Continuing with the import of my entries from Guatemala this summer, please go to this link to check out the facilities where I stayed this summer. It’s full of pictures with just short descriptions, so it will be a better viewing experience if you just pop over to my other site for a sec. I’ll put the other entries here though:
June 8, 2012 –> Teaching Tercero:
I am currently teaching two completely different English classes, one is third grade (Tercero) and the other is a class of 5-6 year olds (Prepatoria). This post will specifically be about teaching the third grade students, and the activities I have done with them in the four and a half hours of classroom time we’ve spent together so far over the last two weeks. I decided to begin with a unit on body parts and transition into clothing for two reasons:
1. The students have been taking an English class here already. I wanted to start something completely new for them, because they tend to tune out things they think they already know.
2. These units were really successful when I was in Guatemala last year, and I already had lots of ideas and ways to improve on previous plans. You can see these units last year here.
Something important I learned last year was to establish a system for learning right away. I started my first class by teaching them words and actions for the words “Listen,” “Repeat,” and “In Spanish?” so that I could efficiently teach and quiz them on vocabulary while utilizing as much English as possible.
We labeled paper-doll-type body cutouts as we learned each word. I always called the doll “body” so that served to reinforce this word. After this we worked on the actions to the song “Head and Shoulders.” The first day we only learned the words “head, shoulders, knees, and toes.” When we sang the song we just substituted “La, la, la, la, laaaaa, la” to the tune of “eyes and ears and mouth and nose” so that they could focus on the pronunciation and meaning of the other vocabulary.
The next day we focused specifically on the parts of the face. I taught them the verbs “write” and “draw” and used them to fill in the faces on their “bodies. We also really focused on enunciation in the song. I wouldn’t let them sing it faster until I was satisfied with their pronunciation, and this seemed to be sufficient motivation. I also showed them the video of my class last year and told them I would record them and we could see who sang best. Here’s what the song looked like on day 3:
Each day after learning the content we played Simon Says (which they already knew as “Simon dice”) with the words. I taught the verb “touch” and would say things like “Simon says touch your shoulders. Simon says touch your head. Now touch your nose.” We played it until we found a winner a few times, which was an easy assessment tool to see who really knew their vocabulary well. I would go really fast once it got down to just a few students, and I was surprised how well they kept up.
After reviewing all the body parts and verbs (write, draw, say, read, touch, listen, repeat) and writing them all randomly across the board, I gave each student a notecard. I then would point to a body part or say a verb in Spanish and they would have to find the word on the board and write it on their card. Some students still spelled the words phonetically, and there was some confusion between “read” and “head,” but only two students missed more than one and eight got 100%. I then had the students turn their cards over and write three words that they wanted to learn in English so I could see what they were interested in:
I brought a huge bag full of clothing to use as visuals while teaching clothing. We added clothing to our “bodies” from the body unit as we learned, and they ended up super cute! The was also a good chance to teach the verb and noun “glue.” We reviewed verbs at this time and wrote down all the verbs we knew so far in our “notebooks,” another word learned!
The vocab for the dolls included “hat, shirt, jacket, pants, and shoes.” I also taught “dress” and “socks” for use in a game later. The kids love the dolls, and were sad when I collected them, but they are a really big distraction in class otherwise. I gave them back at the end of class on Friday so they could take them home.
We played the clothing relay game like last year, but this time we didn’t have teams. I had each student draw a number out of the hat to find an opponent, and so both students who chose “one” had to come and find the clothing in the pile the fastest. The winner wrote his/her name on the board next to the 1. and we continued that way through ten. Then the winners from rounds one and two challenged each other, three and four, etc. We kept going until we had a champion and I brought prizes for the winners of each round. This was yesterday, but when I came in today the students all kept asking me if we could play again, so I think they enjoyed it.
