class often, so I decided to explore the school library.  I came across and excellent book titled, Highdays and Holidays.  Although it only had a little over a page of information on Thanksgiving, it did the job!  In the matter of a page, it was able to cover the common traditions and detailed background knowledge on what the holiday is and how it came about.

Highdays and Holidays

To make it a little more exciting for my kiddos, I showed them a video.  Along with the video was an assignment that I created for them to assess what they learned about Thanksgiving!  The video is titled, “The First Thanksgiving!”  Click here to view the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh_0t4EcsjE  In under 5 minutes the class learned the who, what, when, where, and how about Thanksgiving.  It just so happened that /wh/ was the digraph for the week and who, what, when, where, and how was also on the agenda for the week.  I was very ecstatic because the video fit perfectly with both the digraph and the 5 W’s.  Once the video was finished I had the class complete a worksheet on the video.  The worksheet consisted of the 5 W’s mentioned throughout the video.  I was very impressed with all of the detailed responses from each student.

Click here to view the worksheet: 5 W’s Worksheet

5 W's Worksheet!

5 W’s Worksheet!

Gobble Gobble!

I don’t know about you but when I hear Thanksgiving, the first thing that comes to mind is TURKEY.  I’m not sure if it’s because they are so delicious or how silly of a bird they are.  To start off the activity I sang a fun turkey song with the class.  It was a song that I used to sing as a young boy and it has stuck with me ever since.  Do you think you can guess the song?  Here’s a hint: Gobble gobble gobble!!

Turkey Song:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIUrxo2P5C0  (This version is a little slower then what I remember but my students loved it.  We went faster as the song went on and added in some fancy turkey moves!  My kiddos are just so silly!  I love it!

After singing the song, I taught the class a little bit about the importance of the turkey on Thanksgiving.  Our conversation then led to fun turkey activities.

First Activity:  If I were a TURKEY…

I wonder what it is like to be a turkey?  Well, my first graders can tell you what it’d be like if they were a turkey!  This activity is a creative writing piece that I had each student complete.  It did an excellent job of promoting their creativity.  The amount of words, sentences, and correct punctuation I received from each student was outstanding!  I was very proud of them!  🙂

If I were a Turkey...

WOW! Look at all of the detail in this writing!

My Thankful Turkey!

How do you make a turkey?  We made our own turkey using our hand!  Once again, this was one of my favorite holiday crafts as a child.  It is a very easy and fun activity.  Each student traced their hand on brown construction paper and selected four colored feathers for their turkey.  The instructions were to glue the feathers on the turkey and write four things they are thankful for on either the feathers or each individual finger (not thumb).  Super simple craft that captured their attention for quite some time!

I've been spelling my name wrong this whole time..... :p

I’ve been spelling my name wrong this whole time….. :p

Thankful Turkey Hand!!

Yesterday was a wonderful and extremely productive day in first grade!  The best part was that my kiddos thought we were done learning about Thanksgiving.  They had no idea what was in store for them today on Thanksgiving!

Day Two:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Let the festivities begin!  The Wynberg Boys Junior School had 24 visitors that came over on the Mayflower to say hello on this special holiday.  These visitors are also known as pilgrims!  I topped off the day with a paper pilgrim hat craft!

Pilgrim Hat

Materials:

The only necessary item for this activity was black, yellow, and white construction paper.

  • Black hat
  • Yellow buckle
  • White strap
  • Long black strap

I explained to the students what we were going to make.  I created a pilgrim hat to show them and for them to use as a guide when making their own.  Once each student glued all of the pieces on their pilgrim hat, I attached a long black strap.  I stapled the long black strap to the hat and taped it to fit all of my student’s head.

Pilgrim Hat!

Pilgrim Hat!

Place Mat 

Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with tons and tons of food.  In order to eat the food, it is important to know what you will need to eat the food and where it belong on the table (place mat).

