Tuesday, July 23, 2013


The day after my impromtu class at the Biblioteca Jorge Barbosa (the library is after my great great grandfather Jorge Barbosa who was a famous Cape Verdean poet), I had my first class at Castelos do Sal. ((This was last Thursday, July, 19))

Castelos do Sal is an organization whose goal is to take kids off the streets and give them a place to play, learn, and gain opportunities they may not have otherwise. They provide food and medicine to the kids, and keep them active both mentally and physically. Currently, they have 54 kids participating in the program, and there are even more on the waiting list.

They have a really lovely space with a courtyard and two classrooms, which from what I've seen, they use to the fullest.

Anyways, I showed up to Castelos do Sal, accompanied by Maya, a bit before 2:30pm which is when my class was supposed to start. A few days before I had spoken to Alexandra, the vice-president of the organization, and we had agreed that I would go to Castelos every Tuesday and Thursday, from 2:30 to 4:30.

I decided that I wanted to start my first class with something fun, like... animals! Knowing I had two hours of teaching to do, I planned a lot of fun activities. We were going to play duck, duck, goose, and pop goes the weasel, and sing songs like itsy bitsy spider and so on.

However, when I got to Castelos de Sal, one of the workers, Felipe, informs me that Alexandra forgot that the kids have a capoeira class at 4, so my 2 hour class became more of a little bit over an hour class.

But, hey, no problem. I did my best to adapt, cut out a bunch of the activities, while still making sure that the core of the lesson was still intact and that the kids would still have fun. I even had to adapt even more as I noticed the one girl in my class had a hurt knee, so running around yelling "GOOOOSE" was no longer an option.

My lesson ended up consisting of teaching the kids animals from flashcards I printed out and having them make loud animal noises and guessing animals from the noises. I had a few too many cards for the time decreased time I had, so it was a bit to get all the names to stick.

Still, it was fun trying. I told them that snakes go "ssssssssssss" which is in their name "sssssssssnaaaake" which amused them. And, the little girl, Wendy, really liked singing and motioning the itsy bitsy spider.

I had some trouble engaging a boy in the group that was much older than the rest of the group. He was about 13, while the others were from 6-10 or so. It also didn't help that in the middle of class occasionally a kid was taken out to go brush his teeth, just another disorienting factor to make things tougher than they needed to be.

Overall, the class went well. Especially when I realized I could bribe the kids with the flashcards as reference material while they were drawing.

But, what I really enjoyed from that day was the time I got with the kids after class. My aunt Kiki called me saying she would be late to pick me up. So Maya and I stayed to watch the capoeira class and play with the kids in the time before it.

One little boy,Rafael, who had not been in my class decided that I should try to guess everyone's name and age, including his mother ((I said she was 119, he was really shocked at this and told me "No way!!")) and other family members.Wendy taught me a clapping game. And all the kids played the "guess Filipa's age" game.

I definitely prefer being their playmate to being their teacher. My goal is find a good balance between the two, but that will only come with lots of practice and experimentation. :)

I have posts in the works for the past few days as well. It's just been tough getting time to sit and type!
Hopefully I'll be able to get them done soon and catch up to current teaching time xD

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