Monday, October 26, 2009

Highlight: Kid's English

Children’s English is a bi-weekly class led by PDs Leah and Jan Margaret with a great deal of support from Anina. The attendance has remained fairly constant and catered to our neighbors from 13.5 (“thirteen-five” - the folks who live right down the road at kilometer 13.5) and Chiquilistagua, the neighborhood surrounding El Salero. The rambunctious 10-or-so year olds always bring a lot of energy and sass to every class in the El Salero library. After completing units on the City and Transportation, Children’s English courses during the month of October focused on learning Animals. From zoo creatures to common ones such as dogs, cats, and geckos, we’ve introduced the children to the wild wonderful world of animals in English. The children seem to enjoy the fun activities that accompany classes such as Bingo or Memory, while as a teacher, I enjoy the interesting things we discover such as the fact that one student can do a perfect imitation of a cow moo. Moreover, the children have taken to yelling out the names of the animals we pass every day on the way to and from class: “Dog! Dog!” “Cow!” “Horse! Horse! Horse!” Little moments like this, when we catch them using and practicing what they’ve learned in class, always bring a smile to my face.

After a few months of transitioning, Leah and I have been able to make this class our own with an established structure for each day. We begin every course with the reading of the rules. Although our chavalos continually fight over who gets to read each rule (the “Ășltima” or last one being the class favorite), it seems like the constant repetition of classroom expectations helps the children focus and know what is to be asked of them. We continue by practicing introductions, common questions, and pronunciation. After our introduction, we introduce new words and review the old. An appropriate worksheet follows, and finally, the hour concludes with a game of some sort to captivate their attentions and engage their minds and memories. Provided that each child is well behaved and participates, they receive a sticker for good attendance - a prized item counted towards the attendance party held at the end of each unit/month. This month, we are also hoping to surprise the children with a trip to the local zoo in order to practice what they have learned thus far: city, transportation, and animal vocabulary.

Jan Margaret Rogers
Program Director
MPI Nicaragua

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