Thursday and Friday last week I had the great privilege of teaching model lessons in Science and STEM. I had so much fun. I have missed teaching the past month and this was a great chance to get back to it. My 5th grade Science lesson was on the water cycle. We watched Flocabulary, read a book on GetEpic, and watched a song with actions. Students made sketchnotes to show their learning. Then we made up our own movements and made a water cycle bag to put up at home to watch the water cycle in action. The next day I had the same class in STEM so we discussed floods, a common occurrence in DaNang and Miami. We learned about flood walls from Brainpop and GetEpic, then we tried to make a flood wall. I had dug up sand the night before at the beach for this and I also gave them supplies like sticks, cotton pads, sponges, and plastic bags. It was interesting to see light bulbs go off with the different materials. We tested and found both groups flood walls held initially, but some leakage happened after it sat.
I also taught a 2nd grade natural or man made product lesson where we learned about trees becoming paper and furniture. We learned sand can become glass and oil becomes plastic. We read a book, played Time to Climb on Nearpod, and drew pictures. The 4th grade STEM lesson focused on drag and air pressure. We used Brainpop to learn and then made parachutes our of what I found at our corner market. I had some felt like material, a round wax paper like thing with holes, yarn, 2 kinds of tape, paper, cups, straws, and sticks. The kids formed 2 groups and each group made 2 parachutes. We tested and then talked about what works vs what didn't work. It was so much fun!
This week I am in Hanoi. I got to visit Hanoi Westminster School today. It is a primary school and they have a uniquely designed building that just makes so much sense with their modular walls and open floor plan. I loved the art all over campus. Beautiful professional murals right beside kids artwork. They have magnetic walls so kids' work can be displayed using magnetics. No need for tape or sticky putty! I also loved their storage system in the STEM lab.
I was able to see the 1st grade STEM lesson. Students danced and sang about shapes, then they used skewers to make shapes and structures. Their goal was to make a structure sturdy enough to hold a storage box. It was interesting to see how every group started out differently. Some were concerned about perfecting their clay ball that were fasteners. Some just jumped into the building. Others made squares and then connected. There were 2 groups that met the challenge and held the box. They each had different methods of building. One used triangles and one used square with support beams. All students at the end could discuss and explain what went well for them and what they needed to work on, so really everyone was successful!
All of the classes I have visited have been full of hardworking and excited learners and that makes watching them a joy!
I spoke with my advisor tonight. He always makes me feel like I have my stuff together. He thinks I am on a good track and likes my plans. Yea!
Friday afternoon we hopped a plane to Hanoi, a short 1 hour 10 min flight north from DaNang. We arrived to a bustling city full of people and vehicles. While it is a beautiful place, I am so happy we were placed in DaNang where there are less people and traffic...even though it certainly seems like a lot.
We are staying in the Old Quarter. It is a busy area with shops, restaurants, and lots of people. We have seen many backpackers coming through. There are many hostels and homestays here that cater to the wanderers. We have seen folks from all over the world and met some very kind people from Germany, Australia, and more.
We have walked and toured much of the city. We did a Jeep Tour, where they use old army jeeps to show you around. I like having tour guides show us around first so we can learn about the history of the area and some cool hidden spots. We met up at the Hidden Gem coffeeshop and had a fabulous Butterfly Pea Flower drink and so much food! We got to climb the Vietnam Eiffel Tower… a train trestle made in 1902 by the same designer as the Eiffel Tower. We saw different neighborhoods and historical areas, and had the best coconut ice cream. And we got to have a drink at Train Street. A little too close for comfort for me, but it was cool!
Another part of the tour took us to a fresh market. Our guide told us people in Vietnam want to only eat fresh foods and know where their food comes from. The people who live in the neighborhood go twice a day to get their food. There are live ducks, chickens, pigeons, snails, fish and other seafood. When you buy, the vendors kill and clean the meat for you. I am used to getting my food at the grocery store without a face. It was interesting and I am glad I was able to see it in person, but I couldn't pick my meat out like that. I ordered duck once at Saskatoon (wild game restaurant in Greenville). When they played it in front of me my wonderful diddy quacked at me and I couldn't eat it. I cried when I found out my burger Aunt Jackie made was from a deer…it might have been Bambie's grandchild.
We also got tickets for the Hop On Hop Off bus. This is an economical way to get around the city's historic places you want to visit. You pay about $7 and get a day pass. Unfortunately the military museum was closed Monday so we missed that, but did get to see the Citadel, Pagoda, and a few other places. Unlike when I went to Charmeston with Uncle Ed and Viv, we actually hopped on and off quite a bit. Viv and Une Ed just wanted to ride into Charleston and then walk everywhere. In July … in Charleston, SC…I will never forget that adventure for sure. Uncle Ed's birthday is coming up soon. I got a card all ready to send before we left. And somehow forgot and it came to Vietnam. I took a picture of it and sent it to Viv so she can show him. Best laid plans...
Before I came over I asked Tova Yemin, my wonderful colleague at Hillel, if there were any Jewish communities in Vietnam and she found one in Hanoi. I looked it up when we arrived and they have a restaurant, so we went over for dinner. I told the Rabbi where I was from and he was happy to have us. We met a couple from Tel Aviv who came for dinner, too. I didn't play Jewish Geography, but should have. I am sure that we would have eventually found people in common. Everybody knows somebody who knows Tova!
My friend Becky messaged me and gave us a recommendation from her Sister in law to try Pizza 4P. We had a delicious lunch from there and a delectable lava cake. We have discovered they have a few locations in DaNang as well so we will be trying them again!
When I was observing a STEM class back in DaNang I saw kids making marionettes and a teacher told me about the traditional water puppet show. I was able to get tickets to the theater here. It was absolutely amazing to watch. Listening to the native instruments and singers, watching the puppets, and hearing the stories was magical. From my teenage days back in Pickens I remember doing puppet shows with our youth group. That was hard enough without having to stand in water to do all the work. After the water puppets we went out to find a festival happening. We walked around and saw many traditional foods, crafts, and performances.
I somehow managed to tweak my knee Friday between teaching, the plane ride and getting around Hanoi. We went to the pharmacy and between my limited Vietnamese, a few charades, and Google Translate i was able to get Tramadol and Tiger Balm. Konstantin has not enjoyed the smell of Tiger Balm, but it helps. I wish I had my heating pad but it kinda exploded when we tried to use it back in DaNang. Voltage is very tricky.
We have a few more days in Hanoi before heading to Singapore! Friday I am sharing STEM lesson planning ideas with education students at Hanoi University and visiting a high school in the area! So much learning and so much fun!