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.
This week at Amiguitos the students were very enthusiastic about the lesson, which made it more fun to teach. Although the are all a bit over the “Buenos Dias” song, we were able to engage them enough in the numbers and colors song to keep them engaged. For the number song—which they had by now mastered—we had them hold up their fingers while they sang, adding an extra challenge to keep their minds working. After the color song, we asked the students who in the class was wearing certain colors, and they seemed to enjoy that. Additionally, one of the students was having a birthday, so we taught the kids how to say “happy birthday” in Spanish. This week, teaching “quiero” to the students went much more smoothly. We gave only a couple examples, and then mostly asked questions to the class to get them involved. When we asked questions, all the kids would raise their hands, even if they had no idea what the answer was, which was endearing and wonderful that they were so enthusiastic about participating. In fact, they wanted to participate so badly that sometimes we had a hard time keeping control over the classroom, so for next time I think we could improve by requesting that they we be sure to raise their hand if they would like to contribute. Our work in the schools is beneficial because it is helpful to the teacher to incorporate more diverse subjects into the curriculum. When we are leaving each week, I often hear Mrs. Harvey review with the children what they had just learned and tying into their current lesson. For me, I enjoy teaching because helping my community helps me to see life from a broader perspective. It can be too easy to get bogged down in my own problems, but working with the children reminds me to be thankful and smile.
This week was the last week that we focused on learning about the family. At some point before we entered the classroom, the teacher must have instructed the children to participate more and be more enthusiastic because this week they were very excited about learning in particular. At some points, it was a little hard to keep control over the classroom because the students were all trying to race each other to say the right answer or yell the right answer repeatedly. However, I would much rather have it this way than working with a silent class. This week, the group that I worked with requested that I read the entire book in Spanish and then returned to the beginning to read in English. I agreed because I didn’t see the harm in doing so, and it seemed to go quite well. When reading the second time, I could point out the correlating words so the children could make a connection. Although I may need to try it both ways a few more times, I see this as a way we could improve our teaching to the students. I think in general we need to question how we do things and consider if other modes could be more effective. From this experience with the children, I was able to see that our work with them is allowing the children to use critical thinking. Whenever an environment changes for the students, such as the teachers leading the class or the language being spoken, their minds open to a knew perspective which requires them to think in a different way. By us simply “mixing up” the classroom, the students have the opportunity to grow. It is also allowing me to grow, as I am learning to work with peers I might otherwise not have worked with. We were paired together fairly randomly, but my group has learned to work together very well. We have grown in team work and help each other. We also discuss each session when walking back, which facilitates the movement of new ideas and allows us to improve each time. This experience has helped me to work better with others.
This week we taught the kindergarteners the phrases “me gusta” and “no me gusta” along with reviewing colors, common phrases and animals. There improvement on learning the colors is apparent, although they still seem to struggle with the common phrases and the animals. I tried to give them little tricks to remember the vocabulary, so hopefully those will help in the future. Additionally, the students had a very hard time learning me gusta and no me gusta because when we were teaching them, we would ask “¿te gusta?” and they would reply “sí, te gusta.” They did not understand that rather than repeating exactly what we had said, they needed to conjugate the indirect object pronoun to apply to themselves. To explain the actual grammar that was occurring in the conjugation would be too advanced for these children, so perhaps next week we can teach them that when replying to “¿te gusta?” they should reply “me gusta” because me sounds like me. Hopefully this memory aid will not affect their pronunciation but rather help the children to remember how to conjugate.
Our work in the community is beneficial because it teaches the students that long-term effort bears results. Learning a new language is not easy, and memorization takes time. These children have the opportunity to work a little more each week and see themselves improve. Hopefully, in the future, these children can apply this skill when studying for other subjects. Use of this skill could decrease procrastination and help students to be more prepared for class.
In the beginning of class before our presentation started, I noticed one of the boys’ shoe was untied. I leaned down to tie it for him, and he thanked me politely. For the rest of the class, children would run up to be and request that I tie their shoes for them. Through this I was able to hold small conversations with them and try to make connections. In the future, I would like to continue working on the skill of engaging the students and become a trusted figure in their lives
This week we continued to work with the kindergarteners on animals, colors and common phrases. I read the book Oso pardo, oso pardo, ¿qué ves ahí? The students enjoy the book very much because they have read it before in English. At the end of the book I reviewed with them the names of some of the animals in order to enhance their understanding. We also played a game in which the students would choose an animal, a color and a common phrase from different packets and attempt to name each one. The game was quite challenging for them and they had a difficult time remembering the animals especially. This week our group had difficulties in disciplining the children. They were very energetic, so they were fighting with each other and having a hard time focusing. I hope in future weeks we can encourage them to show their “Star Pride” or call the teacher for assistances when students continue to act up. My group impacts the community by acting as role models for the children. They see us being kind to each other and getting excited about learning. When they see college students doing this, they try to imitate the behavior. This week was a learning experience for me in the rate at which children learn. When I first started teaching them, I expected that they would catch on right away. However, children have a harder time retaining information than older people do, so even if you had asked them to repeat a word just moments earlier, they may still have a hard time remembering. Often, in order for children to learn, you must form a connection for them. For instance, the children can always remember the name of their favorite color because it has special meaning for them. They also remember phrases that have a song to go with them, such as the number song. I believe if we had some Spanish animal song for the students, they would remember the names of the animals far more easily.
This was the first week my group was able to work with the kindergartners because last week they were on a field trip. When we entered the classroom, they were all very excited to see us. We reviewed material they had learned last semester and taught them new material which included the names animals. The children were very enthusiastic and loved the pictures of the animals. After going through the presentation we split into small groups. I read my students the book Oso pardo, oso pardo, ¿qué ves ahí? They all knew this book in English, which allowed them to follow along easily. I was glad this was the book I chose because the kids stayed very interested and were able to make their own connections. The game we played after was a little difficult for the children. They could sometimes remember the vocabulary for the colors but couldn't remember the common phrases or the animals. Hopefully, with a few more weeks of practice they will improve. We closed by singing the goodbye song. The children were sad to see us go but we assured them that we would come back next week. I think our group did very well for it being our first time. We hope to improve the fluidity of the presentation and definitely plan to practice the goodbye song. Personally, I'd like to keep the kids in my small group a little more focused, as we would go off on tangents, and I would struggle to bring them back. I believe the work we are doing is beneficial to the children because it exposes them to language different and gets them excited about other cultures. I see it as planting a seed. Hopefully as these students continue in their education, they will remember the Spanish they learned in kindergarten and continue to take Spanish classes. The work we do gives them a little bit of a head start. Before I started this community service project, I thought I didn't like kids. They stressed me out, and I was always worried I was going to say the wrong thing to them. This week helped me to see what an incredible joy children are. They are so bright and hopeful. My ability to talk and work with children improved immensely this week. I'm excited to be able to work with them again, and I hope my skills will continue to improve.