Romanian Mother Tongue Display of Work
Our Romanian Mother Tongue students are very active both in and out of class. This year we’ve seen a number of visiting authors that our students have really engaged with and learned from, and this is evident in the quality of work that they have produced in class.
Navigate through the pages below to be drawn into the work of our students and travel alongside their imaginations into their own worlds!
Grade 8 Poems
Read about the Romanian Mother Tongue program achievements in the AISB Monthly Newsletter
December 2015: AISB Library Brings Author to RMT Students
March 2016: Romanian Family Night
April 2016: From Big Bang to Poetry
May 2016: Use me or Lose me!
GRADE SIX – FABLES
In April 2015, the sixth graders taking Romanian Mother Tongue had a unit on the fable. The major assignment was for each student to write a fable complete with illustrations. They created the fables you can read below.
Click on the image below each student name to discover their creativity and join them on their journeys through fantasy worlds.
AUTHOR’S VISIT (supported by PTO)
At AISB, Romanian is treated as a mother tongue language, as is English A. This entails the study of Romanian literature along with the language itself. The curriculum offers works by classic authors and introduces works by contemporary authors. There is a relative scarcity of contemporary authors writing children and youth literature in Romania.
This is the second academic year of our “Reading for Pleasure” program, specially designed for the Romanian mother tongue students, and which will be continued in the future. Another important aspect in the endeavor of familiarizing the students with Romanian literature is introducing them to those producing literature in the flesh and blood: that is to say, contemporary Romanian authors. We endeavored to start developing this aspect over the current academic year. We envisioned to have students in each year (grades 6, 7 and 8) meet authors whose works they have read and studied. This helped to build an interactive relationship of the students with the studied works, and, among others, the authors cease to be viewed as unapproachable individuals. The students had the opportunity to meet a real, warm, human being, who, through hard work and sustained effort has produced things worth studying and, one hopes, some of these guests turned into role models for our students.
On November 25th, we invited Mr Radu Oltean to a grade 6 Romanian class, the co-author, along with Neagu Djuvara, of several books on the history of Romania aimed at young readers: Dacia. Războaiele cu romanii, volumul I – Sarmizegetusa (Art Historia, 2014), De la Vlad Țepeș la Dracula Vampirul (Humanitas, 2010), Mircea cel Mare și luptele cu turcii (Humanitas, 2010), Cum s-a născut poporul român (Humanitas Junior, 2008).
In the second quarter, sixth graders went through a unit covering the historic figures fictionalized in literature. They read “Balada lui Constantin Brâncoveanu’’ and visited Mogoșoaia Palace, the property of the historic Brâncoveanu. In order to husk the historic facts found in the ballad, the students read a history book for children Cum s-a născut poporul român by Neagu Djuvara and Radu Oltean.
The challenge of constructing a national identity entails some special aspects for Romanian students at AISB. This is due to the fact that they don’t study national history as a special subject. For this reason, the only explicit information in matters of history of their home country comes via the Romanian class. Hence, it is important for them to study not only Romanian fiction literature but also non-fiction, especially texts on Romanian history. It is a matter of fact, that, apart from the works of Neagu Djuvara with Radu Oltean, there are no other history books of note aimed at young readers between the ages of 10 to 14. Neagu Djuvara, the better known of the pair, indeed a celebrity, at 94 years of age is no longer able to honor invitations. Therefore, we were happy to have Radu Oltean visit with our 6th graders. He talked with them about how the Romanian people came into existence, and how the Ottoman rulers had destroyed the Brâncoveanus, one of the ruling families of the country.
In 2014, Romanians celebrated 300 years since the death of Constantin Brâncoveanu recorded in the ballad we studied, and our students commemorated this event by considering two ways of looking at two alternative approaches, fiction and science, in which the event had been recorded.
On the 21st of November we invited to a Romanian class of the grade 7, Mr Florin Bican, a well known author and translator. He has published books for adults and children, among other: Cântice mârlănești (Humanitas Educațional, 2007), Bookătăria de texte & imagini 1 (editor, Pro Editură și Tipografie, 2009) and Bookătăria de texte & imagini 2 (editor, Editura Vellant), Reciclopedia de povești cu rimă și fără tâlc (Editura Arthur, 2013, awarded the Arthur trophy for youth literature), and Și v-am spus povestea așa (Editura Arthur, 2014).
