English Summer Camp in Balila

Award Amount: $58.60
Volunteer(s): M. Madely
Locations(s): Balila
Dates(s): July 2007
Participants: 80 girls, ages 9-17

The first three days of this camp involved an intensive training workshop for a previously selected group of 15 girls I know to be strong English students and willing to help me with the camp. All of these girls had participated in “English Team” the previous semester. My sister was here at that time, providing an incentive for the girls to come and help, as they had the chance to meet and talk to an American girl closer to their own age who did not speak Arabic. During those 3 days, we talked about how they would work with small groups of girls to make sure everyone had a chance to participate, and to give each participant more individual attention. We decorated the room and also made visual aids for the camp including interactive posters for the days of the week, weather, and calendar. As all the other teachers were busy with their families over the summer, I found that having students help worked out extremely well. They showed up every day and actively kept the other students on task.

The rest of the camp was held on weekdays. 4 groups of students came in, for one hour each. I worked with Tawjihi alone on grammar, then my helpers came in to assist with the other three age groups. Besides the Tawjihi group, every group focused on review of material they should know by now, such as letters, handwriting, basic phonics, greetings, weather, days of the week, describing yourself, and shopping. My helpers were amazing in facilitating a beneficial learning environment. They truly exceeded my expectations in their dedication to the project and the amount of help that they provided me. On fashion show day, two of my helpers brought bags of dress-up clothes to make the fashion show more entertaining for the girls. Most writing activities were done either on the board, on paper with pencils and crayons, or on white-boards made for the purpose from cardboard, paper and contact paper. Special white boards for tracing letters were made and used extensively as well (and are still in constant use this semester). The calendar, days of the week poster, and weather poster are also in use this year by all 6 of the English teachers in this school.

Finally, on the second to last day of camp, all of the TEFL trainee girls came to visit for one hour. My helpers and campers welcomed them with much fanfare, and really enjoyed meeting several new Americans! Students have already started inquiring after spots in next year’s camp…

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