Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Walking Companion

A Saturday or two ago, I decided to go on a day hike towards the back of the National Park. In the back section there is an old mansion called Muckross, two lakes and the Torc waterfall. The hike takes about an hour to reach the back area, so its too far for me to go during my wanderings after school during the week. 

On my way out of town for my adventure, I saw a dog wandering around.

 he came up to me and I petted him for a bit.I noticed he didn't have a collar but seemed in good shape. I've learned that some of the local's dogs wander during the day and then find their way back home at night. I started to walk on but I noticed he was following me. 
He ended up joining me for the whole hike. He would walk far ahead but turn around ever so often to make sure I was still there.
 We kindly  looked after each other. He would wait while I took a picture and I would wait while he ran up a side trail. A few times I thought he was going to run off but he always stuck with me. He never barked once, he would say hello to the people and dogs going by but then keeping trotting on. 

We made it all the way to the Torc waterfall. 

It's absolutely beautiful, the waterfall flows down for half a mile to the nearest river. All the rocks were covered with bright green moss. I couldn't get over how vibrant the colors were. 

I was exhausted by the time we got there so I sat on a rock at the bottom of the falls. To my surprise my walking companion joined me. 

It was calming sitting next to the falling water, smelling the wet moss and petting my new friend.
After resting a bit, we headed back towards town. he gave me a heart attack a few times because he liked to       run across the road to investigate and then run back across.

 We both made it back though in one piece. I was curious about what he would do once we got back. I made sure we went back to the horse carriage area where we met. he followed me for a bit longer but then started wandering elsewhere. I asked one of the carriage drivers if they had seem him before or knew who he belonged to. The driver said that the dog's name is Oscar Wilde and he wanders around during the day and goes home at night.

It makes me wonder what other adventures Oscar Wilde has been on if he was willing to walk with me on my adventure. And if his owner even knows them.

I enjoyed having a walking partner and he definitely made my day much better. Perhaps I'll have to write a children's story one day about my walking companion, Oscar Wilde.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Some Lessons Learned and ITS HERE!!

Hi everyone! Sorry for the long break in writing. I've been learning a few good lessons the past week.

1. Hostel floors are hard, thus when you drop your computer from the top bunk bed.... it will probably break.

2. Alas, even adventurers get sick sometimes. I'm having to learn to have patience with myself which can be the hardest thing to do.

Now that I have learned these lessons and  have a fixed computer and good medicine, I am good for the second half of Ireland!

I have lots of adventures to put up, so for the next few days I'll be adding them on here. The first little bit I can't help but share tonight.
Guess what I saw walking down the street today?????

Spring is coming!
 Its so strange because February in Ohio means lots of snow but here its the beginning of spring. There is daffodils blooming everywhere and the sunshine was even poking out.

I'll try to mentally send it back to Ohio for everyone. but take heart, Spring is coming!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Why Technology is Fantastic

To counter act the previous blog, let me say that today went much better! Extra sunshine turned students frowns upside down and it made my day so much better seeing them smiling and laughing again. 

Why Technology is Fantastic!

So as a teacher I've know for awhile that technology is a great classroom tool and I've had some great experiences with them especially via the epic-ness of Jason and Carla Ellis. :)

In the past two weeks, I've seen some of the best examples of why teachers should use technology. 
The classroom I'm working with recently received a Smart-board and I-pad and they have open some major doors for the students.

Elia is one of my two boys in the class. He's very happy go lucky and is usually the one laughing. He tends to space out a lot and its hard to get him to focus on a project or activity you put in front of him.
BUT the moment you put him in the front of the Smart-board magic happens.  

He loves it so much and its helped his ability to focus and track moving objects. It always makes me smiling watching him use it.

Ellyson is one of my other students that has benefited. She's my energy ball that's always on the go. I'm lucky if  I can get her focused on something for 30 seconds. 

The Ipad has been fantastic for her.

The graphics on the Ipad catches her attention and she is able to focus on it much longer then a book. The fact that its portable means that it can go with her when shes hopping around too.

Best invention ever made is the hard rubber cover that is on it. the pad has been dropped, bounced and thrown and somehow still remains in one piece by the end of the day.

Seeing these kids interacting with technology is a big reminder to myself to never underestimate the use of technology in my own classrooms. 

The days fly by.

Hello everyone, I apologize for the delay in writing. There's been sunshine outside after school the past few days and I've already learned that you have to enjoy it while its here before it starts raining again. So I've been dunking in the hostel to drop off my bag and then headed on over to the trails in the park everyday after school. It's a good way to stretch my legs and clear my head from the day.

The last day or two has been a little rough at school because of sickness and winter blues, but hopefully with the extra sun things will get better!

