25 March 2015

corner view

corner view :: imagination


 How do you decide what gets filed away for posterity and what gets tossed in the recycling bin? 


Corner View is a weekly appointment shared by people around the globe, an appointment started in the spring of 2009 by Jane in Spain and currently hosted by Francesca over at Fuori Borgo. We welcome you to join us.





19 March 2015

corner view

corner view :: looking up

March 2015 | Instagram Photo

There is a lot to be missed in this country should you not spend some of your time looking up. This striking modern glass chandelier is found in the lobby of the nhow Hotel in Milan.

Corner View is a weekly appointment shared by people around the globe, an appointment started in the spring of 2009 by Jane in Spain and currently hosted by Francesca over at Fuori Borgo. We welcome you to join us.


16 March 2015

italian education :: 26 :: going public

We are going public.

After nearly ten years of private institutions, from nido to asilo to scuola primaria, we have enrolled our pre-teen in a local public Italian middle school for next year.

Just a little anxiety about that in our family.
Just a little.
The kind that comes even with in-depth research that leads to confident decision making.
It's just how we roll. All of us.

We expect some changes...the first and most obvious striking contrast is the facility. She is moving from marble staircases and welcoming corridors filled with student art in an historic building to graffiti-stained parking spaces and grey, empty walls in a more "modern" space.  Secondly, we expect to encounter restricted access, a move from daily opportunities to chat with teachers to closed doors and strict conference schedules. A third obvious change is diversity...as in, there will finally be some. I am hoping that this diversity will be a positive experience as it is one major drive of our choice. I fear it as much as I welcome it.  I like controlling the environments she encounters and homogeneous settings often allow me to do so; I hope we are not headed down the wrong path.

I should probably mention that she, along with twenty-three classmates, was selected to be part of a class that engages in music at a more intense level than the other classes for the three years of middle school, essentially a special class within the school. As you might imagine, I like that...that little bit of homogeneity within the walls of diversity.

Really, maybe I AM the only one with anxiety over the type of institution. The kiddo is just worried about making friends in a new school...the same as any normal sixth grader.

I'm taking lots of deep breaths.


Disclaimer: I hate generalizations as much as you do, probably more. This is my limited experience at my fifth grader's tiny primary school lost in Northern Italy. If you have a different experience with this, please share!






11 March 2015

corner view

corner view :: something difficult

Instagram Photo | 10 March 2015

When I first met with the piano teacher in January, knowing a few things about me she expected that I had at least some knowledge of music: after all, most Americans experience some form of music education during the K-12 school years; after all, I am married to a music educator (who has changed career paths after nearly 25 years of teaching music in schools); after all, I do have a ten-year-old daughter who is proving to be quite musical; after all, I am an avid supporter of the arts; after all, I hail from Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans.

Nope. Nothing. Nada. Zero. I started from the beginning.

We are moving forward, slowly, but let me assure you that this is one of the most difficult endeavors I have undertaken... quite possibly, EVER. Maybe the only thing more difficult for me were the first several months of being a new mother. Maybe.

Making my fingers on both hands do what my eyes read and my mind commands, keeping it all in sync, while maintaining some type of beat or rhythm...oh, my.  I've read that challenging your mind as an adult wards off dementia. No chance of dementia here, my friends.

Best part?
I.L-O-V-E.it.

Corner View is a weekly appointment shared by people around the globe, an appointment started in the spring of 2009 by Jane in Spain and currently hosted by Francesca over at Fuori Borgo. We welcome you to join us.




10 March 2015

italian education :: 25 :: fifth grade update

:: Five years with the same teachers is getting old. Previous thoughts of the greatness of this "looping" are being reconsidered, strongly.

:: The fifth graders recently took a field trip to the mountains where they frolicked in the snow along with their teachers while wearing rented snow shoes. Young One's teacher opted out of that adventure. One child broke her arm but it was great fun otherwise. I know, I saw the pictures.

:: I've just had a great review of the Punic Wars thanks to the fifth grade curriculum. Or wait...did I ever learn about the Punic Wars?! I found some great videos by Extra Credits to reinforce the kiddo's learning & to introduce the associated English vocabulary.

:: Fifth graders in science are labeling the parts of the eye and ear. I haven't addressed the English versions because...well...I just haven't. I mean...she'll figure it out...or forever be cursed with the inability to recall the words "eardrum" or "cochlear." But she knows all about Hannibal and his elephants, in two languages.

:: I'm just thankful that there was no requirement to create a model or diorama or cereal box or poster-sized drawing or any other rendition of any of it. Hallelujah.

:: I had no idea that the recorder could be taken to such heights.

:: English as a foreign language is all about grammar rules and not anything about verbal communication. I kid you not. It is a broken system but it is not being ignored by leaders, as is evidenced with one reform after another, which is strikingly familiar to my American reality.

:: Sex education is being taught over a series of eight lessons from Don Somebody or Another. (Don = priest)   After the first lesson, Young One reported only that she already knew all of it. Phew! We've been working on that. You might remember that her introduction came from Sara, when Sara, too,  was in fifth grade. I love this series of books recommended by a friend, by the way.

:: Every middle school open house we attended included sharing standardized test scores. (We did not like the school with the best scores: too stuffy.) Young One has been doing test prep for the fifth grade version of this test throughout the year; it's the only time she is faced with multiple choice questions, and it's been a bit of a learning curve for her, this child who has grown up in a classroom where verbal interrogations are the preferred form of assessment.  The test is soon; kids in this region of Italy perform exceptionally well...or so I learned from those middle school visits.  Sigh: "My students aren't standardized."

:: I'm finally starting to see just a bit of that "Catholicism is the one and only true religion!" mentality from one of the adults in the school, likely my least favorite person. He is obviously not listening much to our beloved Pope Francis. Time to transition, no doubt!


Disclaimer: I hate generalizations as much as you do, probably more. This is my limited experience at my fifth grader's tiny primary school lost in Northern Italy. If you have a different experience with this, please share!