This morning I had the opportunity to Skype with 4 students from Germany. A few students were missing because they were preparing some dances for their Mardi Gras Carnival. Next time we meet the students are going to let me know about what their Mardi Gras Carnival is all about. I am interested to know if it is anything like Mardi Gras in New Orleans or if it is completely different.
The purpose of meeting with the specific group of students from Germany is to have authentic conversations to build up their English conversation skills. We are doing this through reading and talking about the book Bridge to Terabithia. Today’s session was the first session where we had the opportunity to talk about the setting and character development. The students were asked some basic recall questions and then we went a little bit deeper and started talking about visualizing.
Jess, the main character in the book, visualizes winning the big running race. Specifically he sees himself as crossing the finish line and having all of the 3rd graders cheer him on and treat him like a hero. This part of the book led us to a conversation about visualizing and how it can be a powerful tool for life.
I shared how visualizing helped me to start my company. One of the girls shared how she visualized and accomplished something big in her life. She plays two instruments, one instrument is the oboe, and the other instrument is a guitar. She pictured herself as being part of a local band and was chosen. This was a big accomplishment for her. I could tell that playing the instrument in this band made her heart sing.
In the session today we were able to talk about Germany’s version of football, and America’s version of football. And of course the topic of the Green Bay Packers came up. I was amazed to hear that these students had heard of the Super Bowl. I would have to say that I do not know anything about Soccer and would not be able to distinguish between the different teams in Europe. So, it was surprising to hear that they were familiar about the latest details on football here in America.
What an amazing experience to talk with these wonderful students from Germany. I also get the wonderful opportunity to get to know the students, learn about their culture. So, far I have come to the conclusion that the children in Germany are no different than the children here in the States. At one point in the book, one of Jess’s sisters is whining, so I asked the students if they have any brothers or sisters and if their sibling whines. One of the students said that her brother whines when it is time to go to bed and he is in the middle of playing a video game. I thought, hmmm…that sounds just like something that American children do. I know that my kids certainly do.
One of the student’s teachers had commented that all of his students whine when it is time to assign homework. Again, I thought, yup, just like American children. They would rather be doing their own thing than doing homework. One girl agreed. She said that she plays two instruments and would rather be spending her time practicing that than doing homework.
The video below shows the first ten minutes of our experience together. Check it out.