Jan Term Day 8: 17 Jan 2017

Today, we arrived at our fourth school located in Santa Berdida day8spfor our third day of teaching. There were around 70 students enrolled at the school and after meeting Paulina, the director of the school and other staff members, we introduced ourselves to the students and began our lessons.
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Students were engaged!

I found that the students at this school were really interactive and eager to learn, which made teaching really fun and worthwhile. For example, one student had a lot of knowledge about fossils and dinosaurs but was still very involved in our lesson. When I learned that he had prior knowledge of dinosaurs, I became nervous that he would be bored and that this lesson of making fossils and the development of fossils would not be challenging for him or the older students.day8sp18

However, this student was still very engaged and became creative in telling stories about where fossils were found and what they can teach us about dinosaurs. Seeing this child’s creativity and involvement in the lesson, despite his previous knowledge was very exciting for me.

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While not all of the students had the same background with dinosaurs that this student did, they all seemed very engaged and eager to learn about the subject which was very rewarding for me.

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Making fossils

day8fossilsBecause it is our third day of teaching, I feel more confident and comfortable in teaching the material and have new ways of doing the lesson to help students better understand the material. One way that Alecia and I were able to evaluate whether or not the students were understanding the material was by asking them to take on the role of the teacher and explain the development of earth and dinosaurs.

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Laura during story time.

Having students explain this timeline after we did our interactive “what came first activity”, displayed what knowledge the students learned and what concepts they were still confused about. This technique also  brought about many “aha moments”. For example, when explaining dinosaurs, students were able to go into depth about when and how dinosaurs went extinct, a topic that Alecia and I did not deeply cover in our lesson.

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I also noticed that the students were able to teach me about some of the topics that they learned about in the other groups. For instance, many of the students used the signs for dinosaurs that they made up in Ali, Erin and Rebecca’s group. day8sp36Seeing the students share the signs that they had created in the previous group, showed me that they were really learning and getting something from our lessons.
day8lunchAfter teaching three groups and a short recess, we began teaching again until it was time for lunch. The cooks at the school made a delicious meal of rice, chicken, avacado, plantains and “con con” which is essentially just the burnt rice at the bottom of the pan. For many of us, it was our first time trying con con and we enjoyed it as well as the other traditional Dominican Republican food the cook made for us.
 We had dinner at  “Adrian Tropical” restaurant where we were able to eat more Spanish food and drink delicious juice by the water.
I have really enjoyed my emergence into both Dominican Republican culture and Dominican Republican Deaf culture. The former president of the National Association for the Deaf, Tommy Guzman and his wife, Zahara, joined us for dinner and taught us more about the tradition of knocking on the table before a meal, explaining that this gesture is similar to the saying “bon appetite”.
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While I am enjoying our time in the schools and loving this experience here in the DR, teaching is very tiring and I think we are all looking forward to our day of rest and relaxation at the beach tomorrow.
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Gracias!
Brielle DeRosa
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