In the second quarter, seventh graders went through a unit covering the fairy tale, and another that covered the story within a story. They read the volumes Și v-am spus povestea așa, and Aventurile cailor năzdrăvani rememorate de ei înșiși in their entirety and selected excerpts from Reciclopedia de povești cu rimă și fără tâlc. The first book is about horses with miraculous powers ridden by heroes of fairy tales. The author has herded such horses from various Romanian fairy tales and had them tell the stories from their own horsy perspective. As it turns out, some horses viewed the same happenings in a different light from that of the respective protagonists. One could say, paraphrasing the title of the second book, that one deals with a recyclopaedia, a recycling of stories of old. The second volume, Reciclopedia de povești, of which excerpts were studied, collects spoofs in verse of three well known fairy tales: Povestea lui Harap-Alb, Muma lui Ştefan cel Mare and Rică nu ştia să zică. These are funny, well written poems, that put the classic tales into the context of our day and age and dare to question the trite moral lesson of the stories that today sound unconvincing. The author displays a stark irreverent irony and this is moved by the faith that “any young person can see the irony in these texts.”
On the 19th of January, we invited Mr Mircea Cărtărescu, arguably the most famous living Romanian writer. The third volume of his 1800-page long novel has just been published in German translation (Mircea Cartarescu: Die Flügel. Roman. Aus dem Rumänischen von Ferdinand Leopold. Verlag Paul Zsolnay, Wien 2014.) Mr Cărtărescu has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature every year since 2011. We invited Mr Cărtărescu to a Romanian class of the grade 7.
In the second quarter, seventh graders went through a unit covering the fairy tale. They read the volume Enciclopedia zmeilor.
Enciclopedia zmeilor by Mircea Cărtărescu brings back to life a world that seemed to have vanished forever. Although dragons can be traced throughout Romanian folklore, they have neither a face nor clear individual traits. Mr Cartarescu takes upon himself to present young readers with twelve varieties of dragons, complete with their anatomy, customs, history, language, ocuupations and hobbies, along with their natural habitat. In addition, a set of 10 subtly interlinked fairy tales presents these dragons in action, in the midst of their messy lives.
Writings of Mircea Cărtărescu have been translated into German, English, Italian, French, Spanish, Polish, Swedish, Bulgarian and Hungarian.
- Faruri, vitrine, fotografii…, Cartea Românească, București, 1980 – Premiul Uniunii Scriitorilor pe 1980
- Poeme de amor, Cartea Românească, București, 1983
- Totul, Cartea Românească, București, 1985
- Levantul, Cartea Românească, București, 1990 – Premiul Uniunii Scriitorilor pe 1990
- Dragostea. Poeme (1984-1987), Editura Humanitas, București, 1994
- 50 de sonete de Mircea Cartarescu cu cincizeci de desene de Tudor Jebeleanu, Editura Brumar, Timișoara, 2003
- Nimic. Poeme (1988-1992), Editura Humanitas, București, 2010
- Dublu CD. Antologie de poezie, Editura Humanitas, București, 1998
- Plurivers, Editura Humanitas, București, 2003
- Poeme în garanție, Editura Casa Radio, București, 2005
- Dublu album de versuri, Editura Humanitas, București, 2009
Books in collaboration
- Aer cu diamante (volum colectiv), Editura Litera, București, 1982
- Antologia poeților tineri, Cartea Românească, București, 1982
- Antologia poeziei generației ‘80 (volum colectiv), Editura Vlasie, Pitești, 1993
- Antologia poeziei românești culte, Editura Teora, București, 1998
- Experimentul literar românesc postbelic, Editura Paralela 45, Pitești, 1998
- Antologia poeziei române de la origini până azi, Editura Paralela 45, Pitești, 1999
- 40238 Tescani, Editura Image, București, 2000
- Visul (Cartea Românească, București, 1989 – Premiul Academiei române pe 1989), Nostalgia (ediție integrală a cărții Visul, Editura Humanitas, București, 1993)
- Orbitor. Aripa stângă, Editura Humanitas, București, 1996
- Orbitor. Corpul, Editura Humanitas, București, 2002
- Orbitor. Aripa dreaptă, Editura Humanitas, București, 2007
- Travesti, Editura Humanitas, București, 1994, Premiul Uniunii Scriitorilor și Premiul ASPRO pe 1994
