Well, if the first week started slowly and cautiously, with nervous glances and hushed voices, it certainly didn't finish that way! We kept building momentum, gaining new students and acquiring lots of new language as the week wore on... Our five students had grown to eight on Tuesday and then topped off at ten by Wednesday. As everyone got to know each other, the students became much more comfortable with each other and with us and didn't giggle and whisper quite as much when they were called to speak in front of the class....
When it was time to play charades with the professions, the students wanted to make the teams boys against girls and suddenly no one was feeling very shy any more! Playing on teams against each other brought out everyone's competitive spirits - they were too busy laughing and trying to act out "astronaut" and "housewife" to think about the fact that they had to make all their guesses in English.
By now, everyone knows what it means when I take out the little ball - it's time to answer and ask some questions! They don't need to be asked twice to get up out of their seats and stand in a circle in front of their desks.
Friday morning, we kicked things off to a competitive start with a boisterous game of "Flyswatter". Once again, we played in teams - boys against girls - but this time, we sweetened the pot: winners got a prize! The kids LOVED playing and it was a great way to review vocabulary, practice pronunciation and demonstrate understanding of the difference between "he" and "she". (I would ask ask questions like "Who is a farmer?" or "Who is a housewife?" and students had to swat the correct picture, and then respond with "He (or she) is a farmer (or housewife)", depending on the picture. They really enjoyed playing and it helped them to consolidate much of what they had learned so far.
Then, we moved on to counting and everyone seemed to enjoy getting to write on their own little whiteboards as they were practicing their numbers...
We made "question lines" to practice asking and answering all the
questions we had learned so far - How are you?
What is your name? What
do you do? Where do you live? How old are you?
We ended our day on Friday by listening to Cayetano Salazar talk about his life and personal experiences. He spoke about having to start elementary school as a young boy who only spoke Bribri when all of his classes were taught exclusively in Spanish. He also mentioned how difficult it was for him to attend high school, since at the time there was no high school in Amubri and he had to travel 3 hours each way, all the way to Puerto Viejo, if he wanted to continue his education! Today, Don Cayetano is the only teacher and the principal in the tiny mountain village of Alto Kachabli. It was very inspiring not only to hear about his struggles and sacrifices, but also to learn that he has dedicated his life and career to improving his community and the lives of those around him.
Finally this morning, Monday, January 14th, our "little campers" were so excited to see each other and socialize that they were asked on a couple of occasions to remind us all of Classroom Rule #1: Cuando uno habla, los demás escuchan! (When one person speaks, the rest of us listen!)
Today, we were learning how to talk about our families... Now everyone knows what to expect and week two is off to a great start!