A group of 7 volunteers take the chicken bus out on their daily route to Elba Zamora, arriving at 9 am to begin teaching summer school classes to the neighborhood children. They meet ayudantes Chilo and Belkys and begin the day.
The volunteers have split into groups to work with different grade levels, currently with Sally and Sandra leading the 4th through 6th graders in one classroom, Lium, Matt and Lisa working with 2nd and 3rd graders in another classroom, and Francie, Lara, and myself (Navi) working with the 1st grade students outside.
Monday through Thursday consists of teaching math, Spanish and either art or English. Fridays are always filled with excitement, as the art projects tend to be more elaborate, followed by cleaning the school and heading out to a nearby field for soccer and frisbee fun. Another perk is that everyday the kids have recess and snack at 10 a.m. (fruit and cookies, yum!).
Today is a Wednesday, and most groups begin with Spanish. The 1st graders are lucky to have two or three volunteers allowing for one on one attention and partner work. They begin by reviewing alphabet letters a through i on handmade cards with sandpaper letters, repeating the letter names and sounds, drawing the letters in the air with their fingers, and matching letters to corresponding pictures. The lesson is followed by a game of alphabet bingo, where the kids win stickers (which to them is as good as gold). For math the students review numbers 1 through 10 using similar strategies as mentioned above, and then play an addition game using number lines drawn on the ground with chalk so that the student can physically move the amount of spaces necessary. For example, 3 + 5, the student starts on the number 3 and take 5 steps up the line to the number 8 for the answer.
The 2nd and 3rd grade group are learning subjects and verbs, and start by reviewing the definition of each from classroom posters. Next, the volunteers pass out strips of papers to each student with either a subject or a verb on them, and they take turns coming up to the board and sharing them with the class in order to make a silly sentence like, "El payaso vive en la nevera." ("The clown lives in the fridge.") At the end of the lesson each student writes 5 sentences of their own, identifying the subject and verb. Math for this group includes reviewing multiplication problems using a chart and then playing a math game where the students throw a ball covered in math problems from person to person. Whoever catches the ball has to answer the question that their thumb landed on when they caught it.
Recess today, and most days, breaks up the Spanish and Math lessons with an intense game of soccer with students, ayudantes, and volunteers alike played on the porch/sidewalk area right outside the class.
4th, 5th, and 6th graders studied math first, where Sandra had a multiplication table written on the board so the students could review the facts. After the review, the students sat in a circle and took turns throwing dice for multiplication problems and answered them without the use of the chart on the board. This lesson blended smoothly into the English one that followed, as Sally filled in the multiplication chart anew, this time with the numbers written in English for the students to learn. After practicing numbers, the kids showed their continued enthusiasm for learning professions in English as well.
The day culminated with making sea themed mobiles with foamy fish cut-outs and shells for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders, while the older kids improved their much loved bracelet making skills!
Due to something silly like forgetting the camera on this particular day, here are some of the following days activities:
1st graders bingo: numbers 1 - 25
2nd and 3rd graders multiplication bingo
4th - 6th graders, English class