I am sad that I have not had the chance to post anything recently. I have just been way to busy too sit down to type up a post. Plus, school has been all about assessments lately, so I have not done anything worth sharing.
Since I am off today for a Personal Day for one of my best friend's weddings, I figured I should sit down and at least try to scrounge together a 5 for Friday.
Compassion @ Hillsong Conference
Last weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer for Compassion at the Hillsong United Conference in New York City. I worked the table from 5:00-10:00 p.m. and was overwhelmed with excitement as tons and tons of people came up to sponsor children. Over the course of the 2 day conference, 318 children got sponsored!! How awesome is that?
The icing on the cake at the end of the night was that I got to meet Ben Fielding from Hillsong. He co-wrote "Mighty to Save" and many other popular worship songs.
I wrapped up the DRA this week and moved on to phonics assessments. The results are that I have a very spread out class. I definitely have some super slow sweeties that will need a lot of extra help, but I also have a handful of kiddos that are reading on second grade reading levels. Yikes!
I am really looking forward to starting reading groups, so I can differentiate and help all my firsties progress.
This week I finally assigned writing partners, so that students can begin working together to improve their stories. I was excited to introduce students to the TAG way of working with partners to help guide their conversations. I found this great idea on Pinterest and created my own chart, but forgot to take a picture.
For the past two weeks, while I have been DRAing, I have been slowly introducing students to the narrative elements. First, we talked about beginning, middle, and end and problem, events, solution. Then, we explored setting. Finally, we talked about characters. I started the lesson on characters by telling the students a "story" with no characters. They were all super confused and thought my story was terrible. I told them that I agreed with them and explained that my story was not good because it had no characters.
After that, we briefly defined characters and talked about some examples from our read alouds. For independent practice, the students read and then drew a picture and wrote some words to describe a character. Click the picture for a freebie.
Now, it's bittersweet to say that it is time for the last edition of my India journal. It has been a blessing to share my experiences and God's work with you over the past few months, but the end has arrived. I hope you enjoy!
Left My Heart In Hyderabad
Day Twelve: Bangle Street, Big Bazaar, and Sarah’s College Girls
The team got a late start today with breakfast scheduled for 9:00. Of course, we didn’t eat until 9:30. After eating, we enjoyed chai for the last time.
We left the hotel at 11:30 and drove to Bangle Street. Bangle Street is just what its name suggests: a street full of bangle shops. It sits near the huge Charminar gate to the city and it is part of a bustling area of shops and street vendors. Everywhere I looked there were colorful bangles, bright fruits and veggies, cones of henna etc. all contrasted by the black robes and veils of the Muslims.
Mary and Percy led us to a shop and then became our bargaining warriors. Since all the shopkeepers jacked up their prices the moment they saw white skin, they ended up going to different shops, bargaining down the price, and then coming back to get us to pay. While we stood around waiting, a beggar woman came up and touched us all, trying to get money. That was hard to handle. On one hand, I wanted to help her, but on the other, I know that giving her money is not the answer and probably would not help her at all in the long run. Plus, it would have created chaos. Tough to figure out what Jesus would do in these situations.
When it was time to leave, we filed out holding on to each other’s’ shoulders as we navigated through traffic. Back on the bus, we drove to Dominoes. I had a tasty chicken Alfredo and split a Butterscotch Mousse cake with W. As we ate, we listened to Mary tell us about the corrupt education system in India involving teachers who only show up two days a week, expensive fees etc. As a teacher, it’s so sad to hear about such a broken system. It also made me discouraged because in India only certain careers are considered respectable and worthwhile. Children are not encouraged to explore or to use their creative talents. Instead, they all feel pressured to be doctors, accountants, or engineers.
This conversation led to one about dowries and how girls feel pressured to pay tens of thousands of rupees for a husband. Percy informed me that the dowry concept stemmed from the Hindu idea that women are lower than men. Therefore, they must pay a dowry to equalize their status to get married. This is so insane to me. Between this practice and the remnants of the cast system, I feel like India is one of the darkest places on earth. However, the church is so alive and at work casting out the blackness of sin.
Rather than rushing through the palace, we opted to go straight to Pastor Sudhaker’s house to see the girls. Almost as soon as we got there, the girls began to dress us up in sarees. Usha started with me. She brought out a light blue, filmy saree with pinkish-purple flowers. It was beautiful! She is so sweet to always pick out my favorite color.
Putting on a saree involves an underskirt and a tight, cropped blouse. Then, there is a lot of tucking, folding, and wrapping. Usha was very gentle as she pinned the cloth around me. When she adorned me with a necklace, earrings, and a hair jewel, I felt like a queen. The bangles she tried to put on me were too small, but I got out the ones I bought. They matched perfectly! Usha said I must have dreamed about the saree so I knew which ones to buy. That made me smile. Once all of us were decked out like Indian princesses and Will was in his crazy awesome princely wear, we took TONS of pictures.
After dinner, we rushed to take off the sarees and to buy bags from the girls. Usha brought me a cerulean one that I LOVED!!! I pad WAY too much for I because the money was going to pay for the October camp. I also gave the rest of my rupees to the offering for Paul and Mary. They did so much for us. I could never fully repay them. They are two of the most sacrificial people I have ever met.
We gave the girls bangles and signed pictures as gifts. I got to give green bangles to Megha and blue to Usha. Then, we all hugged a million times and teared up as we said “goodbye.” I kept telling the girls that they were/are beautiful and loved by God and by us. God must have known that we needed some comic relief because when I walked out of the house and saw my shoes on the ground, I realized that I was still wearing the washroom shoes!! I’d had them on for quite a while and did not even realize it. All of the girls laughed, especially Pranitha. It eased the sadness a lot.
Back at the hotel, we packed, loaded up the bus, and then got on the road to the airport. It felt/feels surreal to be leaving. It was so hard to say goodbye to Paul and Mary. I know that I am leaving a part of my heart in Hyderabad and taking a part of Hyderabad with me in my heart.