Fifth Grade in Italy (written by Ray)

written by guest blogger Ray

This is me in front of my school

Elementary school is way different from Bellevue.  It’s all in Italian, it’s six days a week and I get out earlier so I can eat lunch at home.  I’m in fifth grade here.   I go to a different school than Tom since he is in middle school.  I like my teachers and my classmates.  School starts at 8:10, which means I have to wake up a lot earlier than in Washington.  When I wake up by a “beep beep” of my alarm clock, I am tired.  My school is only five minutes from my apartment walking.  When I get to class, my classmates say, “Come va?” which means, “How are you?” So I say, “Bene.”

One time my entire class went to a classmate’s birthday party.  We saw ICE AGE 4 in a movie theater.  Today I got another invitation to a birthday party on Saturday, but I can’t go because I’ll be in Rome.

This is my Italian and History teacher. I call her “Maestra.”

I have five teachers but a lot of subjects.  Every week I have History, PE, Math, Italian, Science, Art, English, Geometry, Geography, Music, and Religion.  Math is my favorite subject.  I understand it because it’s all numbers basically.  Right now, I need help in about everything but Math and English.  Whenever I say, “Non capisco,” everyone tries to help me understand.  Sometimes I get different assignments than the Italian kids.  One time, I got a worksheet that asked me what I eat for breakfast.  There weren’t very many choices.  The options were like chocolate, cookies, cake, sugar, coffee, milk, and jam.  I told my class that I eat cereal, and so my teacher added it to the list.  She wrote “cereal and sugar.”  But I told her I don’t add sugar, so she added the word “no” in front of “sugar.”   That was hard for everyone to believe.  No one here has milk without adding sugar.  And another thing weird, no one ever eats eggs for breakfast.

This is my assignment

One time in my Italian class we were talking about fall celebrations.  We had to write about our favorite holiday, so I wrote about Halloween.  The Italians don’t have Halloween.  It would be hard to go trick-or-treating here because everyone in the city lives in apartment buildings instead of houses.  Instead of Halloween, Italians celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls Day.  Those are vacation days, so I don’t have school for four days next week!

Translation: “I am an American. I would like to describe a holiday in the United States. The 31st of October in America, we celebrate Halloween. The kids dress up like ghosts, vampires, witches, zombies, and skeletons. They walk around to houses, knock on the door and say, “trick or treat.” The people give candy to the kids. This is the most important holiday in fall for American kids.”

The teachers are a little more strict here.  Sometimes when my Italian or Geography teachers get mad, they bang the roll of duct tape that is on the desk.  It makes a really loud sound because the duct tape has a hard piece of cardboard in it to keep the roll of tape in a roll.  Today my teacher brought a whistle to class and blew it loudly when we talked.  If we are working in class, they don’t want us to make a single peep.  Another thing that happened today was my Italian teacher left the classroom for about a half an hour.  I don’t know where she went, but the kids went crazy.  Everyone got out of their desks and talked.  One of my friends went to the front of the class and pretended to be the teacher. She wrote names on the blackboard.  Some of the other kids were watching out for the teacher and told us when she was coming back to the room so we all got back into our seats.

School is out at 1:10.  When school is done, I walk home with my mom, dad, and Tom.  Two times a week I have tutoring.  My tutor’s name is Paola.  She helps me spell words, pronounce words and understand words.  I like her.  She has made me better in school.

me and Signora Paola

This is another assignment I did. I had to draw a picture and write about myself. I said, “I am 10-years-old,” “I live in Perugia in Umbria,” “I have five teachers,” “I am in fifth grade.”


16 thoughts on “Fifth Grade in Italy (written by Ray)

  1. Ray, This if fabulous. I was hoping you would be a guest blogger! Looks like your teacher wrote “Bravissimo” on your paper. I agree! We’ll send over some Halloween candy! Love, Gramma

  2. Sono Kelli, ho 42 anni (che antica!), viva a Ballard in Seattle, ho tre insegnati – mi figli. Mi piace la camicia nel disegno :-). It is so fun to see your school work! I am so impressed by how well you are writing in Italian. I know it is really hard – I studied it for 4 years and I still think it is hard. When Oliver and I get there, you will have to help us out a lot (I don’t remember much). Also, I really think you should start putting sugar on your cereal so that you fit in with your Italian friends! That big lump of milky sugar at the bottom of the bowl is pretty good. Love you tons.

  3. Ray – I think it’s wonderful that your classmates and teachers are learning from you, too! What a wonderful exchange of gifts!!
    P.S. I’m a friend of your Grandmother Carol’s in Oregon.

  4. Hi Ray!! Great guest blog. I see where one of your buddies is wearing a Stanford shirt. Need to get some Husky tee shirts for them. Your teacher and tutor look like very nice people. Keep up the great school work. Love, Grandpa John

  5. Ray we loved your guest post! It was fun to hear about your school. We are so impressed by you and Tom! Give your mom & dad hugs from us. Love, the Frossmos

  6. Ray! So fun to see your homework – HILARIOUS about the milk and sugar thing. When Steve studied in Spain, they could not believe that he drank his coffee black. No milk? No sugar? How do you get your calcium? they asked him. (not sure where the notion that sugar has calcium came from). Same thing in Sri Lanka – they drink their tea with so much sugar and milk that we called it “crack tea” (or tea flavored sugar milk). Whenever I asked for just black tea, they looked at me like they didn’t understand and brought me tea with milk and sugar any way (as if it didn’t exist without both).

    So happy to hear that you are enjoying school. Have a great All Souls/All Saints break. Are you guys doing a Day of the Dead altar this year? Miss you all lots…

  7. Hi Ray! As a former 5th grade teacher, I’ll have to say I’m impressed with your writing/blogging. Way to go! I loved seeing your homework. Kai, Mari & Malia have enjoyed looking at your pictures on your blog. We sure miss you!

  8. A+ on the blog assignment Ray. And I think you should bring your class a little Americano culture and come to school in vampire attire on the 31st ……….HAPPY HALLOWEEN

  9. Wonderful blog, Ray…Bravissimo!! That’s about as much as I know in Italian, so you’re amazing! I told your Dad, when I was 12, I moved to Germany for 3 years with my parents & brother (he was 15). We had so much fun learning the language & the different way they do things & foods they eat, besides lots of travelling to wonderful new places. When I got there I was a very picky eater, but they didn’t have any of the foods I liked (peanut butter, tuna fish & hamburgers). I practically starved at first until I tried to eat new things.
    Your cereal with no sugar & milk was funny. Did you find out when the Italians do eat eggs, if not breakfast? Keep up the fantastic blogging!

  10. Thanks Ray for sharing your school day with me. Even though they don’t do Halloween over there….. Have a happy Halloween for me anyways! Miss you guys. Uncle Frozzy.

    Sent from my iPhone

  11. Great job Ray! Good for you learning in a different language. I think I am too old to do it. I enjoyed your blog very much and hope you do another one. Love you guys!

  12. I can’t believe how amazing you are! Your writitng in Italian is unbelievable. I would never believe you have only been in Italy for such a short time. Wow. It was so great to read about your school day and see pictures of all your classmates and teachers. Keep up the incredible work, Ray. What you are doing is so cool!!! xoxoxo

  13. So fun to read your post Ray. We are really glad that you are enjoying school, new friends and your time in Italy. Treasure this year as it will go so fast. You are a wonderful writer, just like your mom and your brother! We miss you and your family. Hope to “hear” from you again soon.

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