Spaghetti for Breakfast – 01/13/14

Today we woke up in time to go to Simon’s 7am English class. Yesterday, he invited us to come observe and possibly assist him. However, when we looked for his seventh grade class, we soon discovered that he was mistaken, and there was no English class until 8am. We were unable to observe any English classes today, because Evens also told us that he was to teach at 1pm. Yet, because he was late, the students left after ten minutes. So, we spent most of the day taking it easy, and planning for our ESL lesson for this afternoon.

When it was time for breakfast, we had spaghetti with pieces of hotdog inside. It’s really good with hot sauce, even at 8 in the morning. It was served with a side of bananas and grenadine juice. I think this is Creole for grapefruit, even though that makes no sense at all.

At 10:20, we went with two of our students in our Teacher Training Workshop, Wesly and Wesly to their high school, Lycée Dumarsais Estimé, to partake in an English club that they founded. We first spoke to their Philosophy class, and they asked us several questions. The most recurring question is that students ask Gregory about his nationality. They all think he’s Haitian, so there is always a small discussion at the beginning of every introduction about how he’s actually African American.

Wesly and Wesly took us to their club, which meets in the school yard under a tree. For about 15 minutes, we answered questions from club members about every subject – why we like to teach, how to improve in English, and even how to decide if one should get married. Questions were posed and answered in English. They are hoping that we can come back to their school to continue to work with them. Pere Noe told us that he’s happy to provide this workshop for free to the English teachers, in exchange for potential help from them in the future. With this, we decided that it was in the interest of the program to network with this English club.

Lunch is always big. We ate a lamb sauce with rice and peas. Then, we waited to observe Evens’ English class. However, as mentioned, this didn’t work out. So, we planned our lesson for the remainder of the afternoon. Students had requested to learn the numbers in English, so we decided to include dates, birthdays, holidays as well as ordinal rankings, and playing cards. We also wanted to talk to them about how to tell time, but there was no time to do this.

Today’s lesson plan looked roughly like this:

– Explicit teaching of numbers, both in Arabic and in written form. On the board was written the numbers 1-10, then the numbers by tens all the way up to 100.

– Cards. A shuffled set of cards from 2 to Ace (of different suits) was distributed to the students, and they each had to stand up and talk about what cards they had in order. We scaffolded by teaching them “to have” and the different suits.

– Ordinal ranking of numbers (1st-10th). Then dates.

– Practice with birthdays and dates, including a partner task which required students to ask their friends when their birthday is.

– Dictation. Today’s dictation was an exercise in writing numbers. The first two sentences were “John is fifty-five years ld. His birthday is October tenth, nineteen fifty-eight.” The students have expressed to me that they like dictations, because they have the opportunity to listen.

After class, a St. Andre’s student named Wendy came over and shared an exercise book with me. It has the translations from Creole to French to English. Very helpful for next semester’s Curriculum Design group.

That’s today. Tomorrow, we are going to visit Marc (a member of the teacher training workshop) at his school. More to come.