If you could be something other than a teacher, what would it be?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Johnathan teaches the lesson - rooms in a house

If immitation is the best form of flattery ..... well then I was very flattered to walk into a classroom and watch Johnathan having taken my model lesson on teaching the rooms in a house, and having made it his own!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Learning to tell time

Teaching students how to tell time, is one of those types of lessons that can follow the classic lesson plan model of inital student assessment of the concept, followed by direct teacher lead instruction,  which moves into guided practice and eventually independent practice.

My direct instruction completed, I moved the class into some guided practice on the whiteboard.

An added level of my guided practice involved students holding up the face of a clock and asking other students ¨What time is it?¨ In this case, it also helped this student stay a little bit more focused on the lesson!
Then it was time for some independent practice. I drew a series of blank clock faces on the white board and below each face wrote the time of day the students were to indicate on the clock.  The hour and half hour were pretty easy for students to do independently.  The quarter hour was a little bit more of a challenge.

Pokllasunchis addressing autism

The one-on-one instructional assistant worked with this autistic student in a full inclusion classroom environment at Pukllasunchis.
I was fascinated with the full inclusion model at Pukllasunchis Colegio.  Surrounded by a classroom of regular education students, this autistic student was engaged in a modified lesson based on what the other students were learning.  Although he did not directly engage with the other students, he was still part of the regular education classroom.
I was amazed to see this autistic student use this visual chart, developed by Pukllasunchis Colegio,  to assist him with his daily schedule.  I noticed that before the lesson began, the student refered to this chart to verify for himself,  what activity he should be doing that period.  This kind of chart is a great tool to help an autistic student to self manage their schedule in an effort to gain a level of independence.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It´s Bananagram time!

Bananagram is a game quite similar to Scrabble, except that as a whole group plays, the actual Scrabble type board that is created  is individual. I was introduced to this game by  Gerogianna McBurney, a good friend from my Food For All days, and knew immediately it would be a great teaching tool in Peru.  So I bought a whole bunch of Bananagrams to bring along!  Great purchase and thank you Georgianna!

Wish I had come up with this game!  Fits easily into a suitcase, and carries with it so much educational fun.

Divided the class into groups of 6 to 7, each roup with its own Bananagram.  After I explained the basics of how to play Bananagram,  the students began making words in English and building their own individual Scrabble board.
It was fun to watch how the students would look over each other´s word board and help each other spell new word!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Co-Teaching: Adverbs!

Johnathan and I have begun some co-teaching.  When it comes to teaching grammar ..... well co-teaching is a great way to help students understand the concepts.  Okay, let´s get real..... When one is a teenager learning English, how important is it that an adverb such as ¨never¨comes after the verb ¨to be¨and before every other verb!

Elephants in Peru?

So little is really known about the Incan Empire.  The language was oral, so no documents were written to give us real details into the lives of the Inca.  Yes, the Inca are known for their architectural wonders .... but even within these massive stone wonders, are secrets which even now, continue to mystify those who study and visit these stone marvels.

How did a carved head of an elephant make its way into the stone entrance to the Temple of the Moon in the Sacred Valley?  Before Columbus traveled in search of spices, had peoples from Africa or Asia already been to South America and brought with them elephants?  Or did the Inca themselves sail the world and were able to see elephants in Africa?  Asia?

How else would the Inca have known about elephants and what they looked like?

Much of this this elephant´s head, including the ears, was destrobyed by the Spanish conquistadores when they invaded and took over the Inca Empire. Directly behind me is the rock opening to the Temple of the Moon.

The Temple of the Moon.... inside the moutain, the Temple was carved.  The walls contain stone carvings of puma, condor and snakes.  In the vary back ot the Temple is what appears to be a stone carved alter.  The moon would shine through a hole in the mountain top, and cast its light on the alter.

How to make a sandwich.... the musical version

Last week in one of my English classes at Pulllasurchis Colegio here in Cuzco, I challenged three boys who have their own band, to write a song for the lesson on ¨How to make a sandwich. Here´s what the boys wrote!  I was impressed with the music as well as the lyrics.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Special Education students in every class

This Special Education student had trouble following the numbers, shapes, colors lesson.  He was not a problem student in the class, however, like Speical Education students in California, he wanted my full attention all of the time.  His favorite activitiy was to point to a picture or a word in his notebook and ask me how to say it in English. I would say it, and he would immediately repeat what I had just said. 

Colors, shapes and numbers too!

This was a fun class.  First we started with numbers, one through ten.  Students had a good grasp of the numbers so we could move onto colors quickly.  Oh..... they had their numbers except ..... when we counted backwards from ten to one, oh my!  That was a real challenge for some of these students!

Learning the colors came next.  That too went pretty quickly.  Bruno, in the green shirt, had trouble staying in his seat, so needed a little extra attention!  From colors we moved to shapes .... triangle, circle, square and rectangle.  These too the students knew, except for some pronunciation problems that we worked on.

Next came the practical part, which all the students realy got into!  I would draw, for example, five squares on the whiteboard.  Next to each square I would write the color the students were to color that square.  I did the same for circles, triangles and rectangles.

