5/20/14 was a day full of teaching… and of bugs. The morning started off with a swarm of mosquitoes at breakfast. Many of us were bitten and therefore were eager to get into the car to drive to town. It was raining the night before so the bugs are all out in full force; however, that didn’t stop us from teaching. Today in class, we taught the second group of eight graders the basics of the computer program Scratch. They learned how to make an object move by setting different scripts for each object. Those who completed this task continued with the next lesson which was to create a maze. To create a maze, the student had to change the background to look like a maze. Once that was done, they had to script the object so that it would move based on the control keys that were pressed. After teaching the eighth graders, we had a short break where I, Sam, and Katie went to Sun Dog Café for lunch while the others went to get smoothies. Once the lunch break was over we quickly got ready to teach the fourth graders. The fourth graders came into class with their laptops that were given to them the other day and for our lesson, we taught them how to use the computer program Etoys. Soon after the class period was over, we went down stairs to the computer room where we taught the seventh and sixth graders. For both classes, we introduced us to them by telling them our reason for being at St. John and afterwards taught them how to use Scratch. At the end of the day, I realized that although I was getting bitten a lot and thought I wasn’t going to make it through the week because of that, the kids are the reasons why I enjoy staying on the island and they are the reasons why this trip is worth it. The connections and relationships that I made today with the students is something I will never forget. My joy of seeing the students and teaching them overrides the situation with the mosquitoes.
Hello and welcome to day 3 of our One Laptop Per Child trip. It is my second year coming and couldn’t wait to get to school on Monday to see all the kids. It was so nice to seeing everyone again. During our long break all my fourth graders from last year came up to me and were giving me hugs saying that they wish they got to do it again this year, which makes all the mosquito bites worth it. I also got to meet up with my “boyfriend” from last year that told me I wasn’t allowed to break up with him even though he has another girlfriend here. I am lucky and get to teach him, Christopher, and Orlando again this year because they didn’t pass the fourth grade and had to 4th grade all over again because they didn’t have good behavior. As I am the only traveler from last year I get to take a bigger role this year in the teaching. So far I have been the ones teaching the lessons on the board instead of sitting with the kids to make sure that they pay attention to the lesson of the day. So far for the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders we have been teaching them about scratch and for the 4th graders we have gave them their XO’s and started Etoys. But as this is a blog today I need to start talking about what we did today. We got up and got ready for our 2nd day of teaching at 8:00am. We then went to eat breakfast and go to the school to start our day of teaching. We first taught the 8th graders that we didn’t have yesterday. It only ended up being 3 of them so Ryan, Katie B, and I all took on one of them and taught them a little bit about Scratch. The other girls planed what we were going to with the groups for the rest of the time. We then got an hour and half break so Katie M, Linda, and I decided that we should get some lunch since we won’t have time the rest of the day. We went to Sun Dog Café in the shopping center right next to the school. It was really nice to just sit down and have a nice lunch. We then headed back to the school where I was greeted by the girls I taught last year telling me that Yendell, my “boyfriend,” had the other girlfriend and that I needed to talk to him. So we headed over to talk to him and he told me that he and the other girl are going to take a break till I leave so that we can be together. We then went into Mrs. Charles room to get our stuff to go upstairs to teach and Ryan had a cockroach run over her foot, it was huge! Then it was time to teach the 4th graders. I work with Christopher, Yendell, and 2 others that I haven’t had before. Today I though them how to do the basic of Etoys that was when we start to teach them animations and games it will be easier. It went really well today. Everyone was behaved, even when I was at the board teaching my students sat there and listened to me. After the 4th graders we went to teach the 6th graders. I taught them about Scratch and they even got to make a maze. After that we had to teach the 7th graders that we didn’t have yesterday and they were a fun class. They had a lot of fun playing the game and learning about scratch. After that we were done for the day and so we had all decided that we need to get ice cream because we worked really hard today. So we went to the place that one of my students told me to go last year and we loved it. I had strawberry vanilla and it was so good. After the ice cream we headed home and signed up for what we wanted for dinner. And now I am sitting in my bed waiting for dinner to be ready.
Today was a great day. It was a long day, but a great day. We taught the second groups of 8th graders and 7th graders, along with our group of 4th graders and a new group of 6th graders. CSG girls found out what it means to have back-to-back classes, teaching from 12:15-3:00 straight. Good thing we had our “smoothie break” in the morning to help sustain us. And good thing we only do this extra class three days a week instead of five. AND, the school gives us a break from the heat and mosquitoes, which are pretty fierce this year. I am hoping we will get relief from the pests as we progress through this trip.
Since the JESS 7th & 8th graders are on an alternating day rotation, we have now finished one complete cycle of classes, and tomorrow will start up with new topics. So, since we have this lesson pretty well honed, today’s classes went really smoothly. Overall, I am really impressed with the JESS students this year. They seem to be really interested in what we are doing, and pick up on the concepts really quickly. It’s one thing to pay attention and be engaged when you’re learning one-on-one or one-on-two with someone, like we are in the middle school classes, but it’s entirely different when there’s a group of 25 kids learning in a big group. Today’s fourth graders were captivated! They were quiet, picked up on the new ideas instantly, and were off and running. We didn’t plan enough to keep them busy. We won’t make that same mistake tomorrow!!
This afternoon we went to get ice cream from “the best place on the island.” It’s in Coral Bay, so we got nice views of the other side of the island. It’s really too bad the mosquitoes are so bad. It makes sitting or standing still a real challenge. So our ice cream was partially eaten in the car, and our view stops were sometimes enjoyed from within the relatively bug free car. The heat and the bugs are testing some nerves, adding unanticipated challenges to the week.
Still, the beach at Cinnamon Bay is gorgeous. The food here is great. The teaching experience is rewarding, and every CSG girl is showing her best side to our partners at JESS. And thankfully, dinner was surprisingly bug “light” if not quite completely bug “free.”