Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lost in Translation ?, but Making Progress

Tuesday started with 14 students and was filled with having students go to the Central Park area of Leon to observe behaviors and collect data after clearly identifying the target behavior.  They selected very interesting target behaviors:  number of people taking photos of the large La Gigantona, number of people who bought water from a stand, the number of women who went into the catacomb at the Cathedral, the number of people who used the restroom, etc.  After collecting data and comparing with their partner, they put together some nice graphs that were shared with the class along with their interpretation of the information.

On Wednesday we had a total of 19 students, but not all 19 were there at one time! Thursday we had 18 students in the morning and 17 students in the afternoon. Just part of the fun of planning when we really do not know who will show up and who will stay all day!! We get to rearrange the room many times! Wednesday and Thursday were spent examining the UDL principles and determining how to plan lessons taking the three principles into account.    Below are some examples while presenting Multiple Means of Representation:

We have worked with 3 different translators throughout the week. At times, it has been difficult to adjust to the differences between amount of transitions between English and Spanish, but we are teachers, so we are flexible!

We have made progress this week but we modify our plan each evening. Tomorrow will be on Day 3 of our original plan, but it is our final day of presenting information.  We keep looking for the most applicable concepts and how to continually reinforce concepts.  Flexibility is the key in teaching, and we wouldn't make it through the first morning if we weren't always adapting lessons and utilizing what we are learning about our students.

Another Nicaragua experience! The La Gigantona is a VERY large doll, often 9 feet tall, that is worn and paraded down the streets with drums.  We experienced this interesting tradition several times from the 30 feet tall La Gigantona in the park, to the children with the smaller La Gigantona who chased us, to Jenifer bringing in artwork for us with tradition represented.
Children with La Gigantona-
who were about to chase us!
La Gigantona by the Cathedral

It is always a learning experience.

Monday, December 9, 2013

It is what it is...

WOW! I am not sure where to start as so much has happened in a mere 24 hours! The celebrations continued all day and into the evening...lots of fireworks and music. It is difficult to get away from any of it with the open courtyard at Casa de Protocolo.

At 2:50am we hear the doorbell ring multiple times and the rolling of luggage as our compadres from Spain were leaving to return home.

At 7:00am we found out that Maria was not here because it was another "free day" due to the festivities over the weekend, therefore no breakfast, lunch or dinner (this was not in our plans).

Around 8:00am we have 2 students here and Indiana arrives. At this time another compadre from Cuba indicates that he has reserved the room (that we are teaching in) for a conference on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. At this point, Kris and I begin to panic a little knowing that Plan B is go to the room with the computer lab (not ideal for group work). Francisco shows up and takes care of it and we stay in the room!

As more students trickle in at 8:30am we begin for the day with 12 students. One additional student joins us at 9:00, therefore total student count for the day was 13 out of 24! Below was an introductory activity...create your own flag....

We engage in a variety of activities throughout the day and gain additional information about the content knowledge our students are retaining from the previous Modules. A positive.....they know the rules of the classroom that we created in Module 2!!! Yeah!

They have retained some basic surface level knowledge, but are not able to apply the information....this is disappointing, but a reality when there is 5 months between trainings.

Currently, we are reworking our original information for Day 2, so we can review more about target behaviors and data collection. We will be sending the students out to apply the knowledge they are learning by collecting data in the real world!

What will tomorrow bring?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Quién causa tanta alegría? (Who causes so much happiness?)

We arrived last night in Managua and were whisked away this morning to Leon.  We arrived in Leon on December 7th with firecrackers to greet us.  Just when we think we have heard it all, there is a new and louder celebration.  La Griteria is celebrated on December 7 in Nicaragua with fireworks and firecrackers at 12pm, 6pm, and 12am.  The good news is that we arrived in time for all three!

Ulises, the worst tour guide in Leon (you can't even find him on TripAdvisor), took us on a walking tour of Leon in the afternoon and then took us to Subtiava so we could see all of the houses decorated (and I think we saw one or two) for the La Griteria celebration.
Mural at a school in Subtiava- Julie this is for you!

We listened to the 6pm firecrackers from the safety of Casa de Protocolo and then Ulises took us out to see the celebration on the streets with the children and adults going to houses to shout and sing to the virgin Maria after which they receive candies, toys or other gifts from the home owners.  

Iglesia San Fransisco Church
There is a lot of singing throughout the evening (and fireworks too!) Quién causa tanta alegría? is the saying....Who causes so much happiness? I think celebrations in Leon cause a lot of happiness- as do fireworks! (not so much happiness for visitors like us)
The crowd at the Cathedral in Leon
An alter at a house with people SHOUTING!

The fireworks did continue throughout the night and the happiness goes on! The midnight celebration was the loudest we have heard in all of our travels to Nicaragua!