Class Routines

“Manos arriba!”  (“Hands up!”) This is the command given in every class for the beginning of the immersion (English only) part of class at the Honduras Child Alliance.  The students and volunteers stand in a circle and then go through a series of motions in Spanish before we “change the language” to English while rubbing the sides of our head.  It is a challenge to speak only English during the immersion activity, especially when many students do not understand what we are saying.  We often slip into Spanish without realizing it and have to remind each other “English only.”

Before the immersion activity, each class starts with a fifteen-minute game time. Students and volunteers sit and play in small groups.  Today I was the monkey in the middle and six boys had a hilarious time trying to keep the ball from me.  It was fun, but everyone’s clothes were soaked in sweat by the end.  Next time, I think I’ll do a puzzle.

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Next, comes circle time when we officially start the class.  Sitting on the floor, we all answer a question of the day in English and introduce ourselves.  Students are in the habit of saying their age as well and from the looks on their faces, I don’t think they’ve ever heard the number 51 before.  

Change the language

Change the language

At the end of immersion, we change the language back to Spanish before starting snack time.  Students wash their hands and are given a healthy homemade snack in every class.

 
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After washing their cups, we gather again in smaller groups and the students rotate through three activities to reinforce both English and Spanish literacy.   

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Class ends with everyone’s hands in the middle, reviewing the time of the next class and chanting the name of the class.

These routines help each class to run smoothly.  The students know the routines and with so many volunteers coming and going, it helps to have a solid structure to each class.  I quickly learned the routines myself and depend on them to have a successful two-hour class with very excited children.

The volunteers meet after class to review how everything went.

The volunteers meet after class to review how everything went.

Comments (18):

  1. LInda Wight

    July 22, 2016 at 23:39

    Amazing day for you and children and learning in such heat. I love the boy with the shirt that reads, ” ladies man”. Canyou imagine if they heard my age, 73? Stay well.

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      July 25, 2016 at 14:37

      We do have a volunteer in his 60s, so I’m not the oldest!

      Reply
  2. Diane Gallo

    July 23, 2016 at 06:35

    Sounds like you are having a really rich experience.
    Think about winter in Stonington as you struggle with the heat! Always helps me.
    Your photos look amazing! I can wait to see your photos in Vietnam!

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      July 25, 2016 at 14:39

      I definitely need a waterproof GoPro for Vietnam. That’s on my list. Couldn’t take my camera to some of the most beautiful places I’ve been for fear of getting it wet.

      Reply
  3. Paula M Agins

    July 23, 2016 at 07:22

    The children are so beautiful and seem to love being in class! Keep the posts coming.

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      July 25, 2016 at 14:39

      They give the volunteers and me great energy.

      Reply
  4. Elaine Temel

    July 23, 2016 at 07:39

    I love the routines. Pictures are great. Do you need any donations/games or whatever? I’m sure I could gather some & ship them to you.

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      July 25, 2016 at 14:42

      Shipping is not reliable. The best way to help is to make a donation directly to HCA: http://honduraschildalliance.org/ I can definitely vouch for this organization! Thanks for asking.

      Reply
  5. Valerie Gilson

    July 23, 2016 at 07:52

    Tim, I look so forward to reading your blog. Often uplifting and always insightful, I really enjoy looking through this window into Porvenir, a piece of your daily life and the lives of these children. This is the good stuff. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      July 25, 2016 at 14:42

      Thanks for reading, Val!

      Reply
  6. Sharon Eash

    July 23, 2016 at 13:40

    Really enjoying your blog and “traveling” with you for these experiences!

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      July 25, 2016 at 14:42

      Hope it’s not too hot where you are!

      Reply
  7. Diane Weisman

    July 24, 2016 at 11:51

    Tim, I love your blogs. They make me constantly realize how others live day to day, and how my family takes so many things for granted.These children you work with are so beautiful and special. I would have loved to see you playing monkey in the middle.

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      July 25, 2016 at 14:43

      It is good to be reminded of how much we have.

      Reply
  8. Julie Aquilizan

    July 31, 2016 at 18:27

    I wish I was there with you! It looks so fun!
    Julie

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      August 18, 2016 at 19:46

      Our traveling paths will cross again one day, I’m sure.

      Reply
  9. Em Burritt

    October 7, 2016 at 09:04

    Hi Tim, thanks for your blog. I will be going to El Provenir in February and am looking forward to it. Your entries help me see some of what to expect. I imagine I could be called ”Abuelita Em”, as my Mexican grandchildren call me, and as I will be 70 in February!! It is only a number, right? I am impressed at the thoroughness from NGOabroad and HCA to prepare me to be part of the programme. I look forward to using the Spanish I already have and to build on it. All the best on your further studies and travels.

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      October 12, 2016 at 02:04

      Hi Em, It sounds like you are well-prepared to take on the challenges of volunteering in El Porvenir. I think you’ll love it. Hanging around all those young people made me feel younger, even though they gasped every time I said my age! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions while you prepare for your trip. (otimo1995@gmail.com) Thanks for reading!

      Reply

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