Educational Philosophy

Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself.

~ John Dewey

Our simple educational philosphy: we learn as we live and we celebrate what we learn!

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Holy Toledo

Today we woke up early- after a terrible night's sleep in 100 degree weather- and headed to the train station. After getting a cab we made it to the train and headed to Madrid to change trains to Toledo. We arrived a little after 12 and went straight uphill to the Cathedral. After managing to get tickets we walked into the cathedral and explored. It was very beautiful and had many similarities to other cathedrals we have seen. One of the most interesting parts was the trasparente- a hole cut in the ceiling in the 1700's and decorated in the baroque style to add more light for mass. Of course we always love climbing to the top of the tours everywhere we go so we decided to get the extra ticket to climb. It reminded us a bit of Notre Dame because at the top there was the bell (la campana). It is apparently the largest bell in Spain and also is the most well known because it is referenced in songs.

After the Cathedral we went walking to El Greco Museum because it was free to see after 2. We waited in the park and stayed in the shade. El Greco Museum is a museum built near the site of El Greco's house.

 We then went to another free place that was right next door called Museo Safardi (Sinogoga del transito). It was interesting to see because it had a mix of architectural designs. We then found our hotel which was very close. It used to be a fabrica de harinas so it was cool to see and no one talked to us in English.

After taking a much needed nap IN AIR CONDITIONING we went to the Sinogoga Santa Maria la Blanca. We went see the cool white colors as well as the three religious influences Jewish, Christian, and Moorish. We then went to the San Juan de los Reyes Monastario. It was kind of hot at this point and there was a wedding going on. (we totally walked in by accident)

Foods we tried today: Three types of Mazapan. One was the traditional one like a sponge cake and the others we found at a little side church one was a heart and the other looked like a pretzel. They were both very good and also unique to that church.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Pelo Mono and more

Today was our third day of Playschool. We are really getting to know the children and enjoy seeing them improve their English while having a lot of fun. Today we had a water fight with them (It is 100 degrees Farenheit here so it made for ideal conditions), made hacky sacks, worked on vocabulary, and added drawings to their Curious George books. Next week we will be teaching one thirty minute lesson each about the United States which should be exciting.

Yesterday night we went to our fourth concert ever (yes we have only been to three and one was for the Inauguration of president Obama). It was for the band Pelo Mono- Monkey hair- (probably not famous in the US and the jury is out if it is in Spain). We were invited by T's intercambio and met two of his friends and they snuck us in as University of Sevilla students for a cheaper price (without talking we can pass for Spanish jaja). It was rock surf music. We didn't know what that meant but discovered that the band didn't sing and it was instrumental rock. We are still unsure if this genre exists in the United States. They were good and we got to see a lot of the culture which was in it of itself entertaining. We uploaded a video and hope that it works!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Playschool Day 1

Today we started playschool. We arrived around 9:40 and talked to the teacher before playing with the children and organizing them in a line to head to class. (Some days we will have to be there at 8:00 and others we will have to stay late an hour- due to the rotation of the other teaching assistants). We also have up to 5 hours a week of extra work/planning to help our teacher and two classes that are an hour and a half long during which we learn a little about the theory of learning a second language and we talk about our experiences at playschool in a mix of English and Spanish.

Right now (and we hope it will stay this way) Haley and I are working with a class of 6-7 year olds. They have different levels of English and we are supposed to only talk in English to help with the language immersion process. Each week has a theme and so far we have helped with words about summer and making some suns with plates, cut out hands, and paint. It was a good day and we enjoyed getting to know our students- and I think that they enjoyed playing red light green light blue light yellow light with us and learning their colors. It really is a mix of school where they learn vocabulary and play a lot so it should be exciting and different each day. We are looking forward to tomorrow. :)

note: Today we got asked by a man on the street at Starbucks if we could tutor him in English via Skype which was strange. We said we didn't have skype...And our Senora said not to friend him on Facebook jaja.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Long week

This week was full of surprises and was pretty busy as we wrapped up our second class of the summer. We will be working with children teaching English (also known as being an assistant and teaching 30 minutes a week by ourselves) the rest of the summer. On Wednesday these lovely animals were inside the apartment. They are called palominas. For anyone who doesn't know or forgot T is terrified of birds, it was nightmare in Sevilla.Our Senora had to help and captured them with a bag! Yikes!!

