Ciao Friars! We are Kelsey and Julia, Elementary & Special Education majors here in Florence!
It is so hard to believe that the last few weeks of our time in Florence are already here! Our final day of practicum was on Monday…so sad to leave our students! Both of us taught in fifth grade English classes and the kids definitely could not have been any sweeter! For Julia’s last lesson, the students read Snowmen At Night by Caralyn Buehner and then completed a creative writing prompt about what they would do if they were a snowman that came to life at night. For Kelsey’s last lesson, the students learned about Possessives in English (‘s) while tying in Christmas and Caroling. The class had been practicing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “White Christmas” for the last couple weeks and were excited to show off to their English Professor Fracareta when she came in to observe. The goodbyes following the lesson were so bittersweet–students swarmed us in hugs and didn’t want us to leave! There were definitely lumps in our throats as we waved bye to our students.
As the semester comes to an end, we have realized how much this experience has taught us. We feel so much more confident teaching ELL students. Speaking slowly and clearly, providing visuals as well as multiple models, and differentiating are some of the tools I have added to my teacher tool belt. We are more confident with maintaining control of the class, getting defiant students to do their work and wanting to do their work, and teaching to the students not the class as a whole. There have been so many take-aways we have from this semester that we hope to carry with us throughout the rest of our teaching career. This experience has taught us how fun it is to teach ELL students. We know this will not be our last time working with ELLs. It has been amazing and we can’t wait to do it again sometime in the future. We will never forget this experience and will cherish every aspect that it has given us.
For our electives here, we both took a Mediterranean Diet class, complete with a cooking lab component. This class was really useful in teaching us more about the health benefits and ways to incorporate this diet into our everyday lives. The food was not too bad either 😉 We loved our professor (and chef!) Cecilia, who is pictured with us. This week we learned how to make couscous in our last cooking lab. It is definitely a recipe that we will try back at home in our own kitchens!
There is not a day that goes by where we are ceased to be amazed by Firenze! The city is so charming and unique. This time of year is really special. The entire city is decorated with sparkling Christmas lights, which illuminate the city at night. The view from our backyard is also incredible and continues to take our breath away… just the other day we saw a gorgeous full rainbow arching over the Synagogue, which is the view from our balcony.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere in Firenze! On top of all of the lights finally coming on, the Florence Christmas market opened on Wednesday. There is food from all around Europe and adorable little shops selling everything from soaps to ornaments to clothing. We are lucky enough to walk by the markets everyday when we go to classes. For our Italian class on Wednesday, we had to go to the market and interview an Italian with questions only in Italian. Definitely a little uncomfortable but such an experience. It is hard to walk into the market without smiling. It makes me feel like I’m at the North Pole! Only making it harder to accept the fact that we have to leave in two weeks.