- Enciclopedia zmeilor, Editura Humanitas, București, 2005
- Frumoasele străine, Editura Humanitas, București, 2010
Essays and journalism
- Visul chimeric, Editura Litera, București, 1992
- Postmodernismul românesc, Editura Humanitas, București, 1999
- Pururi tânăr, înfășurat în pixeli, Editura Humanitas, București, 2002
- De ce iubim femeile, Editura Humanitas, București, 2004
- Baroane!, Editura Humanitas, București, 2005
- Ochiul căprui al dragostei noastre, Editura Humanitas, București, 2012
Honors and prizes
- 1980: Premiul Uniunii Scriitorilor din România
- 1989: Premiul Academiei Române
- 1990: Premiul Uniunii Scriitorilor din România, Premiul revistei Flacăra, Premiul revistei Ateneu, Premiul revistri Tomis, Premiul revistei Cuvântul
- 1992: Le Rêve nominalizare pentru: Prix Mèdicis, Premiul Uniunii Latine, Le meilleur livre étranger
- 1994: Premiul Uniunii Scriitorilor din România, Premiul ASPRO, Premiul Uniunii Scriitorilor din Republica Moldova
- 1996: Premiul ASPRO, Premiul revistei Flacăra, Premiul revistei Ateneu, Premiul revistei Tomis, Premiul revistei Cuvântul
- 1997: Premiul revistei Flacăra, Premiul revistei Ateneu, Premiul revistei Tomis, Premiul revistei Cuvântul
- 1999: traducerea în limba franceză a romanului Orbitor, nominalizat pentru Premiul Uniunii Latine
- 2000: Premiul Uniunii Scriitorilor din România
- 2002: Premiul ASPRO, Premiul AER
- 2005: Premiul literar ,,Giuseppe Acerbi’’, Castel Goffredo, Italia
- 2006: ,,Meritul cultural’’ în grad de mare ofițer, acordat de către Președintele României
- 2011: Premiul Internațional pentru Literatură de la Valenica
- 2012: Premiul Internațional pentru Literatură „Haus der Kulturen der Welt 2012”, Berlin
- 2013: Premiul Spycher – Literaturpreis Leuk în Elveția
- 2013: Marele Premiu al Festivalului Internațional de Poezie de la Novi Sad
On the 15th of January, we invited Ms Adina Popescu, the author of the novel „Povestiri de pe Calea Moșilor” (Tales from the Moșilor Street, 2014). It is aimed at young readers aged 12 and up. The novel describes the childhood of those who grew up in the late eighties and early nineties, straddling the two political regimes. In the words of the author: “I believe I have been lucky to have lived through the tail end of the dictatorship, that I have been commander of the pioneers and that I harvested mulberry leaves for silk worms, although I admit that some of my anxieties and insecurities of today have their roots in those days. You will read about the life and everyday events on a seemingly banal street that has changed under my eyes, as I myself was growing up. This street keeps being my little world. The places of the book are there in real life: the intersection […] the Silvestru Church, the department store Bucur Obor, the side street that seemed sketchy to me as they had no blocks of flats and no central heating. Only the mulberry trees are gone; they were felled for unknown and unfathomable reasons. I wrote the book from the vantage point of the child of those days, at a time that I felt that, unless I return to those days to recover its remains, I shall be unable to go on with this burdensome and at times frustrating adulthood.”
We are planning to invite Ms Popescu to a Romanian class of the Grade 8. In the second quarter, they went through a unit covering the education in schools. They read the volume Amintiri de pe Calea Moșilor.
Adina Popescu writes regularly in Dilema Veche (http://dilemaveche.ro/category/autor/adina-popescu) and is the editor of Dilematix, a literary supplement for children published by Dilema veche (http://dilemaveche.ro/sectiune/dilematix)
Works in anthologies:
Cartea cu bunici (second edition), edit. Marius Chivu, Humanitas, 2009.
AMINTIRI DIN EPOCA DE ȘCOALĂ
So-called communism is a most important époque in the country’s recent history. We all are confronted with its legacy on a daily basis, and the children’s long term, real life assignment will be, whether they know it or not, to eradicate it from our society. Romanian students have been exposed to it by incidental reminiscences of their family members. Hence, it is of cardinal importance for them to gradually acquire a better and systematic knowledge of those times. While “communism” throughout the Eastern bloc has had many common traits, there also is a very pungent local flavor to its Romanian version.
