Darien Book Aid & other updates

A few months ago, I contacted Darien Book Aid to request a shipment of 20 pounds of books for my school here in Ukraine. DBA is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization that sends books to Peace Corps Volunteers and others all over the world, free of charge. It seemed silly not to take advantage of this opportunity.

After sending in my request, all I had to do was sit and wait for the books to arrive. I received word last month that my books had been sent on 13 January, and they arrived this week. Twenty pounds of books is a lot of books! They sent me many young adult chapter books, some easy books for young readers (or beginner English-speakers, as the case may be), and two textbooks on health and teaching health in schools. I cannot wait to present all the books to my colleagues at school — it will be quite a surprise for them.

At this point I’m sort of at a loss for how to start incorporating these books into my teaching life. I’ve thought about creating a library in the English classroom, where pupils can check out books to read at home. I may make photo copies of a chapter at a time to read in English clubs. Or maybe I’ll just read them to people as a listening exercise. Any suggestions for how to use chapter books in the ESL/EFL classroom would be greatly appreciated! Please leave a comment or email me if you have ideas.

Below are some pictures of the box’s arrival. Thank you, Darien Book Aid!

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In other news, it’s still really cold here. In case you haven’t been reading any news, it’s been <9°F/-13°C here for the past two weeks. School was cancelled last week because it was too cold for the kiddies to walk to school. Teachers still make an appearance every day. This week the primary schoolers were free and we had short — 30′ — lessons with the 5th-11th forms Monday-Wednesday; no school Thursday or Friday. I’ve still been running, of course, because I’m crazy and addicted like that.

But I would really like it to warm up again soon — anything above 10°F, please! — so I can do a proper long run.

My grant implementation is under way — money’s in the bank and my director and I are going soon to buy the equipment. Thanks to everyone who donated. You can check out picture updates here.

In random “go Ukraine!” news, I just read this interesting BBC article about the origins of European coffee houses — apparently a Ukrainian in the 17th century was one of the first to brew a cup of coffee in a cafe (or something) in Vienna. The Euro-type coffee house has definitely made it’s mark in L’viv, where there are tons of cozy cafes. Read the article for more details.

In other random suggestions, read Byron’s epic/satiric poem, Don Juan. It is absolutely hilarious.

Lastly, if you haven’t heard yet, Oberlin is ranked #3 among small colleges for Peace Corps Volunteers! 24 of us are currently serving as PCVs around the world. Read this article, featuring my fellow Obie and Ukraine (R)PCV, Samantha.

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