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How to make elephant masks...

...with Peruvian children - a day up at the school making elephant masks with the kindergarten children, health and hygiene and computer lessons with year's 3 and 4

sunny 21 °C

Day 9 in Cusco - 17th May

Today I was scheduled to run a kindergarten class in the morning and help out with health and hygiene and a computer class in the afternoon.

The kindergarten class was my first try at lesson planning and I wanted to do something fun with the children as 3 and 4 year olds have extremely short attention spans! My teaching buddy Kirk and I didn’t have a curriculum from the teacher to use for planning, so we raided the store-room in the volunteer house for teaching supplies, craft materials and ideas. Coming across some animal masks, we decided to plan the lesson around a particular animal and find a story/song to tie the lesson together. Looking through the books in the stock-room, I found there were a very limited number of books in Spanish, though lots of English and Australian - not very useful when teaching 4 year Spanish speaking children! Trawling through the internet, I found a Spanish song about elephants balancing on spider webs which focused on counting…1 elephant, 2 elephants, 3 elephants balancing on a spiders web…etc. Kirk found some willing volunteers and using one of the animal masks as a template, we cut out 24 templates for our class.

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The next day, armed with the cut-out masks, elastic, pens, pencils, pens, glue, stickers and items for the children to stick onto the masks, we headed up the winding track to the school. Once Kirk, I and my room-mate Tanya (who was very excited at the thought of making elephant masks) arrived at the kindergarten classrooms, I asked the teacher if she could read the story to the children to start off the lesson. Luckily she knew the song and actions and sang it to the children. We joined in with the actions and afterwards I told the children that today “Hoy, vamos a acer masqueras de elefante” or “today, we will make animal masks”. We then handed out the masks, and helped the children draw on the elephant’s faces, colour them in and stick on stickers. My Spanish for body parts - boca, naris, y ohos and colours is definitely improving! The children got very excited and several fights broke out over the stickers. I was also quite amused to see one little boy had a ‘Hannah’ sticker on his elephant and a lot more had pictures of flowers and hearts! Gender stereotypes don’t seem to exist for Peruvian children!

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Once the children had finished colouring in their masks, we went round stapling on the elastic and helped them put them on. The teacher then sang the song again and we ended the lesson with the children joining in with the song and doing the actions in their elephant masks…so cute!

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Next I was scheduled to help with the health and hygiene. This takes place every day after the second lesson when the children have a break, have to wash their hands with soap, and put cream on their faces to stop sunburn and cracking. If this happened, the children could get parasites on their faces which leave scars and can give the children a lower social statue in their communities. After they’ve washed, they get a mug of warm milk or hot chocolate and a banana or piece of fruit.

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My last lesson of the day was computers, during this lesson Viv, my other flatmate had planned for the children to play some games to practice their mouse control and keyboard skills, so we had a fun filled hour helping the children play ‘Leah’s Colouring Farm” a game where you select colours with the mouse and click on various parts of a picture to colour them in, then a space invader style game, where letters fall from the sky and the children have to select the corresponding letter on the keyboard to ‘shoot’ them down. Great fun!

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Lessons over, we returned back down the dusty roads for some lunch and a well deserved rest!

Posted by JoannaLucy 19:14 Archived in Peru

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