14 October 2015

Italian education :: 28 :: differentiated learning, perhaps

I recently shared the subjects Young One will study during her first year of middle school. While there are a couple of unexpected differences compared to American middle school education (two foreign languages, technical drawing), most of the subjects are fairly familiar, on the surface, at least.

What is glaringly different, however, is the variation of the time! Not all subjects meet for the same amount of time each week. Check this out:

Italian: 6 hours 
Italian Grammar: 2 hours
Italian Literature: 4 hours (This is further subdivided in ways I don’t yet understand entirely.)
Mathematics: 4 hours
History / Geography: 4 hours (It isn't clear how these two will be divided.)
English: 3 hours
Science: 2 hours
Art: 2 hours
Technology / Technical Drawing: 2 hours (I have a sneaking suspicion that this will not include computers.)
Physical Education: 2 hours
French: 2 hours
General Music: 2 hours 
Flute & Music Theory: 2 hours *
Orchestra & Music Theory: 1 hour *
Religion: 1 hour
* These three hours of music are extra for those students enrolled in the music section. 

And what do we think about that differentiation?
PURE GENIUS.


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

30 September 2015

italian education :: 27 :: hello! middle school

Hello.
Anybody out there?

Young One has transitioned to a local public Italian scuola secondaria primo grado or middle school where she is enrolled in a music-specific section, which means that in addition to all of the subjects of the regular sixth grader, she will also study music, intensively.

It's the perfect inspiration to get me back to this blog because, well, it's a bit different.

The first most interesting thing about all of this is the number of subjects and teachers my sixth grader encounters each and every week. She attends school five days a week, each day with a completely different combination/schedule of courses.

1. Italian Grammar and Literature
2. History
3. Geography
4. Mathematics
5. Science
6. Art
7. Music
8. Physical Education
9. French
10. English
11. Religion
12. Technical Drawing
13. Flute / Music Theory
14. Orchestra

Most notable about this is that the child has TWELVE teachers...plus a couple of extra music ones that may or may not work with her from time-to-time.

So far, so good.

Have a nice day!
xoxo
Dana

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

01 June 2015

present participle | may 2015

I'm jumping on the monthly "present participle list" bandwagon this year, partly because I'm excited that there are people who can identify present participles and partly because I'm hoping it will end this blogging break I seem to have permanently taken. 

This is what we've been up to in May 2015...only one present participle needed:

SURVIVING our crazy month of May, by the numbers:

Six performances of Aladdin Jr. the kiddo's debut performance in a musical. (I am so damn proud of that girl.)
One mother visiting. 
Four nights in Paris. 
One pea festival.
Two old friends visiting from Rhode Island.
One huge project deadline met.
One first talent show completed. 
Two extra kiddos for a week.
One fantastic piano recital. (Three-and-a-half years of lessons is looking good!)
Countless hours of flat picking guitar practice.
Two even older friends visiting from Florida.
One dozen oysters.
One missed book club night. (The Round House by Louise Erdrich. Loved it.)
One new car battery.
One cherry festival.
Eight tomato plants thriving.
One cruise on the Seine River, one cruise on Lake Garda.
Two wineries, one day.
One surprise visit from a father.
One week-long birthday celebration for the kiddo. 
Four dozen cupcakes, plus five dozen more.
Ten loads of laundry waiting.
281,197 steps.

Twelve more days until summer break.

Too many bottles of wine...how else do you expect we could make it through?!








01 May 2015

present participle | april 2015

I'm jumping on the monthly "present participle list" bandwagon this year, partly because I'm excited that there are people who can identify present participles and partly because I'm hoping it will end this blogging break I seem to have permanently taken. 

This is what we've been up to in April 2015:

DOWNLOADING new-to-me podcasts. I go through phases and stages with podcasts, and right now I am hot on them. A new-to-me one this month that I am thoroughly enjoying is Radio Lab. (Thanks, Lucia!) Have you listened in yet? The most recent one I listened to had me sobbing while out on my walk, but they aren't all so emotional. They do, however, make me think. I like that.

LISTENING to this classic album: Ella and Satchmo. I mean, really, do I ever need anything else if I have this? 

REVELING in the turntable (that's been sitting in the garage) that is now set up in our living room. We are loving the vinyl, baby! Vinyl, as in records.  Did you know that it is possible to buy newly-pressed records? Well, it is. Richard is quickly developing a (habit) collection.

IMBIDING. The cocktail du jour for sipping while we spin the vinyl: the Negroni. Another thing new to us, inspired by Instagramming peeps in Rome. Simple & strong.

TRAVELING to another European capital: Zagreb. We went because we were curious and because we all had time off simultaneously. We especially enjoyed the chance to stay at this lovely hotel and the opportunity to just take a break.

WALKING daily again. Spring in these parts is pretty good at inspiring that. 

CULTIVATING our small patch of this earth. The veggie "crop" (Ha! tomatoes, zucchini & herbs)  is in the ground and the potted flowers on our patio are many. I do enjoy this activity that has become our ritual to welcome the summer.

CRUISING with the scooters. We are certainly fair weather scooter riders, and it's finally (sort of) warm enough to put the scooters on the road again. I am still having fun with the VicenzaViaVespa Instagram account, though I'm not posting as frequently as I'd like. We went on what Young One deemed "an epic ride" and headed over to the Colli Euganei  recently. Again, Veneto is just lovely, folks.

ANTICIPATING the cherries and peas. It's is just about that time. Also looking forward to the arrival of my mother in 10 days. She will be with us for an entire month!









11 April 2015

(Easter) weekend break | zagreb, croatia


Zagreb, Croatia



We reached the capital city via car in about four hours from our home in northern Italy.





Generally, when we travel, we go for budget accommodations, usually opting for apartments over hotels, even though we are only three. It just makes more sense for our lifestyle. 

We've been mostly lucky with apartments across Europe, but there always seems to be one issue or another that we deal with, from no parking to restricted arrival times to bathrooms that aren't exactly as pictured to suspicious owners. But, you know...what are you going to do? It just comes with the territory of budget accommodations. We deal with it.

The travel agent in the family, I do always check the hotels, too, and for this trip, there was an offer we couldn't pass up: a five star hotel within our budget: Hotel Esplande. Oh, yes. Oh, YES!

My word.  Tell me:  Why must we travel any other way? It is so completely uncivilized, like air travel in the States. What a chore!





We also spend a lot of time in parks, coffee bars/caffes and churches. On this trip we also attended an Easter mass at the cathedral on the hill, found an incredibly cool "work out" public park just outside our hotel, and visited the weekly market at the same time the rest of the city's inhabitants were there procuring the Easter Sunday meal. (Ask me how much I enjoyed that?!)





Samobar, Croatia


This little light of mine will soon be eleven. She LOVED the five star treatment; I impressed upon her the value of an education once more.



Thoughts on Zagreb:

The dollar goes FAR in this city.
The city is impeccably clean.
Eat the strukli; it is not overrated.
We slept late, took naps, ambled here and there, discovering this and that. There are, however, tons of tips online to help you plan a full day or two of activities in this city.
Stay at the Esplanade Hotel.
Samobar, a quaint town about 30 minutes outside of Zagreb is worth a stop. It hailed the day we were there.
I would return.

Next trip: Paris, with Grandma.