"This is how language should be taught: as a means to connecting with others rather than as an end in itself. I feel honored to have played a role."
- Teacher Antonina
Beginning Classes and Friendships
In the bright and early morning hours, teachers and students decided to keep the tempo from the previous day and hit the tasks in an excited, fun manner. Meisha Camp Leader Carina quickly assembled the students and stimulated their minds with some basic games, including one where the students had to mimic her actions. The tempo sped up every rotation, so we quickly had laughter as everyone struggled to keep up. We had kids attempting to do it perfectly while others fell or simply danced, giving up trying in favor of fun.
Our First English ClassBefore we could start anything, we had to establish classrooms and groups. A big part of that was the friendships beginning to form. For example, Lily would lead the younger girls and keep them united and on task, while Kevin would take the older boys and have a fun, playful time.
Prior to the camp, students were assessed on speaking ability and placed into levels. There were ten 'higher' level students and fifteen 'lower' level students. We decided to split into two classrooms, with the higher level students being separated from the lower level students. Teachers Suzanne and William, acting as a team, tackled the higher level students, while Cynthia, Nina, and Rachelle were incredible at keeping the attention of the lower students as well as motivating them. Our teachers had a brilliant strategy that involved teaching in unison at times and acting solo during others. Here are some examples!
|Suzanne leading the charge with the older boys|
|Nina had a way of making our shy students feel interested and welcome|
|Cynthia had all eyes on her as she led by example and encouragement.|
The objective of the day was to grasp the concepts of sinking or floating. As teachers acted out scenarios, students would practice pronouncing the words as well as guess which concept was being challenged. Some students took notes, while others decided to watch and play along.
We quickly began a demonstration activity before we headed out to the sea. It was called 'Special Bottle'.
|Rachelle's guidance helped students conquer the special bottle|
The Water Activities Begin
|Nina and the boys heading into open seas!|
The idea was to show simple concepts while also having fun. Once we stepped into the water, hand in hand, we formed circles. It was like we were in the Olympics and participating in synchronized swimming. Okay, maybe it wasn't that skillful; it was certainly that much fun, though!
|William's circle of water acrobatics|
The Final Games of the DayAs we made the trip back to land, we still had a few ideas on how to wrap up the day. In the evening we assembled both archery and curling. For many of our kids, this would be their first time playing either. Luckily, our teachers acted as instructors and took the mantle of responsibility, ushering in two waves of students in both games.
William and Nina gave vivid instructions on how to correctly perform archery, including demonstrations, cheering, and aiming assistance.
|Teacher Nina's demonstrations were spot on!|
|"Elbow down, look ahead, and let loose!" - Teacher William|
|Student William with teacher Nina's insight|
Rachelle, Cynthia, and Suzanne acted as curling agents, instructing the students in English on the rules of the game as well as demonstrating how to play correctly. It took a surprising amount of power to launch the pucks, and our students felt like champions when they successfully slid theirs to the end of the line. It's a team based game, so the gasps or cheers when a student knocked another student's puck out was part of the thrill.
The days are packed with life and activity from dawn to sunset. But for everyone at this camp, the fun and the experience as well as the memories that will last far outweigh the present-day fatigue. This is only day two -- we still have a talent show, showcase, sailing, and a graduation to attend. Stay tuned!