Thursday, September 5, 2013

New World-wise school class

     The school year in the United States has started up again and it's time for a new World-wise school project. My partner teacher from last academic year, Mr. Klein, has retired from teaching. This year I've partnered with a Ms. Nielsen at Escalante Middle School in my home town, Durango. I'll be writing to them over the course of the school year to tell them about my Peace Corps service in Peru.
     I've also teamed up with Profesora Hilda, a sixth grade teacher here in Marco. She has a class of 22 students, most of them 11 years old. About half the class had English with me last summer (January and February) in the town's summer school program, "Vacaciones Utiles". We did a lot of games and songs to learn beginning English. These are the kids that call out my name ("Senorita Elena"!) when they see me around town, and often run up to give me a kiss. It's really comfortable to work with this particular class because I have a warm relationship with so many of them already.

     Each of Miss Hilda's students will have a 6th grade pen pal from Durango. Yesterday we picked pen pals. Ms. Neilsen had emailed a photo of her class and the names of the students. Her students also told us 2 things they like. Each of my students picked the name of an American student from a basket, and then rushed up to the photo on the wall to see what their pen pal looked like.
     Afterward, we had a lesson on the verb "to like". My students called out the things their partners liked. We collected this vocabulary on papelotes. I wrote the English and Miss Hilda wrote the Spanish.
     After that, each Peruvian student wrote two things they like on a slip of paper. Our pen pals in the USA will get their partner's name, age and two things they like, so they have something to talk about when they write their first letters to their new friends in the Southern Hemisphere.
     Pretty much all of the boys listed soccer as one of the things they like and most of the girls listed volleyball. Here in Peru, sports are very gender segregated. All boys play soccer and all girls play volleyball. Other favorite activities were acting, drawing, fishing, swimming, singing, writing, animals, reading, karate, riding a bike, football and computer games. I can attest to the latter. I live above the town's only internet cafe and there's a steady stream of kids down there, using up the bandwidth playing games. I can tell when school gets out because my connectivity drops.
     We went out to the school patio and took a picture of the class, which I have emailed to Durango so our new friends can see what their pen pals look like.
Then I told them I wanted to take "una foto loca" of the class. This was the result:
     Everyone here is excited to learn about the United States, make friends with American kids and practice some English!

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