During language buddies today, the kids all had their own little projects to do for the first 25 minutes. Some kids had the opportunity to use iPads and play educational video games. Others had to read a short little book and answer questions pertaining to the book. The last group of kids were finishing their bear book and coloring pictures to go with the story they had made for their bear book. While the kids did their activities, I went around to see if anyone of them needed help. For the last 25 minutes of class, the kids got to watch a bit more of the Tom Sawyer movie. Overall, it was a productive day.
How has this experience enabled you to observe your own culture(s)
with new eyes?
Being placed in a class with a group of kids who are learning the english language has really shown me how diverse Saint Peter has gotten. When I went to Saint Peter schools, there wasn't much diversity. Being able to go back to work with the kids, I can see how much Saint Peter has grown as a community. In particular, the group of kids that I have been able to working with, a majority if them speak arabic. When I was in middle school, there weren't many arabic speaking children.
-Did you have a particular experience that led you to think critically
about your own culture(s)?
Through language buddies, I have met a 5th grade boy who doesn't speak or understand english very well. Being able to try and interact with him has really made me think about how we as a country really need to have more English learning programs, but also more programs for people that speak english to learn different languages. We expect those from other countries to learn english to interact with us, but maybe we should be learning how to speak languages other then english. The United States is become more diverse every day and soon English will not be the primary language spoken.
This week I ended up having to lead the class alone which was a much different experience than it had been the past few weeks. This was a good test for my ability to lead the class on the last day. I know if that would have happened at the beginning of the semester I would have been very nervous about it. It was fun to go through the presentation one last time which made it really easy to see how much the students had learned this year. They sang all of the songs very confidently and it was really fun to see. I also got to read the book to the whole class instead of just a small group which they seemed to all enjoy. It made it easier to focus on just one thing instead of them getting distracted by what other groups around the classroom are doing. The kids and the teacher were all very grateful for our work in their classroom throughout the semester, they even sang to us as we were leaving for the day.
Today was another average hour. It was unique in that we were able to teach the students more than just to guide them. It was different in a number of ways from other impacts, but was also more difficult.
This was our final week of Amiguitos which was bitter sweet. It was incredible to see how much the kids had improved. We review all the common vocabulary and then continued into our quiero lesson. The students appeared to have a strong understanding of the vocabulary, which was a huge improvement from two weeks before. I then read the book El artista que pintó un caballo azul. The students informed me that this book had already been read to them before, so instead I went through the pictures and quizzed them on what each animal was called and what color it was. We finally ended with the matching game, which the students had become so good at that we started flipping the cards upside down. This week the group was very good at being enthusiastic and encouraging participation from the students. We could further improve by having more fluidity in our lesson. Often there were times when it was unclear who was teaching the next slide, so there would be a moment of silence until somebody jumped in. A more coordinated lesson would likely lead to greater understanding by the students. Upon reflecting on this experience, I can see how much we have inspire the kids to reach their greatest potential. Learning another language may have once seemed like a far-off goal to them, but now was becoming reality. My hope for the students is that they will take the empowerment from this experience and apply it to whatever field they hope to study in, whether that be science, language, music, mathematics or others. One the biggest things I gained from this experience was an appreciation for teachers. Teachers not only convey education material, but also have a large influence on the socialization of children, as many teachers spend more time with the kids than their parents do. My volunteering provided the opportunity for me to observe the strategies teachers use in their classroom and allowed me to use the same ones when working with the children. This will be helpful in any future context when I have to work with kids, so I am grateful for having the experience.