22 July, 2008

No time for kunafe!

Just finished: The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
Reading: White Noise by Don DeLillo
On Deck: Gardens of Light by Amin Maalouf
Listening to: The Seeger Sessions by Bruce Springsteen

Things are very hectic here at school, with summer camp ending and planning for the coming school year shifting into high gear. With about a month to go until the first day of school we've made the rather momentous decision to scrap the existing textbooks that coincide with the Palestinian curriculum and create our own. While this is exciting and will produce far more challenging materials for our students, it's also a bit crazy-making at the moment. We'll be deciding who will teach what grade at today's curriculum meeting. Each of us will be creating books for English, science and math. The math we'll be teaching is not simple arithmetic but rather what's not covered in the Palestinian curriculum: measurements, word problems, time, money, etc. We'll be selecting themes based on the grammar points included in the Palestinian curriculum and building from those. The overall goal is, obviously, to create a challenging, innovative and well-designed course of study.

In addition to that small task I'm working in the library to catalog the English-language materials. It's slow going, but I enjoy getting to see what I have to work with and reminisce over some of the titles from my childhood. I'm also working on updating the school's web site with stories and photos from summer camp. In short, I'm crazy busy and wildly happy.

Last night we enjoyed a wonderful time at the palatial home of Munib al-Masri, the wealthy Palestinian businessman who is working hard to develop his beloved hometown. He was kind enough to invite all our students to his estate for an evening of games, music and a quick tour of his home. Click on the title of this post to read more about him and see the estate.

The internet's been out at the house, which makes updating challenging with all the work to be done first at school. We may be moving again, splitting into seperate homes for the men and women. I hope to get to Jerusalem for at least a few days while school is closed for the next two weeks, but my original plan to travel north had to be postponed due to the massive textbook project. I finally have a few new photos up on Flickr and am trying to post more when I - ha, ha! - have time. Bear with me, folks!


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