Sunday, February 14, 2016

Week 2 in Gothenburg

Feb. 10

Today's musing:

Have a look at the picture above. Some of you may see a child, others may even wonder if it is a human being at all. If I have done an adequate job of depicting him, you may recognize him as Spot, the boy from the movie "The Good Dinosaur." For those of you who have not seen the movie, Spot is a young boy who has yet to learn how to behave as a civilized human being, as you may notice from his dog-like stance.
I could not help but think of Spot as I observed one of my students. This particular student reminds me of Spot not only with his appearance, but with his behavior as well (for instance, this student found it necessary and amusing to crawl around on all fours during recess today). This child can be wild and difficult at times, but I have also seen that he can be very lovable as's just a matter of cultivating the lovable side and doing away with...well...everything else...yeah, that sounds good.

Feb. 11
Today's musing:

Yesterday my colleague and I had the privilege of presenting to a group of students at the University of Gothenburg about the U.S. school system and TCU. The building you see behind us is the college of education called Pedagogin. It was a most enjoyable experience to present and the students were all very engaged.
As I interacted with a few of them, I recognized that some of them had similar personalities of my friends back home (sarcastic, shy and reserved, outgoing etc.). Ah yes. This reminded me of my dear campus in a lot of ways.

I am constantly reminded that many things, such as personalities, are universal. It is fascinating to see how we are all quite the same, even if we grow up in divergent cultures. Yes we all have differences, but at the heart of the matter, we are all quite similar in some regards. This comforting notion helps me feel at home here.

Feb. 12
Today's musing:

This week I taught the maths lessons for my cooperating teacher (yes, I know I said maths). The concept for the week was patterns, so I taught the students all about number, sound, color, and shape patterns. As a final assessment I had them create their own patterns the fur of a spotless giraffe printout. What they created was impressive and fairly amusing as well.

As I'm sure you can tell, all this talk of patterns inspired me to sketch a giraffe of my own, however, you will notice that this rendering is devoid of several details other than the intricately organized pattern on the fur. This is because I wanted the pattern to stand out most. It's funny how we tend to overlook such beauties in nayure, but hopefully I have taught at least my students to start appreciating the patterns we find in everyday life.
...and here are some of the students' creations. Some of them are pretty funny.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

                                                                       Week 1 in Gothenburg

Today's musing Feb. 1:

Yesterday my colleague and I went on a tour of the city with our hostess and guide Cecelia as well as another international student from Belgium! We saw a lot of cool things, bit I was most fascinated to learn that the symbol of the city of Gothenburg is the mighty lion. This new found knowledge inspired the artist in me to portray this magnificent animal. Bonus points to the person who can figure out why his mane is blue. Here's a hint...look at the color of his fur as well.

Today's musing Feb. 2:

The students I am teaching at ISGR here in Gothenburg come from a wide range of cultural backgrounds such as German, Indian, and French to name a few. But have a look at the artwork and drawings that my students created and tell me the cultural background of some of the students based on their drawing. Pretty hard isn't it? Their cultural differences do not scream out through their art. In fact a great deal of it resembles the artwork of my students back in the States.
As I observed them drawing today, I realized that art is a pretty universal language. It does not matter a child's cultural backgroun, all children draw the same (so to speak). Perhaps what they draw may differ depending on their culture, but at the heart of the matter, art is a universal language. This notion deepened my passion for drawing. It is easy for me to feel like an outsider sometimes because I do not speak the native language: Swedish (though everyone seems to speak English as well). However, through art, I find comfort that it does not matter what my native tongue is, I can still communicate through aesthetically appealing images.

No matter what kind of person you art speaks to everyone! (Disclaimer: this does not apply to those who hate art...if they exist)

Today's musing Feb. 3:

This musing is a lot shorter to make up for the last one. Today I made you all a post card!!!

Today's musing Feb. 4:

Tomorrow my class is celebrating 100 days of school! That was the purpose of the students' artwork that I shared a couple of days back. The purpose is to create a project with 100 identifiable parts such as 100 minions or 100 fish. The students have challenged me to create my own project. Above is my creation of a peacock, a magnificent animal whose colorful feathers are all connect to the same being. I was inspired by my classroom; though we all come from colorful and diverse cultural backgrounds, we are still connected in many ways such as through art...also I had a couple of students who thought I was happened.

By the way, here is the answer to my first musing: the lion's mane is blue, and his fur is white. I learned from Cecelia that Blue and White are considered the colors of Gothenburg. However I need to recheck that cuz I may have heard wrong

Today's musing Feb. 5:

Today our class had their 100 Days of School celebration (even though the actual 100th day pf school was a couple days back). In recognition of this occassion, I helped them make a piƱata for the party! There were initially going to be three, but the others didnt...well...let's just say they didnt turn out so well. How did this one make it you ask? I may or may not have made that one myself.

Today's musing Feb. 6:

I know what you must be thinking as you look at the image below. A horned frog in the snow? How absurd. There is hardly a notion more anacronistic. It just isn't done. Horned frogs belong in the desert in a much warmer climate. Everybody knows least TCU students do.

Despite being out of his natural element, you may notice through his stance that this horned frog seems to be quite confident. Let me assure you that it was not always this way. It took him a good while to get used to such a drastic change, but through this adversity, he has grown a great deal.
You have probably already figured out that I used this drawing as a metaphor for my travels abroad. I was reminded of home yesterday when I saw a picture on Facebook of one of my friends standing near Frog Fountain in our campus commons with the sun beaming down on her face. The caption to the picture read "It's a great day to be a horned frog." Ah yes. How I miss my beloved campus, but like the horned frog, despite being taken out of my comfort zone, I am growing in many ways...well...ok mainly knowledge. Yes it may be rather absurd for a Texan to be in such a chilled climate rather than one that allows for shorts and flip flops most of the year (or all year for me), and it my be rather unusual for a Black American to be roaming the streets of Gothenburg, but sometimes being taken away from a lot of the things you know is the only way to gain more knowledge. Whew...took me hours to come up with that last one.