Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Recent Learning and Field Trip-ing of Munoz

To me, the most notable and impressive quality expressed by students in Munoz has been their eagerness to learn. In less developed countries and regions, young children often don´t have the same access to toys, books, pictures, or activities that are taken for granted in a lot of modern schools. This past week, we got our hands on some activities and worksheets in Creole for our students at the United Brothers School of Munoz who are still gaining control of their writing hand. It´s hard to just start whipping out t´s and y´s-! We forget sometimes that we had to learn how to hold a pencil or how to draw a circle... and with these new worksheets and activities, it´s been a lot easier to teach and to learn basic writing skills. Small activities with pictures that say ¨Help the bee get to the flower in order to pollinate!¨and ¨Draw small circles on the butterfly´s wings, like the example¨and ¨Draw lines of how the bird flies¨ and ¨Draw a line of how the mango falls to the boy¨ not only work on hand control, but introduce concepts like pollination and gravity.

And the kids love them! One little boy, Eneorie, was jumping up and down after finishing each sheet, asking for the next one. ¨Another one, Kelly, another one!¨

Edwin focusing hard on his new worksheet!

The students in the English classes are been equally engaged and excited about learning. After learning some basic vocab of colors, shapes, and some animals, we introduced a fun competitive game to make sure the vocab stuck. You´d be amazed (maybe not) at how competitive middle school kids can get! We erased the number of points and switched around team members a few times to keep the fun up and competition low. Kids would race to search for the cut out of the ¨blue star¨or ¨green pencil¨ to then hold it up and tell the leader ¨This is a blue star.¨ At one point, students were rushing towards me holding up the ¨red cat¨ and shouting ¨She is red cat!¨ It was comical at times how into it they got... eventually we got them saying clearly ¨This is a red cat.¨ Success! 

We moved away from traditional vocabulary this week as we prepared for our big excursion this weekend into sea life and beach vocab. Project Esperanza was lucky enough to connect with Andrew Joseph Morin, a biologist from Alaska, who brought lots of scuba gear for children and laminated photos to teach about aquatic life (in English!). He´s been helping in PE´s English class and wanted to take our English students on a scuba excursion to the beach. So we prepared! Our kids learned ¨lobster,¨¨octopus,¨ ¨shrimp,¨ ¨to swim¨ and other sea vocab. 

Gabby describing a ¨frog¨ to the group

And finally our beach days arrived. Saturday we weren´t expecting many kids, the majority said they were coming on Sunday. We said come at 10 am (Latino time, meaning hopefully we´d leave by 11), and by 11 am we were on the Pueblito beach with ten of our English students. The next day, at 9:30 am there were students ringing my doorbell saying, ¨Kelly, let´s go to the beach, let´s go!¨ (in English, of course, which made me happy). So Sunday we took on Pueblito again with twenty students. They searched for sea life scubaing, spotted an inking octopus-!, caught small fish, learned about the decomposition (and lack there of) of plastic bags and cups, had a wonderful lunch, and lots and lots of fun. It was so heart warming to see ten students run across the beach shouting ¨We saw an octopus, We saw an octopus!¨We even managed to fit in a beach clean up for half an hour after our lesson about the importance of recycling and the detrimental effects littering on the beach can have on the delicate eco-system. 

It´s also been a goal to help impart important moral lessons and values to our English students. If they come in late to class, they have to stand in front of class and apologize for their tardiness. The rest of the class responds, ¨It´s okay, (enter student name here)!¨ No fighting is allowed, respect is always required, and kindness and consideration are always encouraged. Hence, on our excursion our students learned to say ¨I like to share¨ in English as they shared parts of their lunch or drinks or shells found on the beach. All in all, a successful and educational excursion for our Munoz kids! 

Wilfrido sharing his jugo natural with Mario- so sweet!

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