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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The First Lesson

After a morning of gorging of chocolate chip banana bread, I headed off to meet Elisabetta and her 2 children. I was introduced to this family by my American friend Linda who was giving lessons to the cousins of Elisabetta’s children. The little girl, 5 years old, is contemplating attending the American School here in Torino next term. Her mom wanted her to get a jump start on her English and wanted to see if she had a propensity for the language. Her little brother, 3 years, is a wild one but sweet at the same time. I am mainly focusing my time on the girl but also exposing the little boy to a bit of English as well.

We began the lesson by me asking her if she knew her numbers, how to write her name etc… As with most language lessons, we began with greetings. “Hi. How are you? What is your name? How old are you? Where are you from?” She took to me rather quickly. After a shy start she warmed up, chatting away. Next we read a few of the English children’s books I brought; when those were all exhausted, I was asked to read “Finding Nemo” in Italian. I was doing rather well, he little boy however kept correcting me, he kept saying “Nay-mow” not “Knee-mow” and I told him that I was pronouncing it the English way. “Oh” he said suspiciously. As Elisabetta drove me home, we chatted about how intensely she wanted her daughter learn. We decide on 4 days a week, 2 hours each time.

I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I’ve faced similar challenges before. The toughest nut I had to crack was with Daniel, one of the boys I used to take care of. We had less that a week to memorize the 50 states and their capitals. How could I get him to say “Hartford” when I said “Connecticut”? Hmmmm… I came up with the following pneumonic device “Con-neck-ti-cut”, “Neck=body part”, “Cut, who does cutting of body parts?” “Answer=surgeon” “Surgeons cut hearts=Hartford” It’s a long connection but once you get the image and words into your mind, its hard to get rid of. 25 states later, Daniel’s confidence improved, so I did not feel so guilty leaving the other 25 for his mother. On the day of the test, he got a 49 out of 50. Yippee!


At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Laurie said...

Gina this is a GREAT start on the structured activity front! I may really have to drag you over to tutor my hubby. I have found that italians love our USA banana bread. I have a recipe which substitutes zucchine for banana (you MUST know about this, cooking maven that you are). It has been a huge hit in Torino with all who have tried it, and noone guesses that it could possibly be zucchine. When I get home I'll share the recipe, though I bet you can find it online. Good with walnuts in it......ciao!

At 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like Daniel's story.

Good luck with your new student. I have a feeling that with you as her tutor, she'll have a very successful story like Daniel's.



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