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Summer Camp, Episode 1: Time Flies When We're Having Fun

Tomorrow marks the end of two weeks of the Curso de Verano, LCEF's summer camp for local kids in grades 2-6. Things are rolling along quickly and we are all learning tons... especially the teachers! Last week our English class theme was "The Five Senses," which gave us lots to work with including fun vocabulary about the body, textures, smells, and tastes, and interactive games.

Neither Stephanie nor I had worked with so many kids before, especially of such varied ages, and we definitely discovered over the course of the week what types of classroom interaction work better than others. We generally stuck to 15 minutes of vocab teaching, a 20-ish minute experiential game, and 15 minutes with these workbooks we made which have lots of coloring and word games. The station-to-station games, like the one where you stick your hand into dark mysterious containers and guess the texture, worked the best because there was a lot of movement and everyone got to do each activity. Things like hangman and charades, which we do a lot of in the after-school classes, didn't work as well because it left some kids to look out the windows and wish it was time for art.


Speaking of art, Isa's classes are awesome. The projects generally went along with the English themes: fruitloop jewelery (taste), textured solar systems (touch), origami frogs and crocodiles (sight), and the beginnings of painted drums made of big old yogurt containers (hearing). Throughout all of the classes the space gets pretty hectic, but we are learning to go with it. Luckily we have handfuls of Wings scholarship student volunteers to help out. And a perfect end to the week: a swimming trip at Dean and Daniela`s pool!

This week of camp has held an exciting new project. Instead of just having an "environment week" in English class we were able to partner up with Yohaira, a biology student who lives in La Manzanilla, for lessons with much more depth. This is ideal because as we learned early on in the planning, you can only teach kids so much in their non-native language (global warming, ecosystem, and limited resources were out of the question).
Yohaira talking to the kids about environmental issues

 Yohaira came to us with a solid, age-appropriate curriculum about natural habitats, waste, decomposition, and other very important environmental issues. We have positioned her lessons during recreo, so once the kids get to English, not only have they been introduced to the concepts, but they are tired out from walking down the arroyo or beach in the morning sun. After their jaunts with Yohaira, picking up trash or exploring the ocean as a habitat (aka collecting sandcrabs in dirty cups they find), some of them aren't too keen on concentrating in the classroom, but they are quick to respond when we ask questions about the 3 R's, littering, and what is "good" and "bad" for the environment.

The kids were surprisingly eager to run around and pick up trash on the beach. Best Recreo ever!

The lessons are reiterated, too, in art class as they turn their own shoe boxes into seashore dioramas and their old toilet paper rolls into colorful pencil holders. Yohaira also wanted to work with the kids to share their knowledge with their families and the communities. She provided quotations in Spanish for posters which the kids decorated. They are now hanging in the Jardín and all over "mainstreet" La Manzanilla.

In many ways it seems consumption is much lower here because people reuse and repair things like clothing, toys, and appliances much more often. For example, when I first got here we went to Melaque to repair Nancy's old fan. In the states many would consider the fan "old" and buy a new one. However, packaging waste and littering is a huge problem and hopefully Yohaira's lessons and the signs in the Jardín will get people thinking about it in a new way.

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Reader Comments (1)

It's a learning opportunity for the kids beside their classroom.They can develop their mind and confidence by summer camp.It can be very helpful to concentrate their study.And this camp has a lot of facilities for the students which are totally a new experience for them.So don't miss this exciting summer camp.And thanks for the post which is very fascinated for everyone.

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