Thursday, April 21, 2016

Field Trip: University, Planetarium and the Zoo

"If a child is to keep his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in." Rachel Carson

          This past Monday my school went on a "excursia" or field trip to Skopje. We took the 6th and 8th graders from my school and the Central School.  We went to three places, the Faculty of Natural Sciences, the Skopje planetarium and the Skopje Zoo.  
          Since the capital is three hours from Ohrid we were up and out by 6am, no really we were I was amazed! After a brief stop for breakfast some of the kids were close to losing that breakfast but fortunately none did. 
Our ride for the day.
Selfies, bread and yogurt. 
All of the snow is finally gone and the leaves are out. 
"Ohhh teacher too much burek and yogurt."
          Our first stop was the science university, which a few of the math and physics teachers were alums. I was prepared for a long, boring lecture and was happily proven wrong. He was energetic, gave excellent examples and made some funny cracks about the kids only liking football.  He kept middle schoolers interested for an hour, no easy feat mind you. Lastly, he spoke clearly and slowly so I was able to follow along as well. 

Ladies shot in front of the University. 
Group shot.
Everyone's PUMPED for the lecture.
He showed some experiments with water refraction. 
Also, he showed how light can be focused. The kids enjoyed it.
          The planetarium was something the kids went into unsure about but left very impressed.  They absolutely loved it. Afterwards, they were telling me that the stars in America and here are the same but are different from the ones at their relatives house in Australia. It's a good thing I like astronomy because I fell asleep. Yup, the room was dark, warm and the guy spoke at 100mph. I'd been up since five and enjoyed my recharging siesta. 

          Next, we had lunch at the large department store, Vero. Everyone ate, shopped and hung out. It was pretty similar to how it was when I was in school. We kept an eye on the kids but let them roam free inside the store.  

One rule: No selfies in the streets kids!
          Following that we were off to the Skopje Zoo.  The kids could not get enough of the animals, the anaconda and lions were huge hits, but I couldn't get over how close the animals were. The ostrich's, camel and bison could have easily bitten or hit someone. 

Everyone was shocked by how tall the giraffe's were.
It took a moment but I finally explained that lemurs weren't monkeys.
I'd forgotten how active they are.
Ok that ostrich doesn't look very big but just wait.
Petar, in black, wasn't impressed but right after this I had to pull him away because the ostrich poked it's head between the bars! (Sometimes I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, "You never thank me!")
          Zoo's are a catch-22 for me. It's great the kids can go see animals they'd never get a chance to but the animals always seem unhappy. 

This 6th grade class was all about the tiger. 
Kliment, in yellow, is proudly presenting the tiger.
It was beautiful, I'd love to see one in the wild. (From a distance of course). 
There were some people out on a Monday besides all of us.
Martin, Kliment and Viktor. Martin and Viktor will be at the regional Spelling Bee this Saturday!
If you zoom in to the left of the kid in the blue shirt you'll see a chicken. Yup, chickens were just roaming around.

Viktor liked the smaller monkeys.
He's a single humped camel. Probably not very comfortable to ride. 
Candid student shot. 
Just a bison and peacock hanging out together. Funny thing was the peacock's buddies were all in their cages. 
          Some observations:  We teachers always use the same threats. I heard the classic, "Don't make me turn this bus around." Or, "Your mother and I are going to have a chat when we're back." My personal favorite though, "I don't care if you're not interested you better act like you're interested!" Julia had to accurately translate that for me cause I wasn't sure I'd heard it correctly. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. 
The 8th grade Lakocerej class. The boys and I have really developed a great rapport.
Selfies, pictures and sunglasses. 
          I enjoyed the entire day as I was able to chat with the kids outside of school and learn a lot more about them.  It's interesting to see who's chatty outside of class and who isn't.  The kids were well behaved, something not all volunteers have the luxury of saying. Obviously, we teachers enjoyed the precious few quiet moments we could get together.  Lastly, the entire day was well organized and fun but my brain was fried after it was all over.

One more group shot.*

*Photo Credit: Jovanka Jofka

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