After this we learned our last two body parts, “hand and foot.” I waited to teach these because they go with the song “the Hokey Pokey” and so I wanted to space out the songs with clothing between. Also this starts us on part of our next unit with opposites, because I then had them make an “opposite list” and we learned the words “in” and “out.” We will keep adding to this list throughout my time here. I edited another video to create a SUPER simple version of the Hokey Pokey, which I daresay others might want to use in their classrooms. It doesn’t use “right” or “left” or any extra words. Check it out:
I know this was long, but I thought it might help someone else. Also, I wanted to show that I am actually doing something productive down here! It’s been a lot of fun and I’m learning so much. I will post about the younger kids next week once I get some more pictures!
June 16, 2012 –> God Speaks Spanish
knew this, of course, but it’s so easy to forget how big God is. I’ve had the opportunity to witness so many incredible things here, to hear stories from great men and women of God, and to participate in the day-to-day experience of sharing life together as a body of believers. That whole new testament church thing from Acts 2 that people are always envisioning? Yeah. It actually exists.
When I talk about the church here, I am talking about the general Christian community, not a specific building and membership group. I have been to more churches in the USA than I can count, and I feel as though I have a pretty good grasp on the way things are done there, even across a variety of denominations and demographics. (So, that would be “the church” in the States.) Not that “the church” here is better or perfect in any way, but there are some differences I have observed and enjoyed.
When I took the Perspectives class last semester, I learned how different culture groups bring out different aspects of God’s character. He’s still the same God, but our worldview and values affect the way we interpret who God is. By participating in this culture, I am essentially getting to know another side of God that I could have never seen in the States. I am incredibly jealous of missionaries who have worked with numerous cultures and therefore know God in an unparalleled way. I want to know God in a tribe in Africa, God in each caste level in India, God in the Middle East, God in China. I can’t even get my mind around it.
At least three or four nights a week, we load up the bus and head into town, picking up various church members on the way to someone’s house or place of business. Sometimes we meet because someone was unable to make it to the church service, but other times because a family wants to have us in their home. We have some worship, prayer, a message, and then we usually eat something small together with a warm drink. There are usually about 15 to 20 people at these meetings. Click here to see an image of Joaquin leading worship.
House church meeting.
Mother’s day was the first big event I was here for. There was a celebration at the school, and then another with the church. Both events had meals. The one with the women of the church included games, special music, and a time when the women could all write down what they desired most for their children and then prayed over it. With the school all the students prepared songs and dances with costumes. My job was to hang out with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade girls that were not performing and help them get changed and such.
We did something similar for Father’s day, and I got to go to the market and then cook with the women all day. There will be another blog post about cooking here in Guatemala, so that will go there. But there were songs, decorations, games, and a dinner at that event too.
We did an event with some of the youth here that are training to be PE teachers. There were a few messages, including a neat Eagle rebirth analogy that later turned out to be false. We ate and got to talk to some of the students. One young man ended up calling the pastor early one morning to talk, and then coming to church that Sunday and giving his life to Christ. So cool!
That’s me on the bottom-right in the purple.
The last event that we did took place in a men’s alcohol rehabilitation center. About 30 men live there. We spent the afternoon making snacks for them (tortillas with beans and goat cheese) and horchata to drink. We showed a film about men struggling with alcoholism and how Christ can help you change and then delivered a short message. A lot of the men seemed to be really thinking, so hopefully we made a difference.
Each Sunday we meet at around 4pm. I have written about the church here on the compound before, so I will just show some pictures as previously promised:
Pastor Tony from Nicaragua preaching while pastor Joaquin plays piano in the background.
The general size of the congregation. I’m sitting on the back row, directly to the right of the window along the back wall.
One Sunday we went to church with one of the teachers here and got connected with some other ministries and North American missionaries. Hopefully we will be involved more with them this week and I can write more about that at a later time.
Heading to El Salvador tomorrow with the school staff for a little midterm vacation at a resort. Can’t wait!
An apology to those who get updates to my blog sent to their email. There will only be one more section, don’t worry!