I’m clearly late and will probably end up posting these bits out of order, but I’m in charge and linear time lines are overrated. And thanks to Willy Bethel for the photos. I’ve never been good at taking pictures with me in them.
June 22nd, 2010 – Dario Christian Academy, Nicaragua
I walked into Judith’s class, waving my one Spanish phrase “Puedo observer se classe?” around like I knew what I was saying – really, I’d had Erica, one of our translators, write it out for me – and she was all smiles and waves and then she disappeared. When she came back she had the high school English teacher in tow who managed to explain to me that Judith so badly wanted to communicate with me (and here I thought we’d done so well with the smiling and waving a mutual recognition that we were up the language creek) and was there anything I’d like to teach.
Now, I’d come prepared to observe with my one pen and notebook already going limp in the humidity. From the conversation we’d had the day before (I’d met with Judith and one of her colleagues in a Q&A session), Judith knew that we both of loved watch kids learn science. She asked, through the translator, if perhaps I might want to teach a science lesson.
Damn, do I want to teach a science lesson? When I have nothing prepared? And no supplies? And don’t speak the language? Is the weather in Nicaragua hot and oppressive? (That would be “yes”.) One day and this woman’s got my number.
So we rustled up some paper and start folding paper air planes. How can you go wrong with paper air planes?
In my excitement (or perhaps because of the sweat in my eyes) I managed to screw up my first example, but some how we all made it outside to the marvelous mayhem of 25 kids on a sunny day with paper airplanes. We figured out how to race by pantomime (mine, conveniently, always lost or did some sort of pathetic bank and nose dive to the right) and did a lot of running around and clapping and cheering.
No translation needed.
(Teacher note: No, we did not just fly airplanes, there is more to science than just playing with stuff. I think. I did show their teachers later how to use the paper airplane as a simple system to practice the scientific process…but it’s summer and nobody wants to read about that right now, I assure you. Just enjoy the pretty pictures of kids having fun. Thanks again, Willy.)