In the second quarter, we learned about how “communism” was reflected in the Romanian schools of the day. Adina Popescu’s 2014 novel Calea Moșilor (Editura Casa de Pariuri Literare) is an excellent literary primer on what school used to be under the communist regime. Theater can offer a more immediate and more concentrated version of this reality.
On the 15th of December, we invited a professional theater group that showed “Amintiri din epoca de școală.” The title literally means “Memories of School Days,” but the spiteful memory of the Ceausescu era is lost in translation. We invited the author Mihaela Michailov, the director Radu Apostol, and the actors Katia Pascariu and Alexandru Potocean to a Romanian class of the grade 8. The show was performed in its entirety in class.
In the second quarter, eighth graders went through a unit covering education in school, in general. They read “Romanul adolescentului miop” by Mircea Eliade, dealing with education between the two World Wars, and “Calea Moșilor” by Adina Popescu, about education during the last years of the communist period. Both novels could be rightly categorized under historical fiction.
In January, the students went on a field trip to the “Spiru Haret” school where Mircea Eliade had graduated from in 1925 and they met the author of the second novel, Ms Adina Popescu. The third strand in the loom of the theme ‘school in the past,’ was the play “Amintiri din epoca de școală.” The show capitalizes on the personal experience of the actors of the cast, reliving, in a fictionalized way, their clashes with teachers, parents and class mates. Their stories are interweaved with musings and reflections on the Romanian school system, which used to be the battlefield over control and power.
After having watched the play, the students had the opportunity to enter a dialog with its author, director and actors, so that they could gain an insight into the their personal reasons for doing the play.
The following is a translation of the blurb provided by the team about the play:
“To whom does school belong? To whom did it belong yesterday, to whom does it belong today? In what sort of schools would we like to study? Why are we afraid of making mistakes?
If every child would be welcome to say what he or she thinks without worrying that she might be wrong, if the Mioritza would not always be about transhumance, if history were not written by those who have the power, if hypothenuse and catheti, Horea, Cloșca and Crișan, plains and highlands, the Dacians and the Romans, Ana with her apples and Călin of the Fairy Tale; if they would all neatly meet up in our minds and we could make sense of why are we supposed to be learning all this, then, perhaps, school itself would be about each one and all of us.
Our show is about our stories and our questions that have no place in school, because there, we are busy learning about what does not really matter to us. It is about what we feel and what we think while we quietly sit in class, while we subject ourselves to behave at institutions that expect of us to behave, to be quiet, and to be house broken.
“Amintiri din epoca de școală’” is a show about personal memories from our school days, about meeting our selves of yesteryear, at our assigned seats in class, at the blackboard, about our fears, our mistakes, our silences and our expectations, about our nonsensical daydreams, which when caught in the act, our teachers would shame us by making us stand. Because we weren’t paying attention. Because we didn’t solve the equation. Because we gave the wrong answer. Because we spoke out of turn.
The International day of older persons is on October 1st.
In 8th grade, we completed a unit entitled Poetry on The Theme of the Family. One of the poems studied in this unit – Să se vadă, was written by Ioana Nicolaie. She is one of the authors of the anthology The Book of Grandparents (Humanitas, 2007) and has published two volumes of poetry on the theme of the family: The North and Faith. We invited Ioana Nicolaie to AISB. The activity was designed for eighth graders.
The objective of this meeting was to discuss family with an author, especially about grandparents, and how this is treated in literature, and an introduction to contemporary poetry by means of an author in flesh and blood.
One cannot speak only about the actor, or the director, or the writer Dan Puric, because his work is a whole that has its roots in memory and in Romanian identity. In reviews abroad, he was called a “master of perfection and inventiveness, of dark humor, who innovates the art pantomime of Chaplin and Marceau.”
The pantomime show, ‘Romanian Soul,’ that we proposed for the closing of the Romanian Week (March 20, at 6:30PM, in the theater) is a new and emblematic show that premiered on Romania’s National Holiday, December 1st, 2014, at the National Theater in Bucharest. ‘Romanian Soul’ is an outburst of revolt, humor and hope, a metaphor that lifts the Romanian Man out of the squalor of this world, and unveils a mystical perspective of history to help him be reborn. It is an unequaled tour of talent and virtuosity in artistic expression. Through pantomime and dance, Dan Puric tells the story of the Romanian people freeing from communism, and their efforts to adapt to the western system at the cost of great humiliation and suffering, without being understood by the West. You leave after the show as if awaken from a slumber, with a lucidity that makes you ask who you really are.
