May 13th was a very important day at Lindblom Maths and Science Academy. It was the day of World Language Festival 2009. Students of Arabic and Chinese language departments competed in poetry, songs, projects and dance showing Arabic and Chinese cultures. There were several judges from Arab and Chinese communities.
The Arabic language department had the most number of competitors and winners too.
Fortunately on that day there was a group of Saudi professors visiting the school and they were invited to see the festival activities. The Saudi professors were so glad to see that much interest towards Arabic language and culture. One of the professors gave a speech thanking the school and students for that wonderful event and told nice funny old story about one of the most famous Arab poets.
It was such a wonderful successful festival in its first year. I wish next year festival would be a greater success.
I still feel excited, happy, and quite satisfied about my presentation about my country Egypt, which I gave at my school for teachers in my school Lindblom Math and Science Academy, followed by lunch with Egyptian food. It was Professional Development day and the school put my presentation in the schedule with invitation for teachers to attend. About 30 teachers attended my presentation.
1- The presentation was about 40 minutes about Egypt Now. I started my presentation with showing two video clips about Egypt and tourist places, ancient and modern, in Egypt.
2-Then, there was another slide show about Alexandria Bibliotheca, which was built in 2003 as a revival for the ancient Alexandria Library, which was largest library in the ancient world.
3- Afterwards, it was my PowerPoint presentation about Modern Egypt. The presentation covered general information about location, government system, and education. Education in Egypt was the most important part in the PowerPoint presentation because it concerns teachers mostly.
4-then it was lunchtime, I ordered some Egyptian food from an Arab restaurant, and I cooked a dish at home. My colleagues liked the food especially the one I cook, (I was glad about that so I may be a Chef if I stopped teaching)
I was so happy when I heard their comments about the presentation; most of them said that they knew things they did not know before about Egypt, also their comments about the food.
I kindly asked my colleagues at Lindblom to transfer their new idea about Egypt to their students in their classes. Surely, we are proud of our ancient civilization but we have other civilization, which affected our history, besides our modern life and achievements in many fields. In fact April 10th will remain one of my happiest days here in Chicago.
I am working on preparing a series of presentations in the Arabic classes about Egypt covering many aspects of life and culture.
Marquette Elementary School
Yesterday, I had another invitation to give a presentation in Marquette Elementary School. I gave presentation in 4 classes of grade six for about 110 students. In addition, I met one class of them twice so I had two presentations. One was about “Arabic Food or What Arabs Eat” and the other “Ten Arab Countries”.
What do Arabs eat?!!
It was a PowerPoint presentation about Arab Food from Egypt and other Arab countries. In addition, students could learn some names of Arab dishes, drinks, and fruits. It was nice of the teacher to invite me to attend the international day in the school next month, and I promised to get some Egyptian food for the class. It was an interesting visit because the students were so excited.
This PowerPoint presentation was about 10 Arab countries. I put in my mind that the students are in 6th grade so I did not make it so detailed or long presentation. I talked about the flag, main landmarks and some information about the country. The presentation included Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Kuwait, Emirates, Morocco, and Tunis.
Although I still occasionally feel like a guest at Lindblom Math and Science Academy , I always think it is really a good school with experienced and highly qualified teachers in all departments. Therefore, it was not a surprise to me that about 15% of the school staff have attained NBCT (National Board Certified Teachers) so all the school staff was invited to attend the celebration to honor all NBCT of Chicago.
Of course, I would not have missed that chance and I confirmed my attendance to attend that celebration at Sheraton hotel in Chicago on 10March, which the mayor attended with all those involving NBCT.
Here is the detail of that event.
1. I was amazed at that large number of guests, may be over 1500 people.
2. I knew that certificate gives the teacher a better chance when applying to any school all over the U.S. About 1192 teachers in Chicago achieved NBCT. This year number is about 312. It was that is the highest number among other cities. ( I was so excited about that even so I still remember the numbers.
3. Honoring and celebrating teachers would always motivate them to perform better and motivate other teacher to achieve same progress or more.
4. I felt same feeling those honored teachers felt, they were happy, proud, and well appreciated by all others. I felt same because as a teacher I know what these moments mean and how they push teachers forward.
5. I met the teacher at my school that achieved NBCT this year and spent all the time with her and her family. Her family was so happy and proud of her; really, she is hardworking and experienced teacher. In addition, the family was so friendly with me and welcomed me to sit with them all the evening, asking about Egypt and my stay in Chicago. It was such a friendly warm evening talk.
6. I had little talks with other teachers and guests, same thing was in common among all guests happiness, feeling proud of that achievement whether they are teachers or their families.
I am so happy that I could have that chance to attend a celebration of honoring successful and hardworking teachers.
What An Interesting Month!!!!!!!!!!!
February is the most active and full of events month for me so far. I have given two presentations in two schools and visited another high school for observing. Besides, I observed an English class in my school.
That was the month news in brief; here is the news in detail.
Volta Elementary School
That was my first presentation in another school this month and I already talked about it in my last blog on February 9. But really it was such a nice and impressive experience for me.
Marquette Elementary School
That was my second presentation this month and my third presentation in other schools since I started my work here.
It was a different experience for many reasons:
The students were only sixth grade students.
Each class was for about 90 minutes because it was an irregular schedule at that school on that day so it was full of activities besides the PowerPoint presentation.
That plenty of time gave the chance for a discussion with students after the presentation and to answer students’ questions.
That also helped me to cover many points in my presentation. It covered most basic information about my country Egypt and life in Egypt. It covered location, population, religion, history landmarks, modern landmarks, food, sports, music, houses, and even famous TV programs for kids of same age as my audience.
Before the presentation, I had a short discussion with students about what they know about Egypt, what they do not know and want to know.
After the presentation, I had another feedback discussion about what they knew from the presentation about Egypt they did not know before. I was so impressed when I found them remember most information and even the Arabic names for the places because I tend to use and make the audience say and repeat the Arabic names for cities or places or foods. Really, it was so impressive. Besides we had a discussion what else they need to know so I can add in my future presentations in any other school.
Then it was time for fun. We sang together some famous Egyptian songs for kids, some of them were songs of Arabic alphabets and the others were funny songs for kids.
I feel lucky that I had these chances to go to other school to present my country and my culture, it make me feel I am really a cultural resource as much as possible. Maybe it’s because that has not been available yet in my school, unless in the Arabic classes only.
Lincoln Park High School
This month I had a very good chance with the help of my school to visit other classes in Lincoln Park High school. The head of world language department there really was so welcoming and prepared a good schedule for me. I visited 4 classes, one Arabic, one world history and 2 English classes. The history class was so interesting because students were starting a project about native American groups who lived here hundreds years ago. I enjoyed discussion with them about their projects and listened to very interesting information from them. In addition, the teacher invited me to help in a presentation about ancient Egypt. I hope it is soon.
The English Classes:
They were very interesting for me. I never forget that I am a teacher of English and always feel interested in teaching techniques of English as a second language. Both the classes were interesting especially the writing class. I really benefited a lot and enjoyed time there.
English class in my school
This full-scheduled month also had a class observation in my school. It was an English class with Ms Kelly Mest. It was very good writing skill lesson. It was interesting and I think I can use the same technique in my classes back to Egypt because it suits advanced level.
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