Last year right before Thanksgiving break a professor that I had celebrated Thanksgiving with us.  The professor had us all make our own place mat.  On the place mat we had to find the correct order for our utensils, plate, napkin, and cup.  Once we found a place for all of your items we had to write one thing we were thankful for.  When we were finished we went around the classroom and shared what we were thankful for.  I loved this activity and I was really inspired to use it in my classroom one day.  Due to the fact that I am in another country and they are not familiar with this holiday, I took advantage of this activity and opportunity.

I created a PowerPoint that I used as a guidance when teaching the class how to set up a place mat.

Check it out!  Place Mat PowerPoint

After teaching my student’s how to set up a place mat, it was time to do it on their own!  I provided each student with a long blank piece of construction paper.  Each student was responsible for placing each item in the correct order on the place mat.  I told the class to color each individual item its own color.  (This is so they did not get confused)  When the order was checked by me they were told to write one thing they are thankful.  (I had them write it in the center of the plate so it was easy to find!)

Place Mat!

Teaching p

Teaching place mats!

Place Mat

Place Mat!

Thanksgiving Feast!

The table is set and we are ready for our feast!  I passed out a plate, cup, napkin, and utensils to my class.  They did so well matching each item to the illustrations they created on their individual place mats.  Little did they know that food was on its way.  Since Mr. Guignet adores his first grade class he wanted to spoil them with a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving Meal:

  • Turkey
    • Potatoes, Onions, Carrots, and Rosemary
  • Gravy
  • Stuffing
  • Sweetcorn
  • Apple Juice
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Special Ingredient
    • One of my students told me that I used a special ingredient in my food.  He told me that it is love.  He was 100% correct!

Before eating our meal I explained to them exactly how Thanksgiving is done with my family.  I had my class hold hands with both of the students next to them.  We went around the table and said one thing we are thankful for.  Once we were done I said a prayer to the class before we ate our scrumptious meal!!  The class LOVED the feast!  It was a huge success!  This is definitely a Thanksgiving that I will remember forever.

FEAST!!

Scooping out turkey for my class!

Scooping out turkey for my class!

Check out our table arrangement! They loved the set up! Too bad it’s already changed back to regular seating!! :p

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving isn’t complete without a classic Thanksgiving movie!  A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is a hit movie for young children to watch on Thanksgiving!  It is hilarious and teaches children the importance of being thankful.

I was able to find the movie on YouTube.  Here is the link!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ961y0VKEk

As Thanksgiving is slowly coming to an end, I want to say how thankful I am for my experience and for having such an amazing support system.  I have learned so much on my journey in a matter of weeks.  These next two weeks better go by very SLOW.  I don’t want to leave my schools and this spectacular country.  I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving!  I was able to FaceTime with both sides of my family today.  It wasn’t the same as being home with them, but it was as good as it’s going to get!  Have a wonderful rest of your holiday everyone!  Thank you for reading!

Gobble Gobble!

Mr. Guignet

Cable Car!

The one thing that all tourists do in Cape Town is the cable car.  Even though i’m not really a tourist, I had to do it!  A few friends and I took a cab into the city where we would go on the cable car.  The cable car reminded me a lot of a ski lift.  (Except way more people!)  It took us about 5 minutes to get to the top.  On our way to the top of the mountain we were able to get a sneak peak of the amazing view.  When we reached the top we were amazed at the beautiful view.  We made it up just in time to watch the sunset.  Life honestly doesn’t get any better than that.  During the sunset we had a mini photo shoot.  (With any amazing view and great friends you have to take advantage of those moments!)

Table Mountain

  • Flat-topped mountain
  • Significant tourist attraction (Told you!)
  • The mountain forms part of the Table Mountain National Park
  • Eateries are stationed at the top of the mountain.
  • One of the new 7 wonders of nature

Click on this link to find out more about the cable car ride!: http://www.tablemountain.net

<3

At the top!

At the top!

I'm on top of the world! :p

I’m on top of the world! :p

Modeling.

Modeling.

I wish I could look at this view forever.

I wish I could look at this view forever.

Snorkeling with SEALS!

