Saturday, April 14, 2007

Nicaragua: my classroom and kids

This is the stuff that makes me feel gooey: showing you my kids and my classroom.

In these photos, Nelson plays with blocks, four kids color at a little table, and Albaro reads a book to Eva. We have this book that counts from 1 to 20, each time displaying that number of animals. I can say it from memory by this point: one moose, two crabs, four whales, seventeen dogs, etc. In each picture there´s a cat hiding behind the number or hidden in with the animals, so when we read the book I always have them say what animal it is, count how many, and find the cat. Well, one day Albaro was just sitting looking at the book and Eva was playing with blocks. Albaro is little, like 4 years old or maybe 3, but Eva is littler. She has a tiny vocabulary. So Albaro plays teacher. He turns the page and asks her what animal it is. He turns the page and asks where the cat is. This is the kind of thing that encourages me that they are actually learning even when it seems like they haven´t been paying attention. Because normally Albaro is not paying attention. Oh, and these are morning photos.

One day we were doing clay and Edwin (I am so proud) got the idea to make letters out of clay all by himself. So he commenced making his name but needed help. I made a model and Nelson, pictured here, copied it. Later Nelson and Tatiana got bored with clay so (joy of joys for me to see!) they got out some books and started reading to themselves!!! Yay!

One day Isaac (my host brother) came to school to do community service for a school scholarship by helping in Chacocente. Here he is reading a book to my kids at the end of the day. These were taken on February 12, a few weeks after school started, and I remember feeling so much longing to speak as fluently as he could with the kids. My Spanish has definitely improved since then. I can talk to them more quickly, and understand them more often. Just imagine my situation- it´s hard enough to understand preschoolers when they talk in the listener´s native language!

Since this picture was taken, we have gotten one new student, so 10 kids are pictured but there are now 11. These are my 3rd level kids from 10:30 to 2:30. In the morning I have levels 1 and 2 from 8:00 to 10:30.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

I know how you feel about trying to communicate with small children in a language that isn't your own - on the plane ride over to France, I was sitting next to a five-year-old French girl. This was my first experience dealing with someone who didn't speak any English. But this girl was very sweet and friendly, and wanted very much to talk to me, so I did the best I could. At one point, I accidentally asked her a question using the formal form of you instead of the informal that you should use for a small child. The little girl spent about 15 minutes laughing at me, which was the best thing that could have happened because she made it easier for me to laugh at myself for that mistake and all the others that I made during that year. So even though I could only understand a very little bit of what came out of her mouth, she helped me to take myself less seriously and be more willing to speak to people, even if I made mistakes. I hope that working with kids has done the same thing for you, even if they're hard to understand!

PS: I love looking at your pictures!