16th November 2014
Today I had the chance to visit a great German tradition: A real Christmas Market! It was a small market, but there are huge markets, too. The one in Stadthagen is in the city centre and it has got a carousel and many stalls with self-made crafts, foods and sweets not unlike a normal fair. You can buy toys made from wood and self-made wool socks, Christmas decoration, postcards, crafted candles, home-made soaps and unique silver jewellery. On the Christmas market in Stadthagen you can also get a lot of food, for example Crêpes, grilled sausage, chips and many different kinds of fruit punch with and without alcohol. Of course there is also cocoa and eggnogg. The punch is sold in a little hut where you can sit down around the counter, have some cookies and warm up. That was fun! The cocoa was nice. I rode on the motor scooter of the carousel, a nice woman gave me two little hats for my two ears and I also got a gingerbread heart!
Most Christmas Markets start at the end of November or beginning of December and end on the day before Christmas Eve.
This week I went with different students to their hobbies. They had very different hobbies each day and it was very exciting. Unfortunately, not everybody had got their cameras with them. I’ve only got a picture of Mareike.
Usually, the students go to school until mid-day. In Stadthagen, the Wilhelm-Busch-Gymnasium is a “Ganztagsschule”, that means classes and clubs go until three thirty in the afternoon, but not all classes and clubs are mandatory. In fifth and sixth grades only one afternoon is mandatory, in grade 7 and 8, two afternoons are mandatory and in grade 9 and 10, three. The 6B has got one art lesson and their administrative hour for organisational and class issues on Thursday afternoon. The other afternoons are for homework help, clubs like the environment club, sports clubs, school newspaper, the sewing club, drama club or some of the other clubs – or hobbies!
Three of the students in 6B go to dancing classes. Vico likes breakdance, Clara does modern and jazz dance and Lea does hiphop. They are all very good! Marleen and Clara are also singing in the church choir.
Max has got an interesting hobby, he is in the junior fire brigade! There, the children have real fire brigade training every week and go on trips together sometimes. They also have got their own uniforms!
Then I went with Alex and Marius to trampoline training. They can do amazing things on the trampoline like jumps and somersaults.
Torben is a scout in his free time and very successful, too. He often goes on outings and knows a lot of knots. On the photo, you can see Mareike at vaulting training. She doesn’t only ride on the big horse, but she also makes gymnastic figures on its back and can jump down and get up in any speed, it’s all very impressive.
All the children of the 5B and 6B play on their intruments during the week for their class wind intrument’s orchestra and some of them play other instruments, too. From 7th grade on the students can take part in the school orchestra. There are no wind intrument classes anymore because the students are sorted into different classes than in 6th grade according to their second foreign language (Spanish, Latin or French).
These are only some of the hobbies the students in 6B have. Some like to go horseback-riding and some are playing lots of computer games or Playstation, too. One or two also like to draw or craft in their free time.
10th November 2014
Finally, I am out of my uncomfortable travel-box! I had a nice postcard from Slovenia with me that I read at least a hundred times because I was so very bored. But today I learnt that they had holidays in Germany while I arrived. They are called autumn holidays – can you believe it? They have got holidays for every season!
Two weeks of not going to school, then six weeks school and after that there are the Christmas holidays. Today I was greeted in the teacher’s room which is quite large but not everybody has their own table. Ms Krüger and Mrs Stadtsholte cared for me and showed me around a little and took me to meet their classes.
There are 28 pupils in class 6B and 30 in class 5C and they all seem very nice. The classrooms are big and they told me they would take me on a full tour some other day. The students need to prepare properly, because they need to think about what they want to show me. I’m excited to get to know this huge school with 1000 pupils and over 100 teachers.
Today I am visiting with Jonas and Lukas, who are twins, and I’ll stay the night to find out what they have for breakfast in the morning.
11th November 2014
We had a very nice breakfast today! We had some toast and jam and also orange juice. Some pupils had cereal and drank other drinks like water or cocoa in the mornings, Lukas told me.
We went to school by car today, although most pupils go by bus, bike or on foot, because I was with them and they didn’t want me to suffer through a bus ride. The bus can be very full sometimes and leave too late or too early to catch it comfortably which really is a bother.
The first two lessons were German lessons and I had to concentrate very hard to understand a word. They all talk very fast!
After that, the 6B had their second language classes and some music practice. That was amazing! Jonas is in 6B and 6B is the “Bläserklasse”, this means that every pupil plays a wind instrument. The other classes have regular music lessons but the Bläserklasse pupils have got one hour of instruction a week for their special instrument and 90 minutes of orchestral instruction during their music lessons. They have to practice playing at home, too. They sounded really nice playing the “Pirates of the Carribbean” theme song on trombones and horns and flutes, even though they just started to play these instruments when they came to WBG in 5th grade.
Then they had two lessons of Geography which was interesting. I say two lessons, because they usually have got double lessons. Sometimes there are single lessons of 45 minutes like music practice or for their second foreign language, but usually they have got double lessons of 90 minutes. The upside is that they don’t need to pack so much stuff and can concentrate on less subjects. The downside is that they see some of the great teachers only once a week and that 90 minutes can be a very long time.
Now it’s lunchtime at WBG and the pupils are all running somewhere they call the “Cafte”. Jonas explained to me that this was short for “Caféteria” and that you could buy sandwiches, rolls, a little bit of pastry, some fruit, tea and coffee and also hot chocolate there. Some pupils stay three afternoons a week, that means their lessons are until 3.30 pm and they eat lunch at school. On these days the Cafte also offers some food like Hot Dogs, pasta, pizza pieces or salads or something like Doner with minced meat. Doner is very popular in Germany. Jonas prefers a simple bun to any of that, although I cannot think why he would. They always fill up their bottles at what they call the water machine. You can add some sparkle to it, too if you like that sort of thing. And they can buy other drinks from the vending machine.
At 2 pm 6B meets in the art classroom where Ms Krüger helps them with their newest art project: picture books. It’s one lesson of art and one lesson of class council. The class council is held by the class speakers, Carina and Marius. They collect the topics and lead the discussion. Today they plan who can take me where and when to show me their hobbies and free time activities. I’m really looking forward to vaulting!
I’m leaving school with Mareike today. She usually comes home and packs her bag to leave for vaulting right away. She is not very tall but she can jump up on that big horse while it’s galloping! That’s amazing. She took me on the horse, too. You’ll see the picture when I tell you more about the hobbies.
In the evening she finishes her homework and they meet with the family to have a tasty dinner. She tells me that some people have a big dinner with a cooked meal but others prefer a cold dinner like bread with cheese or a salad. I’m stuffed and tired now. Let’s go to bed!