Bulgaria - Back to Preps
Back to School...
It was with great pleasure that I stepped back into the Prep class at the English/German School Plovdiv this year.
I've been sitting in my office busy writing stuff all this last year and was getting a bit of cabin fever from the isolation, so something had to be done. With not a little concern about how much the students might have changed in the 5 years I've been absent, I went to ask the director if they would like me back on a part time basis. Thankfully they said yes, and I've been going back for a day's teaching once every two weeks.
I have to say that it's the best thing I could have done. I'm usually exhausted after the 6 classes (my colleagues do this everyday!), but am always thoroughly satisfied afterwards. The students are great, and they are as enthusiastic and clever as ever they were.
It's not always easy to arrange time which suits the teachers, which fits in with the time I have to spare, but one day every two weeks has been manageable.
Here's what we've been doing...
The colleagues in the 6 prep classes asked me to concentrate on the list of topics the students will be preparing for their end of year exams. With this lengthy list, I chose topics which I was interested in and which I knew I could find materials for, and also which had an element of content and language integration.
How much ice cream do you eat?
Ice cream data
(From the Science Across the World topic 'What did you eat?')
We started with eating and drinking habits and discussed the relationships between health and diet.
Of course, we started with ice cream, how much they eat and which countries they thought were the greatest consumers in Europe.
Why does Sweden eat so much ice cream? One colleague from Sweden confided in me that it must be because ice cream is a leisure food and makes us think of our holidays.
We also did a class on Ireland. We looked at famous Irish people, read a text about the life of Bono, and we sang a couple of Irish songs. Here's one of them.
Molly Malone (In Dublin’s fair city)
In Dublin's fair city, where the girls are so pretty
I first set my eyes on sweet Molloy Malone
She wheeled a wheelbarrow, through streets broad and narrow
Crying: Cockles and Mussels, Alive, Alive O
Alive, alive O, Alive, alive O
Crying, cockles and Mussels, Alive, alive O
She was a fishmonger, and sure ‘twas no wonder
For so were her Father and Mother before
And they all wheeled their barrows,
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying: Cockles and Mussels, Alive, alive O
She died of a fever, and no one to grieve her
And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone
Now her ghost wheels her barrow
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying: Cockles and Mussels, alive, alive O
(From Science Across the World topic 'What did you eat?')
We looked at disease. The students read a linear text and transferred the information from it into a diagram.
The diagram is a tree diagram on its side, which leads on to a series of flow diagrams.
There's a short clip of this task in action
. They read, they talk, they decide, they sort.
This is another topic from Science Across the World which is sadly no longer available from the website, but I still think it's very relevant today in Europe especially in Bulgaria. The reason for this is that statistics show that while generally speaking over the last 8 years there has been a fall in the number of deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents, in Bulgaria and a few other countries there has been a rise.
Georgi Asparuhov was killed when he crashed his car at high speed and there are many other famous Bulgarians who have been involved in similar accidents some accidents alcohol-related. We read about these tragic deaths and crashes and discussed how safe it actually is on the road in Bulgaria. There was an overwhelming consensus in the 6 groups that it is not safe.
My students all did a 'speed reaction test' which comes from the Road Safety topic of Science Across the World. This is no longer available on the programme website as an exchange topic, but you can download the old text for the topic from here - Road Safety.
The students had to catch a weighted card with markings for fractions of a second and a descriptor for each marking. Some were 'safe on the road', others needed to 'be careful on the road'.
This is a clip of the task in action
The EU has a scoreboard for safety on the roads
The document road death scoreboard.pdf is linked below.
There is also a lot of World Bank information for Bulgaria used in the PPT Road Safety linked below.
Road Safety Problem in Bulgaria
There is plenty of data here which shows that the situation in Bulgaria is getting worse. There are many factors which explain why this might be so, the point for me in my lesson was that the students are potentially in danger and they should be aware of the danger. Until drivers take more care, until the laws are observed, until people stop driving while under the influence of alcohol, the children have to take care of themselves.
Part of the text for this lesson can be found here below in the document - Road Safety Bulgaria.