 (Our birthday dinner at a vegetarian place- it was delicious)
(Llao Llao froyo on steroids)
 (Modern art museum with T's speaking partner)

For our first time in Sevilla we saw Torre Pelli. Everyone we have talked to in Sevilla is mad it was built because it is taller than the cathedral which used to be prohibited a law. So of course we took a picture.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Today was our last day in Portugal. Although it rained the majority of the morning, when we were leaving we got some sun. We went on a photography hunt and found some really cool secluded areas in the city.


 We went to Sagres last night to watch the sunset. We found someone else from our program (not on our trip) and said hello. It was beautiful even though it was chilly. We wish we had a picture of the rock formation we were sitting on and of the sunset but we definitely did not want to be on one of those little boats rocking in the sea down below- and there was nobody to offer to take us.

Earlier in the day we went on a boat tour of the grottoes of Lagos. We started off on a sailboat and then transferred to a little dingy that took us in and out of the grottoes that had names for the formations they had inside (elephant, big man, king kong, Michael Jackson, etc.) It was gorgeous even though the weather didn't really cooperate and it was cold and drizzly. Overall it was a good day!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tavira and Lagos

Today we left Sevilla at 9 and arrived in Portugal pretty fast. We went with about 43 other members of the program we are with and we all were on a bus together. Interestingly we didn't need passports (bummer no stamp). We then arrived at a little island called la Isla de Tavira. We had to ride a ferry to the island then we trekked out to the beach. It was nice at first then it got really windy and cold so we of course had a milkshake. We then went back on the bus and arrived in Lagos in time for dinner. We explored a little because we were worried it might be cloudy tomorrow and snapped some pretty cool shots.

Then we found a really cute place for dinner and had a cheap meal of bruschetta with goat cheese and bruschetta with mozzarella and fries. We successfully avoided several pick pockets but one lady came up and took our mayo and then ran away. How weird.
Hopefully tomorrow brings warmer weather and more stories.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Jerez and other updates

Yesterday we got to go and see a play with our theater class. It was called Bits and was mostly done in a mime format. We really enjoyed seeing a theater and experiencing something that we wouldn't have done otherwise in Spain.

Today we had a short day of classes so we decided to venture one hour south of us to Jerez with a friend.
The train station (had really cool tiles)

 Sandeman Sherry on the left and a picture of the street (they are really well known for their sherry in Jerez). As part of our tour we learned about the history of Sandeman and how they make sherry. Then we tasted it. Honestly we found it kind of gross. The couple we were sitting next to were wine tasters from San Francisco and their recommendation was to wait at least seven more years and try again with a more refined pallet. Maybe that is why all of the people on the tour were at least 10 and at the most 50 years older than we were. :)
 Stork (second one we've seen in Spain)
 Tomorrow we are going with various people from our program to the Algarve peninsula in Portugal. We are hoping that we will get some scenic photos to share.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Cadiz and Matalascanas

This weekend we had a lot of beach time. As you may know, we don't exactly like the beach because of the sand. There are many parasites and gross things hidden in sand. However, we went because Spain has a ton of beaches and coastline. It is a major part of the culture. The first beach we went to was Cadiz. We went by train by ourselves and it was a very relaxing day.(Apparently it is one of the best local beaches and is not polluted by tourists from other countries).

 The view from the Santa Catalina Castle near the La Caleta beach.
 View of the Atlantic Ocean and the local favorite place to jump into the water.

 Somewhere between the Old City and the Beach (they are doing a lot of construction in Cadiz to increase tourism including reconstructing the Roman ruins and other historic sites).
 El Catedral (it was closed because of the Corpus Christi event that was happening in Cadiz).

On Sunday, we went to a beach in Matalascanas that many of the locals here don't say is their favorite but it is the closest to Sevilla and there are many locals. We paddlesurfed (and don't have any pictures). Paddlesurfing is the same as paddle boarding but there were more waves so it was harder (and you can surf in). Our instructor said we were strong (maybe because the others in the group never got off their knees). We returned to Sevilla with enough time to get one of our favorite granizada (frozen lemonade) places. Unfortunately, because we were outside for much of the day (9:00-6:00), we are burned. :(

