Friday, January 13, 2012

Useful Vacations (Vacaciones Utiles)

Summer vacation is here. The kids have been cut loose, and the teachers are now nowhere in sight, making my current project vacaciones utiles, pretty difficult. Summer classes are a hard sell to almost any kid, and without teachers to help me, I now find myself spending my time either preparing for classes or walking around town trying to find kids to come. The few things I have going for me are the classes are free (normally teachers charge), and the classes are appealing. I’m teaching English and Geography. I’m most excited about the geography class. The kids are more excited to learn what Justin Bieber is saying.

I teach Monday to Thrusday, 9:00am to 11:30am. English is on Mondays and Wednesdays, geography is on Tuesdays and Thursdays. All classes are said to be mandatory, as I fear geography would be skipped otherwise.  The English class is pretty basic with no real lofty goals; however, here’s a snap shot of the first day’s chalk session:

If knowing your ABCs and how to say "Buenos dias Sr. Corts" is
the foundation of the English language, these kids are well off. 
The geography class on the other hand does have some pie-in-the-sky type dreams. The three main activities will be a classroom passport, a bunch of flat Stanleys, and a 5’x7’ World Map painting. The Passport idea is pretty basic. Each kid will make their own passport and then receive stickers based on countries we study, participation/attendance, and whatever other reason I deem sticker worthy (side note: staying up late last night making the class passports reminded me how bad I am at arts and crafts. If there are any doubters to this statement,  ask my parents about the “art gallery” at the 12th street store in Missoula... still my finest work to date).

TSA and Customs Officials have years of training, but try to see if you'd pass the test in determining which
document is real. Good luck. 
 The Flat Stanly(s) will involve a lot of help from you guys, my loyal blog readers. The plan is to make a small, paper versions of each student (complete with picture), and mail them off to various locations (Montana, Alaska, Bolivia, Canada, Germany, Puerto Rico and Spain). The hope is that when a person receives a flat Stanley, they take a picture of it next to an iconic location in the area, email me a that picture (with location name), and drop the paper traveler in the mail to someone else. Hopefully, no kids go M.I.A. (forever ruining these kids’ idea of traveling), and they get to “travel the world”. I’m starting a separate page on this blog, to track their travels.

The Mapa Mundi (World Map) Project is a requirement for Youth Development Volunteers, and involves painting and labeling a giant map in a well seen part of your community. This has been a Peace Corps initiative since 1988, and there have been some pretty cool maps made (google it if bored). The Christie Carmichael Map was done at a pretty awesome scale in the market of Caraz, and so hope mine is just half as impressive.

Future location of Yuracoto's World Map (The wall to the left).

Stay tuned for Map and Flat Stanley updates.