If there's one thing I've learned from my years of babysitting it is that candy has the supernatural power of engaging any child. And today, that was definitely the case as all 23 kids present at Semillero today clambered their way to the piñata hanging in the courtyard-- a gift from an American family visiting Guatemala. So for the kids of Semillero, today was quite a special day. Especially for Katarín, who's birthday was yesterday. Since her family does not have money to spare, she wasn't able to have a cake or any gifts for her birthday. But today she had 4 extra hits at the piñata and was quite content with her bursting bag of candy.
And for me today was an especially rewarding day not only because I had some delicious lollipops, but also because the older groups of students I've been working with for a while are now beginning to understand the concept of conjugating verbs! After hunting down index cards in the mercado, I created a small card game using the different verb conjugations in English, along with their Spanish meanings. (e.g. Yo soy/estoy = I am). These cards, in combination with the pile of adjectives, combine to make short descriptive sentences like "Yo estoy feliz=I am happy," "Ellos son inteligentes=They are smart," etc. This was especially gratifying because they are now gaining their independence to speak for themselves. So instead of just memorizing phrases like "My name is..." based on their sounds, they are now comprehending the significance of their words and the possibility of building basic sentences in English independently. So here are some videos of Brian, Fernando and Jorge playing the new game. And I also couldn't help but throw in one funny video of my brief conversation with Angel-- despite it being short, he was quite pleased with his English, as you will see.
So now that I'm really getting into the swing of things, I now must begin a new project. Though I have been filming Semillero's daily activities, tomorrow I will begin my interviews with the children, the professor and the founder of Semillero to assemble a short video for the internet to make Semillero as an non-profit organization less abstract and more accessible. So although it will be a bit disruptive, I will try to continue a few English classes daily while also accomplishing short interviews in the same day. I figure this is the time to begin the filming, not only to give plenty of time for editing and presenting, but also because I now feel that the kids are comfortable enough to open up to me and the camera. So tomorrow that project begins and my teaching continues-- it will be quite a juggling act considering how busy I am with just my classes! But I anticipate that the interviews will be entertaining for both myself and the kids and spice up the routine a bit. Will write back to let you know how they go.