This has been another productive day!!! The participants' homework was to write a lesson plan using the format we provided. We surprised them by having them teach the lesson to their group and many of them came prepared with materials!!! We also had one student act as he/she had ADHD so we had some very funny moments. We sure enjoyed learning from them-- and especially how resourceful they are in their teaching. They must pay for any supply they use and they are not paid much-- even in relation to the Nicaraguan economy. One teacher brought in match sticks to teach about Braille, another came in with a picture of Dora the Explorer to teach colors and another brought in a small cereal box made into a TV. One of the students got up and started running around while another kept taking other people's things. Ulises warned them that he remembers me (Julie) from class and that they'd better fully participate or else they'd get me for a student which is really bad. :-)
We have been conscientious about building upon things we've been doing all week. We've also been doing all we can to create a warm, hospitable environment where they feel comfortable participating and being themselves. "We can't do that because we live in Nicaragua" has not been a phrase used this week--- they truly want to make an impact in education. During Bloom's Taxonomy Kris challenged them to come up with questions for each level related to Nicaraguan History and to work at creating questions at the higher levels instead of just the Knowledge level. Then, when discussing Multiple Intelligences, the teachers were given a few minutes to come up with an activity related to the category they were given-- but they needed to relate it back to Nicaraguan history since it had been a topic already. The eight groups were able to demonstrate the concepts and one group even broke into song. Soon-- all the Nicaraguans were proudly singing and clapping to their National Anthem. This was a remarkable moment for me and of course, I had tears in my eyes.
We have been emphasizing positive reinforcement and immediate feedback. They are very serious!! Kris and I independently looked over their homework assignment from the night before. I wrote two stars on the papers and Kris wrote one. They were concerned that they were doing something wrong!! (of course, it was very rudimentary grading in our limited Spanish) There are two people who cannot be here tomorrow because it is graduation at their school. They were really concerned about missing class tomorrow but we reassured them they needed to be with their students. :-) Thankfully, we had an extra translator today who was able to help out Ulises and we had the materials ready for the Unit Plan. We were able to give them the papers and there were no complaints.
We took a class picture and several wanted to have their picture taken with us. I have been posting a powerpoint slide show every morning with some of the pictures we have taken. Several have asked to have copies of the pictures and will be bringing their own flash drives tomorrow.
Resourceful, intentional, devoted--- these are the teachers we have been privileged to interact with this week!!
Julie (& Kris)