Since the hike ended so early, I had time to spare in the afternoon.  I have heard many people give me recommendations on what to do with my time here in Cape Town.  Almost everyone I talked to told me to go snorkeling with seals.  I was able to book a slot with a few friends at 3:00 p.m. yesterday.  I was so excited!  Here I come seals!  The place where we went seal snorkeling is located in Hout Bay.  (Approximately 30 minutes from my apartment.)  When we arrived at our destination we immediately changed into our wetsuits and boarded the boat!  It was a very bumpy ride!  (It was a short ride so it wasn’t bad!  It was actually very enjoyable!)  After 10 minutes we were at seal island.  Literally.  We saw hundreds and hundreds and HUNDREDS of seals on top of each other, playing with each other, and relaxing on the tiny island!  As soon as the boatman anchored our boat we put on our fins, goggles, gloves, snorkel, and were ready to jump in with the seals!  I jumped into the water and began swimming towards the seals.  I will never forget looking under the water for the first time.  It was out of this world.  I saw so many seals, it was unbelievable.  They came very close to us!  After about an hour of seal snorkeling you begin to get very cold and are ready to get out of the water.  When I was back on the boat they dumped hot water in my wetsuit.  BEST FEELING EVER.  So far seal snorkeling is one of the highlights of my adventure in Cape Town!

Here are some pictures from our lovely day with seals!  I hope you love the pictures as much as I do! 🙂

 

Our "Changing Poncho's!"

Our “Changing Poncho’s!”

SMILE!!!! :)

SMILE!!!! 🙂

Miriam and I! :)

Miriam and I! 🙂

Seal Island!

Seal Island!

Woo!  Seals!

Woo! Seals!

Seal Island!

Seal Island!

Seal Island!

Seal Island!

SEAL!!

SEAL!!

So pretty!

So pretty!

Amazing.

Amazing.

SEAL!!

SEAL!!

So close!

So close!

I DID IT!!!

I DID IT!!!

YAY!  We had so much fun!  We didn't want to leave our seal friends!! :(

YAY! We had so much fun! We didn’t want to leave our seal friends!! 😦

We love SEALS!

Snorkeling! :)

Snorkeling! 🙂

Water Jump!

Water Jump!

Friends :)

Friends 🙂

Devil’s Peak!

Rise and shine!  The wake up call for our morning hike yesterday was at 6:15 a.m.!  We chose to take a cab into town early so we beat the crowds and the sun!  We arrived at the start of the trail at 7:15 a.m.  As soon as we reached the entrance we were ready to begin our hike!  The trail was uphill the majority of the time but it wasn’t that much of a challenge.  Once we got closer to the top it became steeper and we had no choice but to climb gigantic rocks to reach the top.  After about an hour and a half we made it to the top.  (We were not expecting to get to the top that quickly.)  We were a little disappointed with the view only because the fog was hiding it.  We were able to enjoy some time at the top of the peak climbing, jumping, and falling from rock to rock.  As time went by, it was time to head back down to the start of the trail.  A hike that was supposed to take us 6 hours only took us 3 hours.  What can we say…we are expert hikers! 🙂

General information about Devil’s Peak:

  • It is part of the mountainous backdrop to Cape Town, South Africa.
  • It is 3,281 feet high.
  • One of the major landmarks of Cape Town.
  • Originally referred to as Windberg (It was called this because of the great wind and dust exposure making it easier to climb during the wet, cold months.)
  • It lies on the slopes between Vredehoek and the Table Mountain National Park.

Please take a look at some of our pictures form the hike!

Look!

Look!

The beautiful view at the top! (Sarcasm!)

The beautiful view at the top! (Sarcasm!)

Line and Crysta! They did it! :)

Line and Crysta! They did it! 🙂

The beautiful view at the top! (Sarcasm!)

The beautiful view at the top! (Sarcasm!)

Halfway!

Halfway!

Halfway!

Halfway!

You can't climb to the top of a mountain without taking a selfie! :) #selfiesunday

You can’t climb to the top of a mountain without taking a selfie! 🙂 #selfiesunday

I did not take this picture.  I am posting this to show you what Devil's Peak looks like!  Not to shabby!

I did not take this picture. I am posting this to show you what Devil’s Peak looks like! Not to shabby!