Sunday, September 21, 2008

In Which I Boast a Little

I am no longer able to make blogger respond to my requests to move photos around. So I'll brag about Skittles first, I guess.  But I am so proud of both of them.

Skittles is positively ebulent about her kids' cooking class. It is the high point of her week. 

Yesterday was the second class, and they made potato salad and bread rolls. She's getting really good with yeast doughs, which is great as I cannot make dough rise to save my life.  But the double-secret bonus, to me, is that she actually tries the foods she makes. 

She announced she wants to be a chef when she grows up. That's fine by me.

This school year, Baboo is in this special intensive-Russian program through her school. Their classroom is in a Russian school (which is, conveniently, just around the corner from the main campus). Two days a week they return to the main campus for lunch* and to use the computers and library. They have daily Russian lessons, and a structured exchange with specific Russian kids from their host school. Those kids have been studying French, and the two groups have time together every week.

*Lunch aside: Lunch at the Russian school is disappointing. Seems every day they get a weiner and a starch: either over-cooked pasta or flavor-free mashed potatos. Plastic cutlery. Baboo now takes a small container of flavored salt in her backpack. Her best friend brings those little salt packets like what you get from a fast food restaurant. 

Needless to say, the days they have lunch at the main campus are much nicer, more diverse, albeit a LOT more expensive.

Russian school lunch: 20 to 50 rubles a day. I don't know why the price varies since the menu doesn't. 

Main campus lunch: 190 rubles a day. Here is a typical lunch at the main campus:

(Choose one)
Assiette de crudités (raw veggie plate) 
Salade de carottes (carrot salad) 
Salade au jambon et fromage (ham and cheese salad) 
Soupe de légumes (vegetable soup) 
(Choose one)
Fricassée de poulet (fried chicken) 
Pain de porc (breaded pork cutlet) 
Poisson cajun (cajun-style fish) 
(Choose one)
Riz doré (yellow rice)
Haricots verts (green beans)
(Choose one)
Yaourt (yogurt) 
Fromage (cheese . . . well, duh!)
(Choose one)
Fruits de saison (seasonal fruits) 
Jus de fruits (fruit juice) 
Pâtisserie (pastry . . . Guess which is more popular in this category?)

Baboo said she and one of her French classmates were sitting on the playground during recess last week, and a group of Russian girls came over and asked them questions. Baboo and friend answered, in their limited Russian, and the Russian girls said, "Oooooo!"

We asked her teacher if she could skip English class. "Well, many of her classmates speak English well," he began.

Um, yeah. But this kid's mother tongue is English, we insisted. He left it with a "We'll see about that."

He's been using Wednesday mornings to give her class assessment tests. Shortly after we had the English-skills conversation, there was a question on an assessment test, asking her to identify the last movement of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. She doesn't know how to say that in French, so she wrote "Ode to Joy."

Suddenly her teacher realized that not only does she know English, but she knows THINGS in English. It really is a working language for her. So she got yanked out of English class and given extra one-on-one time with the Russian teacher.

The other weirdly wonderful thing is that last week the teacher emailed all of the parents a copy of a student's weekly assessment test so that we could use it to see the correct answers. It was not a flawless test, but it was, apparently, the best one. The student's name was whited out, but we recognized the handwriting immediately. 

The Spouse sees the teacher ever morning when he drops Baboo off at school. "She didn't get all the answers right," he said to Teacher. 

"If she didn't get the answer, no one got it," said Teacher. 

Pardon me for being proud . . .


Anonymous said...

go ahead and be proud while you can. there's just no telling what those teenage years will bring!

Our 10 yr old is learning the violin in music class. It occurred to me that she looked like a mini- hit man getting on the school bus this morning!!

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