Friday, June 05, 2015

Bull Fight

We had quite a busy day the other day. We went to class and discussed the spanish play we are reading "Luces de Bohemia" and then went on a short "field trip" right outside the building to see the Corpus Chrisi parade. The streets smelled wonderful (lined with rosemary) and there were lots of people watching the procession of the brotherhoods and religious "floats". We also got to spend time with Haley's Intercambio (after having to bike two to a bike to get there) at his apartment's pool which was really nice. BUT the most interesting thing was going to la Novellada (bullfight for young torreros and young bulls). We learned that bottlecaps are not allowed in the bullring and are confiscated by the police because the visitors often get frustrated and throw them. We also learned that if they are pleased with the bull and the bullfighter they wave white cloths in the air and say "bien". We also learned that there is special music that helps the viewers separate the different stages of the bullfight- the beginning passes with the pink capes, the stabbing from the horses, the humans who stab the bulls with colorful piercers, and then the final bullfighter with the red cape to mask the blood. While it was a great cultural experience we had to close our eyes because we felt badly for the bull (and Tirion kept talking about how the bull could climb up the stands like in extreme vacation home videos).

It was really hot and we had the cheap seats in direct sunlight but that made for some awesome pictures. WARNING if you don't like blood or don't want to see the suffering of animals do not read/ scroll forwards.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Hospital de la Caridad y Corpus Christi

We have had a pretty uneventful week. On Monday we began a new class that is focused on 20th century theater. We like the class for the most part. It is a lot more work than our last class, but it keeps us busy. We explored Hospital de la Caridad a working hospital that was created a while ago. It was not as cool as we thought it would be. However like all buildings in Spain it was gorgeous. The mural below is an example of what the building looked like.

Other than our exploration of the hospital we just talked to our intercambios and went to various ice cream places and dinner places. Today our senora told us that the whole town would be setting up for Corpus Christi a festival for tomorrow. We walked around and took pictures without people. We hope to get some cool pictures tomorrow as well. This weekend we are going to be spending a lot of time at the beach as it is cooler there and it is 97 degrees.

Sunday, May 31, 2015


We had a very early start to the morning waking up at 6:30 am. We then went to this really awesome churros place. (Not sure if it just tasted really awesome because we were running on 6 hours of sleep or if it was really good). We then meandered with only our camera and a little bit of money and two phones between the three of us to the boat. We didn't really know what we were doing at all, but we felt in control. We got through customs and onto the ferry no problem. Then we got our passport stamped while on the boat. T and E fell asleep while we crossed the Mediterranean. We then arrived and we were very excited. However once we got off the boat we realized it was not as easy as Rick said. Our guide was not there and one of our phones didn't work. We were being hassled by numerous tour guides and taxi drivers. After about fifteen minutes (which seemed like 5 hours) we decided to walk away and find our own little spot to sit. Which happened to be at the bottom of a hill on a yellow piece of cement. (The only place we felt safe) We called our guide. He said he would be there in five minutes. When he didn't show up in ten we all really started panicking. We decided to find a bathroom, which turned out to be way harder than we thought and finally he arrived. A whole thirty five minutes late. We started the tour and we walked through the old town. We passed by many mosques and saw some places where the Bourne movies were filmed and an upcoming Mission Impossible movie was filmed. We then walked to a Morrocan house and got beautiful views. Shortly after our guide felt bad so he drove us to ride on some camels. We still had to pay 2 euros, but the trek was free as well as the drive around town. We then walked around a market and tried some Morrocan green tea. He paid for all the food we tried and he also paid for our green tea as he felt sorry.

Favorite Quotes: "Morocco it's so happening." "I give you good price" "Aziz where you at?" "This is for my diabetic mother." "Hey you come on in here." "Pft that is not good good quality we know good quality."
Favorite Moments: Riding the Camel, seeing the Medina and the Souk, going back to Spain


When we were planning the trip we weren't really sure how we would get to Gibraltar and after our experience in Morocco we decided to try to figure out how to get to La Linea the bus station Saturday afternoon. Since we were going on a Sunday we actually had to change buses. It turned out to only be 4 euros per person for the whole trip and we got there at 12 which meant we had 4 hours before our bus was scheduled to leave. It was quite a task to get to the rock and do all the activities we wished we had about an hour more due to us getting lost and having struggles checking our bags at the airport. However the trip was really fun.

We walked to the cable car because we thought it would be easier (we only got lost once). But it turned out to be a thirty minute walk just like Rick said. So we bought our tickets and rode up to the top of the rock and it was super beautiful. We at first were afraid we wouldn't see any monkeys, but we did. In fact the monkeys stole our trash and our pringles. We were terrified of them at one point as they started to grab our other bags. But we managed to get some really cool photos. Then we continued the walk (run) down and saw a cave with stalagmites and ran to the bus station. Don't worry we made the bus and are safely back in Sevilla.
The rock
The monkey looks nice, but it is not!!!

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