Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Another Nice Volcano View, and My Rant on Maps

I'm not really sure which volcano this is...it could be the backside of San Miguel's, or it could be Usulutan's, or it could be some other random one that doesn't show up on any of my crappy maps.

Speaking of that, I think that I should draw my own map of El Salvador, since none of them seem to have all the roads on them, and since people are particularly great at giving directions. For example, last Friday I was in Gotera with Jose, just driving through on the way to Perquin. Only that driving through didn't turn out to be that easy, since nothing is marked. We asked at least five people, which left us going the wrong way on a one-way street by the market. And then a police officer sees us going the wrong way on this one-way street, but he turns out to be one of my former students whose name I could never pronounce right, and just laughs and gives us actual directions. Then, later on, we were asking people how long it takes to get from Gotera to Cacaopera (which we knew was only about 9 kms away), and we heard everything from 30 minutes to 2 hours. It took about 15 minutes. Hmmmmm.....
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Saturday, June 23, 2007


Finally, a nice picture of the San Miguel volcano! Still need to climb it, though. Maybe once it's not rainy season anymore.
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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Last Day!

Not really. I haven't gotten much of my wrap-up work finished yet, and I'm still going to be "working" through the end of July. But I can now technically say no and not feel bad too about it at all.

I've opened up a new Yahoo! 360°account...don't like it much other than the fact it automatically links to friends that you invite, which is kind of fun.

Off to Guatemala next week to travel with Cristyn and go to another conference in Xela at the Instituto Guatemalteco Americano branch there (which I have to say I always want to pronounce like this. Then back to try to find an apartment again in San Salvador.

And a trip to Perquin to see the museum and swim in the Rio Sapo tomorrow. Hopefully the roads won't kill anything else on my car.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

ELF Highlights: Fellows Joining Forces in El Salvador

From June 6 - 9, Fellows Allyson Kellum (Honduras) and Erin Lowry (El Salvador) teamed up to present workshops for teachers and professors in three locations in El Salvador: San Miguel, Santa Ana, and San Salvador.

The workshop in San Miguel drew public and private school teachers and Peace Corps volunteers to learn about interaction in the classroom. It combined theory with activities the participants could take into their classrooms. One teacher reported using one of the activities with his class a few hours after the workshop, excited by how successful it was!

In Santa Ana, a group of professors, teachers, and Peace Corps volunteers gathered to improve skills and techniques geared towards promoting communication in the classroom. This included questioning strategies, using drama, and a collection of interactive activities. Although shy at first, the group opened up and participated unabashedly by the time drama was introduced and practiced.

Three workshops were held in San Salvador. The first was attended by teachers and was based on "Teaching Jazz Chants to Young Learners," which is produced by the Office of English Language Programs with the help of Carolyn Graham. In the beginning, many teachers struggled with the rhythm of English, but with explanations and practice throughout the workshop, improvement was made. Participants had the opportunity to practice chants and to create and present their own chants.

The second workshop in San Salvador covered the same topic as in San Miguel, interaction. Again, it received positive feedback from the participants, and consisted of public and private school teachers, instructors from the binational center, and university professors.

The last workshop was for public school teachers who had been attending a methodology training course funded by the Embassy; many of the participants were in the first workshop and had traveled to San Salvador for the workshop and graduation ceremony from the training course. The workshop was geared specifically towards some of these particular teachers’ weaknesses, based on Fellow Erin Lowry's feedback from the course and observations of the participants' classes. Participants enjoyed Fellow Allyson Kellum's demonstration of how scaffolding can be used to communicate the meaning of a children's song with drawings and gestures, instead of translations into the Spanish. In addition to the song and scaffolding techniques, they also learned about eliciting, presenting new vocabulary, and classroom language.

The results of the cooperation between the Fellows and Embassies of the respective countries— educators were able to share what they know with others, gain insight into the theory behind teaching, and take several activities directly into their classes. The majority of participants expressed a desire to learn more, a need recognized and already being discussed by the Fellows and Embassies.

Participants: 195

Click here to read other highlights from the field...