Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Trip to Sandomierz

Through donations from volunteers, Global Volunteers helps to fund a field trip for the Cisie School students and those of us on the May team are lucky enough to accompany them. I was delighted when I found the trip would be to Sandomierz. This is a city that interests me and also one to which I've never been.

The day before the trip my 4th grade students were so excited about this trip. They asked, "Is Pani going?" Yes, Pani is going. They were so happy. And then during the break between lessons this appeared on the chalkboard in the room.

Working with these kids is just plain fun! I added the thank you.

Our field trip day began early with breakfast at 6:00 AM. At 6:30 our driver, one of the teachers from Cisie School, was at Reymontówka to pick us up. We went out the door with a bag lunch for what is called in Poland as second breakfast. 

The bus was coming from Siedlce where it was inspected by the police. This a regulation for a bus that is transporting children. About 7:05 one of my students came running from the gate and saying, "Autobus here, Hurrah!"  
We boarded the bus and drove about 90 minutes and stopped at a gas station. In Central Europe gas stations are the rest stops and must have clean toilets.

At the gas station I took pictures like the picture below. 

The next day I used these pictures for a lesson. "How do we say Stacja Paliw in English? What are the English words for this? " After this we continued south through beautiful countryside. 

Near the edge of Puławy we crossed the Vistula River and could easily see it was still at flood stage caused by heavy rains in southern Poland. Somewhere along this drive the students began singing. When they asked for Hokey-Pokey we even figured out a way to do that safely on a bus

About 10 K outside of Sandomierz we stopped again because regulations required that the bus driver must have a 30 minute rest. The countryside view in this area was beautiful and made it worth the stop.

At last we got to Sandomierz. The bus driver found a safe place for us to leave the bus. We entered the Sandomierz Old Town through the Opatówska Gate. 

Then we walked to the Town Hall and waited for a guide. When he found there were English speakers in the group, he went back to the office and got us a Tourist Guide in English. That proved to be very helpful. 

Our first venture was the Underground Tourist Route which went through the cellars and tunnels of the Old Town/rynek area. In alcoves there were special exhibits such as one about porcelain made by a nearby factory. 

Next we went into the Oleśnicki Family House. The city post office occupies part of the ground floor. The rest of the house is a museum. One museum area is interactive for kids and they really had fun here. 

 After having fun here we returned to the city gate. I elected not to climb the stairs to up 20 meters and some of my girls had made the same decision. 

 Now that it was 3:00 it was definitely time for obiad. For many of these kids it was the first visit to a restaurant other than McDonald's. 

 They were polite and quiet and acted like going to a fancy restaurant was an every day occurrence. After we were done eating we visited another very old house now holding a museum of religious artifacts and paintings. Then we walked out on a promenade to discuss the nearby castle. 

Throughout this trip, for some unknown reason, I started to understand more Polish and when the guide said, "Koniec" I was happy. It had been an interesting day but we'd been busy walking about since noon. 

We volunteers walked back to the rynek area and had an ice cream cone. The kids went to market area to buy toys and souvenirs. Then we were back on the bus about 6:00 PM. 

Near Puławy one of the teachers asked me if I remembered seeing a McDonald's along the route. No I didn't, but there is was right along the river. We had been so busy looking at the river in flood stage that we didn't notice the small shopping area along the river. Well, the kids definitely wanted a stop, so we did. 

 We got back to Cisie about 10:00 and then back to Reymontówka a few minutes later. Our supper was waiting for us. After that we crashed in bed for the next morning's classes were already beckoning.


A Busy Tuesday

My second teaching week in Poland was a busy one. Planning the lessons and working on the team journal kept me busy and I got quite behind on my personal blog.

It really started with a very busy Tuesday. I first taught my two classes at the Cisie School. Then Dorota picked up another team member and me to take us to another school for lessons. First we drove by the shop in Cisie which for many years has hosted a stork nest.

We were on our way to Starzła where we had been asked to do lessons for the 4th and 5th grade classes. This is a large school with classes through what we would call in the United States from kindergarten through junior high.

Looking down the hall I thought the lockers made an interesting picture.

Each class had 25 students so we divided them into two sections so that each of us had a smaller group. Our host teacher had asked us to talk about our families and our home town. The night before each of us had put together a power point with pictures we had on our computers or could get from the Internet. For my second lesson with the fifth graders we played a JINGO game. This is like bingo, but uses vocabulary words rather than numbers.

At the end of the lesson the students presented us with a wonderful thank you card.

Then we went out to the front steps for a photo.

Our next stop was the canteen for obiad.

It started with soup as is usual for obiad. And then was followed by a second plate.

Then we did one lesson for the 4th graders, repeating again the lesson about our families and home town. Here's the lovely thank you card from this group.

We took this group picture in the classroom.

I am seated in a chair at the start of the 2nd row.

Following this class the English teacher drove us back to Reymontówka. When she learned we had yet another lesson to teach at 4:00 that day, she said, "Today you had to take the pill." This is literal translation of a Polish idiom meaning having to do a big job all at one time. I've been trying to figure out ever since what is the American idiom that means quite the same. 

Yes we were off to Kotun for our lesson there with children at adults at the community center. Indeed it was a busy day.

Friday, May 23, 2014


Majówka is traditionally held at Reymontówka on the third Sunday of May. I was delighted to be here once again for this special celebration. This one was terrific. Majówka is a cultural celebration involving music and dance. In addition the wood carvers come with their work for sale.

The first performance was given by the Warszawianka group from Warsaw. This group of dancers travels with its own orchestra. Within about 30 seconds of the start of the dance performance we turned to each other and said, "We know a Cinderella story we see one." Dorota, the Poland country manager, later explained this dance and story is included in a presentation of Polish dances for it represents an allegory. In this case Cinderella represents Poland during the time of partition and the stepsisters are the countries who took over Poland. Yet Cinderella remains beautiful even though she must dress in rags.

Below we see Cinderella dreaming about going to the ball. Then the Fairy Godmother arrives and gives her the wish. 

Below is the end of a rousing dance.

 Next on the program was a group from Belarus, Chotislawianie.  

This was the first time I had seen dancing from this country and also the first time I have met people from this country.

Following the performance it was time for a break. Just then I spotted a woman I know from being at language camps. I found her group was singing in the early evening and made a point of being back for that. 

This group sang popular songs. 

All in all it was wonderful afternoon and evening.