Sunday, February 14, 2016

Israel Day 3: Frankel and Begin

Today was our earliest day of the trip so far. The only other early day we have is Masada, when we will be hiking before sunrise.  Today we spent most of our time visiting the Frankel School (I'll add the link when I get to my computer at home) in Jerusalem. The school is a first through sixth grade facility serving about 250 pupils. There is also a pre-school and kindergarten on the grounds.

It was fascinating getting a glimpse into an Israeli school! We noticed right away that kids are kids, no matter where they live or what language they speak! The principal, Dalia, went out of her way to welcome us into her school. She has been the principal there for six years and she speaks of the children as if they were her own. Everyone we met was very nice and greeted us with a smile- the hello that transcends languages!

We first saw a third grade music class, before heading to a third grade language class. The principal explained that most children eat breakfast at five or six in the morning and so the school implemented a 15 minute brunch time at 9:00. From there, the students had a lesson that included a brief video, some partner work, and brief role playing or sorts. It was challenging for us to follow exactly what was happening as very few people spoke English!

From there, the kids had a 15 minute recess which gave us some time to speak with Dalia, and the school English teacher, Donna. First, I have to say, recess was so organized! It was as if the kids picked am activity location (the playground had 6-7 distinct zones) and stays there for the duration. After recess, Donna took us around to a few more classes, and as she is fluent in Enflish, she was able to explain ,ore of what was happening. 

We saw a group of fourth graders practice a song for English day- a day they spend learning about different countries and doing so nearly all in English- which was awesome, since we all were able to sing along with them! I mean who doesn't know Hello Goodbye by the Beatles?!  The kids were working on the first verse and sounded adorable.  After singing, Dalia gave us a tour of the grounds. They have a really neat courtyard that used to be a dumping ground for everything trash.  Last year, the kids took it upon themselves to clean it up and beautify it with handmade sculptures and art. It was quite creative!

Our last class visit of the day was a creative design class.  It was basically a combination of art and Makerspace at Hiklel. The kids, fifth graders, we're working on designing a new tea bag and tea cup.  They had sketches overflowing in their sketchbooks, not just for this project, but for many others they've done throughout the year!  Donna had one of the students who is strong in English explain what the students were doing. Super creative. 

Dalia took us, Donna, and two other teachers to the Begin museum after our time at the school. She treated us to a delicious dairy lunch before we parted, and began our tour of the Begin Museum. I've never xperinced museums like this before- both the Herzl and Begin both were video based, moving us from room to room where artifacts supported the video documentary surrounding Begin. 
Sounds like a long day, right?  Except it didn't end there! We wrapped the day with a visit to Mamilla for some (window) shopping a dinner. I was fairly good with my shopping- only bought three scarves, something I had hoped to find as I love the Hoodie brand and it seems to be an Israel brand.  Dinner found us at a steakhouse and sushi place where the food was delish but the service left a lot of room for growth!  I was happy to fall into bed after this adventurous day, and grateful that I finally slept through the night!

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