July 17, 2007

Charlas with the 5th graders

I thought I’d get some pics up and blog a little about the charlas I’ve been doing at two different elementary schools in Danlí. I’m doing a 3-month course with 5th graders (I’m working with 6 classes in all which is about 210 students), dealing with topics like good communication, self esteem, values, stereotypes, relationships, puberty (physical changes), pregnancy, HIV/AIDS prevention, and future goal setting/plans. So far it’s been difficult but lots of fun working with the kids. I think I mentioned in another blog how difficult it is to be heard because of how each “aula” (classroom) has windows open to the courtyard. I almost lose my voice after giving two charlas in a row! And when it rains...it´s impossible! The schools have tin roofs and when it´s raining, I have to quite early. I have some pics to post thanks to a Japanese volunteer (a nurse) who is doing a 2-year volunteer program similar to Peace Corps and is living in Danlí. She accompanied me to a charla the other day to see what I was doing with 5th graders and took a few pics.

The pic below shows me doing a self-esteem demonstration. The bottle represented one’s inner self-esteem. The volunteers against the board each took turns reading a slip of paper I gave them with either a positive comment (Annie, I like your shirt) or negative comment (Annie, your charlas are boring). With each positive comment, I filled the bottle up a bit with water and with each negative comment, I squirted the bottle at the students (I poked a hole in the bottle with a seam-ripper so every time I squeezed it, it shot out a stream of water). The students loved it! We then talked about how we can make sure our “self-esteem” bottle stays at an equilibrium and how it’s ok to feel sad or not content with yourself sometimes.

Here is a class of students intently listening to what I have to say! Notice the uniforms…every public school I’ve seen in Honduras requires their students to wear uniforms. Girls in skirts, boys in pants. For physical education, the girls wear skirts with shorts underneath and the boys wear shorts.

Here’s me monitoring a “dinámica” (fun participatory activity). The kids got into groups and had to write positive comments (we first practiced what a “positive comment” is) to their classmates, writing them on a piece of paper taped to their back. The students then got to look at their list to see if the qualities their peers see in them are qualities they knew they had. I stressed the importance of giving compliments and their homework was to intentionally give at least 5 positive comments before going to bed that night.

A big sincere thanks to family members who have contributed to this project! GRACIAS!


Josh said...

It sounds as though what you are doing is working out well. I'm sure the kids pay attention with such great activities. Keep up the good work. I'm getting extremely excited about coming down next summer and helping you guys out!

Love Josh

Erin said...


Those sound like great activities! You are very creative! The kids look like they are having fun with you and I am sure that they like having you work with them! I know you are making a great impact- keep up the good work! Things are good here, and I'll be in touch soon!

lots of love, erin, roman and romancito who is doing great!!