“Pantomime is, in a way, my way of longing for painting, for the intimacy of the painter in front of his easel (…) I long after the eloquence of silence, a silence full of meaning, which I must find the expression for in gesture,” says the artist.
Other shows by the author: Pantomimia, Toujours l’amour, A dream, Costumes, Hic sunt leones, Made in Romania, Fă-mă, mamă, cu noroc și aruncă-mă în foc!, Don Quijote, Înșir-te, mărgărite
Books by Dan Puric: Who We Are, The Beautiful Man, Have Dignity, Romanian Soul
Awards and Prizes
- UNITER Prize of the International Association of Theater Critics, Romanian Section, Prize for Pantomime – Theater XXI Foundation (1997)
- Cavalier of the National Order ‘The Romanian Star,’ “for exceptional service to culture” (2000)
- The Grand Prize of the Anastasia Foundation (2002) The Grand Prize of the One Man Show Festival, Chișinău (2003)
- Uniter Prize for Non-verbal Theater (2003)
- Aristizza Romanescu Prize of the Romanian Academy, for theater and cinematography (2006)
- Prize of Excellence, Master of Romanian Theater, Ambassador of the Romanian Spirit, Using Science As Universal Language – Den Braven, Netherlands (2006)
- Grand Prize of the 8th International Festival of Monodrama, Bitolia, Macedonia (2008)
- The Cross of the Royal House, handed by His Majesty, King Michael I of Romania (2009)
Dan Puric: Romanian Soul (synopsis)
The story begins during the times of communist dictatorship. Life used to be hard in the communist ghetto: no heat and hot water in homes, broken elevators, power outages. One had to show up and cheer at meetings and festivities. Dirty and overcrowded buses, many basic food items simply missing from the shelves of the stores. One could find retreat only at home, in the family circle, or alone, in the company of one’s dog.
After the revolution of 1989, a true exodus began from Romania into all parts of the world, but especially towards Western Europe. People were leaving in search of a better life. For some, this was also their first flight. It was the avenue of hopes.
The first scene presents the life of the Romanian emigrant in Italy, amazed by the beauty of the cities, whose life turns into a string of humiliations. They had to perform lowly jobs in pizza parlors, cleaning, washing dishes, often without a legal employment contract.
Next is Spain, which became for many who went there for work, ‘the country of strawberry pickers.’ Some had to stay at farms as undocumented slave laborers, with no pay, having to remain there for lack of an alternative and lack of hope.
The journey goes on to France, then to Germany. For each scene we hear the music of the respective country. In France, the main character cleans toilets and washes dishes; in Germany he works in construction. Many Romanians went to Greece. Our character is a waiter in a pub. Very many Romanians emigrated to the USA. Some earned their livings there as human punching bags.
All the scenes of the show are symbolic and illustrate the journeys of more than one million Romanians trying their luck in the wide world. A few succeeded. For the many who didn’t, leaving home meant being away from family, uprooted, humiliated, saving every penny, and refraining from every joy costing money.
The end of the show is indeed a return to ourselves. Nothing is more precious than having the strength to find yourself, being at home again, in the home of one’s own traditions and true values, to fight back at life and to find one’s dignity anew.
Dan Puric says this about the message of his show: “I wish to inscribe this show to the Romanian people and its untrammeled inner beauty that will help it to be renewed one day. By loving this beauty, it will also have the strength to help others heal as well.”
GRADE SEVEN – FAIRY TALES
In April 2014, the seventh graders taking Romanian Mother Tongue had a unit on the fairy tale. The major assignment was for each student to write a traditional or modern fairy tale. They were required to summarize their own fairy tale in a regular haiku (17 syllables). You can read their haikus at the beginning of each fairy tale.
Click on the image of each student below to share in their creative writing.
KING MATT THE FIRST
‘King Matt the First’ is a popular children’s novel by the Polish-Jewish author, educator and children’s rights advocate Janusz Korczak (1879-1942). Based on this story and on the Convention of the Rights of the Child (adopted by the UN in 1989), inspired in part by the work of Korczak, the Romanian mother tongue MS students presented a show on June 1, Children’s Day, at the Bookfest International Book Fair in Bucharest. It was performed again on June 2, at the AISB theater.
Enjoy the video footage below.