Sunday, July 5, 2009

Independence Day Abroad

It has been awhile since I updated my blog... This week Man Bui and his son Brian came to Paucartambo to spend the week with us. They arrived late Monday night with some help from Alex. Tuesday we all started at our second school. Alex and William came down with the stomach bug on Tuesday. Alex was supposed to be my partner and Alli, William, and Sonia were going to a different school. Man and Brian were going to Sonia's school so Alli came with me to my school so I would not be alone on the first day. She liked the school and did not want to deal with switching schools after going for a day, so Alex and Alli switched groups.

My new school, Agropecuario #34026, is a cute small school located in Auquimarca, a small village up in the mountains. The director and vice-director are awesome. The teachers are good without the laptops but the skills with the laptops range from very basic to competent. The first day Alli and I both went to first grade since they were not really prepared for us and there are not very many teachers. The first grade teacher did not know much about the computers at all and wanted us to teach the class. We also got fed a breakfast and lunch that were not appetizing at the school. We had to down them both but we decided to try and avoid being fed the rest of the days. After school, at 1, the director walked us to his house where we ate lunch with him and took a picture with him and his wife. He is a really nice guy and hilarious. Wednesday I worked with the fourth grade and the teacher was not great with the computers but the kids had obviously used them at school and in the evenings at their house. This was obvious by their knowledge and the dirt on their mouse. Some kids had USB's with music files and to transfer documents to print. There were two kids that were very poorly behaved that slowed down everything we tried to do that day. We tried to organize teacher meetings because we need to help the teachers catch up to the students so they can integrate the computers into the lesson plans but nobody came to the first session and the teachers did not want to meet during recess. Next week we definitely need to have some teacher workshops. We ate at a different person's house for lunch on Wednesday with some of the teachers and then returned to the school to play volleyball with the kids while we waited for our car.

Thursday I was with the fifth graders and my teacher and students were great. Man and Brian came with Alli and I on Thursday. Man came to my class and was a big hit. He also took lots of great pictures.. My teacher used calculator and taught math patterns to the kids. She integrated the computers very well. She did not just tell them to use the XO's but instead wrote on the board, asked the kids questions, had them try to figure the pattern out with calculator, and then had someone go up to the board and write the answer. After that she read them a story about a hairless chicken and they listened and afterward answered comprehension questions in escribir. It was then almost time for lunch and the teacher asked me about the programs on the computer that she did not know very well, Scratch and Pippy. These are programming activities that are pretty difficult for teachers and students to understand. I showed her a simple example on Scratch and she was amazed. I also showed her all the examples on Pippy. She thought the Fibinocci sequence was cool and wanted to use it to make her own number patterns for the kids. I typed up the code to get it to work and will show her next time what to type and what to change to manipulate the pattern. I also taught Scratch which was difficult but the kids and teacher can learn by exploring.

Friday there were no classes because the teachers had a big convention in the Municipality. We went into Paucartambo and walked around, exchanged money, and bought yummy frozen yogurt. We went to the market to buy fruit and meat for our BBQ today for the 4th. There were lots of animal parts hanging from the little booths and it was pretty gross. We bought two whole chickens and some hot dogs. We tried to get fireworks but they only had massive fireworks so we are about to go into Huallamayo right now to look for some and get spices to cook with.

Friday night we celebrated Max's 21st birthday by surprising hm with an amazing chocolate and dulce de leche cake. We hung out, played ping pong, watched a hilarious movie the ten commandments, and walked to a park in Huallamayo. It was a fun night. I just got back from Huallayamo where we bought spices to cook the food with and a pack of fireworks. We are going to cookout and play soccer this afternoon with fireworks tonight. The Fourth of July is going to turn out to be pretty sweet here in Huallayamo, Peru. The lady that owns the store closest to our camp offered to take us fishing with her and her child tomorrow. By fishing she means wading in the water and throwing nets. I am so excited!

Last night was so fun!!! We cooked out on the grill and the food was amazing. The chicken was so juicy and the hot dogs were great. We hung out and had a great time. A bunch of the workers came down and we played a bunch of 4 v 4 soccer. Max and I were on a team with 3 other guys and we won 3 games and tied 2 games. We did not let in a goal (Max played some good goalie in the last 4 games). I scored one goal and assisted two. We had bought big bottle rockets in Huallamayo that we lit one off every time someone scored. The workers at the camp came out with a cake that they decorated like the American flag. It was amazing. The red stripes and the blue square were dyed coconut and the border and inside filling was dulce de leche (which is kind of like caramel). We had a very American night for the 4th of July. This morning I got up early to eat breakfast and watch tennis with Max.

Working with the fifth graders on Scratch.

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