As I moved throughout the classroom, checking for understanding, I could see again and again, the importance of students processing the new information through practice.  So often a student would ask me in Spanish, what color is brown? or pink? Not sure practice always makes perfect, but it sure seems to help.

Learning the rooms in a house

With the whole class, we brainstormed the names of the various rooms in a house.  Most often the students gave the Spanish name, which Johnathan would write on the writeboard along with the English name.  Once the rooms were named, we asked the students to identify the items one might find in each room.  Again, as I asked the questions and the students responded, Johnathan would write the Spanish and English words on the whiteboard.

To put this class generated information into practice, I drew the floor plan of a house on the whiteboard.  Each student copied the floorplan, and was then to use the list of items we´d generated, to draw each item into the rooms on the floorplan, What made this even more fun, was when we asked students to come to the whiteboard and draw the items into the various rooms.  Students love to be the teacher and write on the whiteboard! 

Secondary school student danse competition in the El Centro

Self Reflective Students atColegio Pukllasunchis

Four times per year,  students are ask to reflect on their school experience.  The student's reflection is sent home to their parents along with their grades for the last quarter.
Students are asked to write about what they have learned, their responsibilities in the learning process, what suggestions they have for the school and their teachers, as well as identifying their goals for the next quarter.

Cuzco secondary school traditional danse competition

After teaching English on Wednesday, I went to the El Centro to watch the competition of the secondary school students in a city wide traditional danse competion.

The competition actually went on for two days. Tuesday for the very young children. Then Wednesday morning the primary school students competed.


A great deal of hand work went into thes outfits.

Masked danser with the flag of Cuzco.

How bright!

Focused on the competition.

The hats! Everyone group had a different style of hat.. and the colors! Oh the colors!

Living the Co-Teaching Model

My teaching schedule at the Colegio Pukllasurchis is demanding.  Not only am I teaching English, but I am also mentoring a new teacher through the Co-Teaching model.  With my Co-Teacher Johnathan, we have 12 different classes of students per week.  Each class has one hour of English per week.  We roam to a different classroom every period, and teach out of four different books.  Little if no time to Co-Plan the lessons, since Johnathan has a second job.  I'm having a great time teaching at the Colegio, but have to admit, it is a challenge as well.

Cuzco... from stark to enchanted!

The rains have pasted, and little green shows on the Andes or in the city of Cuzco.  With its small, narrow streets lined by red tiled white brick buildings, the city has a kind of stark appearance to it.

At night however, downtown Cuzco turns into a spectacular wonderland of lights!

Co-Teaching: How to............

With the World Cup games going on, this group of students were not that interested in this lesson!  They all wanted to go and watch the games....  Who could blame them!

Johnathan, the Intern like teachers I'm Co-Teaching with, was not sure how to proceed with the lesson.  I wasn't sure either as I looked around the classroom.

As I scanned the classroom, the dress of these three boys caught my attention.  I commented to one that he looked like he rode a motorcyle.  No he said .... I'm part of a band.  I had my hook for the lesson!  I challenged the boys to write a song, using the vocabulary from the lesson.  They immediately took on the challenge!
With the remaining students, I quickly formed two more groups and asked them to decide what kind of standwhich they'd like to make.  One group chose a cheese burger and the other a chicken with cheese sandwich.  The groups will present to the class, next week, their song and their directions. 

Massive Inca stones... achitectural wonder!

One afternoon after teaching my English classes, I headed into the central part of Cuzco and began wandering the tiny streets behind the cathedral.  Unexpectedly, I came upon ancient ruins of an Inca temple.  The rocks are massive and cut with the precision of a diamond cutter.
These stones, part of the Inca temple complex, are considered to be one of the most important Inca ruins in Cuzco ... important symbolically as well as for their precision with multiple angles..... 12 angles in all.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Drawing and Special Education Students

Art is great with general education students, but it is fantastic with Special Education students!  The school has full inclusion, meaning Special Education students are mainstreamed into all the general education classes.  I used my vocabulary lesson plan which incorporated processing  vocabulary through drawing, with Special Education students too.

The lesson was a big hit!  Two of the 12 students in this class were Special Education.  I´m guessing their processing delays might put them in a Multiple Handicapped Classroom in the States.

This student followed every step of my lesson, and frequently called me over to show me his work.  Oh he was so proud of what he was able to accomplish!  I was very impressed with the fact that he followed the lesson.... given it was in English. Drawing was a major key to his success.  Special Education students can touch one´s heart so quickly and so deeply no matter what country they live in.

English through art

Fun class using art as a way of building new vocabulary.  After writing ¨mountains¨on the whiteboard, I asked students to  draw mountsin, then two  rivers, five fish... and so on and so forth. 

First I would write the word on the whiteboard, i.e. two houses, three men, six ducks ... the students would try to translate the words into Spanish ..... then I would draw the items into my pictures so students had the auditory as well as visual presentation of the new vocabulary.

Art can be a very powerful teaching tool for English language learners. Not only do they hear the word spoken by the teacher, they see how it is written, and then they are able to process the new word through their drawing a picture of the word.  When the students finished, they had fun showing the pictures they´d drawn to other students.