New blog coming after school!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ring around the Kerry

I spent this weekend on the move! I was itching last week to wander around the country and national park so I did. On Sunday I went hiking/wandering in the park; I almost made it to the next town. :) 
BUT........Saturday was the greatest day ever! 

The hostel I'm staying at offers tours in the area including a day bus trip around the Ring of Kerry.

The Ring of  Kerry is a road path that circles around the sides of County Kerry. By the time your finished you see the vastly different landscapes that fill it.  

I lucked out and had a older gentleman as my tour guide that has traveled around the ring for years. He knew the best view points to stop at and the best stories about the passing villages. 
Many towns have harvest festivals in the fall but one of the villages has a very "unique" tradition. Each year the men of the town go into the mountains and catch a wild mountain goat. They give him a crown and make him the king of the town for three days as the towns people celebrate. At the end of the time the goat is released back in the wild, probably shaking his head at how odd people are. :)

Another town we passed through was a popular vacationing place for Charlie Chaplin and his family. Chaplin  loved Ireland and the ocean so he eventually bought a house there and became part of the community. The town has honored him by statue and plaque next to the sea as well as a local museum that displays local art depicting him. 

I totally understand how Chaplin felt, every stop we made was  breathtaking with valleys, mountains and rivers around every corner but the ocean and coast are by far the most heart-stopping.  

We stopped at Chaplin's seaside town for lunch. The moment I saw the ocean, I made a bee line to it. As many of you know, I love water and take any chance I can to play in it. The day was so incredibly beautiful. The sun was out and the sky was a bright blue. 

I climbed around on the rocks and before long had my shoes off and my jeans rolled up.

 I was so happy  and peaceful standing barefooted in the ocean with the wind blowing past me and only the sound of the tide and birds around me. I stopped worrying about everything and just breathed in the clean cool air.
I think I could have stayed there forever. 

 The last stop we made was at Lady's View that is located at the top part of Killarney's National Park. 

The story goes that Queen Victoria was visiting Ireland and requested that her ladies in waiting set up a picnic at the viewing point. 
Well, the Queen arrived early and the ladies didn't have everything prepared, so she screamed at them for several minutes in front of all the locals.  
In solidarity, the locals named  the view point after the ladies in waiting rather then in the Queens honor. 

The trip was amazing and I would definitely recommend it to anyone passing by. Its the best way to see this part of Ireland in a short amount of time.  
I took a lot of pictures and it was extremely hard to pick ones for the blog because each pic is so different. I uploaded them all online so definitely take a peek. The ones here barely scrape the surface. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

St. Bridget's Day

 Today was St. Bridget's Day in Ireland. St. Bridget is the patron saint of Ireland, she was known for helping others without asking for anything in return. The holiday isn't large like Christmas but its a bit like President's day.

 To celebrate the day, Primary schools (Elementary) create St. Bridget's Crosses out of reeds to honor her.

Its fairly easy and just requires folding the reeds over each other in a pattern. 

My class joined in and we helped each student make one to take home. 

We had Irish music playing on the smart board as they crafted and by the time we were done reeds were everywhere. :)  When I was helping Ellyson, ( the one sitting on my lap.) she enjoyed tangling and smashing the reeds between her fingers. Hers ended up being a little bit ragged when we finished it!

So, these are my kids :)
from left to right:
Laura, Evan, Elias, Ellyson, and Georgia.
Each very unique and amazing.

Each day, I'm getting the chance to know them better. Georgia is kindly in her own world and for most of the week, she hasn't been sure about what to think of me. Today I went with her to BrainGym. Its kindly a sensory program. We sit in a dark room with soft music and the aides do soft movements with the students like moving arms and rubbing pressure points. I worked with Georgia, at first she was very rigid but slowly she started to focus on me, and started to allow me to do more movements. I let her take the lead, and slowly we started working together. It was the most amazing feeling, it felt like we were connected and by the time we finished both she and I were completely relaxed. These little moments are why I love what I do. 

The "Loveliest" place in the World.

I've found it. I've found the loveliest place in the world, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. 

Killarney National Park

The park is set on the side of the town. The first time I went, I went through the golden gates entrance.  The path leads you down an amazing drive with trees lining both sides.  
The path seems to be popular for local residents and their dogs. (which of course I struggle through petting them :)

When you come around the curve of the path, this is what you see.....

The first time I saw it, I almost cried. I know it sounds silly but there is just something magnificent about the mountains. Their green from side to side; instead of sharp ledges, their as smooth as hills. I've been a few times now and not matter what the weather, they look amazing. 

 Being around them, makes you feel calm and its hard not to smile when your there.

As you walk around the edges of town they are always peeking out. I keep taking photos because they look different every time. 

I love Ireland.