Holiday English Camp

Award Amount: $115.00
Volunteer(s): K. Fess
Locations(s): Hashmieh
Dates(s): May-June 2006
Participants: 210 female, 4th-10th grade

Two hundred and ten girls from ages five through sixteen came to the Holiday English Club which was held four days a week for four weeks at the Hashmieh Basic School for Girls, where I teach.  There were four sessions per day and each group came twice a week.  The first group on Sunday and Tuesday was the 6th graders, then the preschool, 1st and 2nd graders together, then the 4th graders, and the 8th‘, 9th, and 10th graders who came every day.  On Monday and Wednesday, the first group was the 7th graders, then the 3rd graders, 5th graders, and the 8th, 9th, and 10th graders.  School lasted from 9-1 with each group going for 45 minutes to one hour.  Each group worked on different things to encourage them to speak more English and enhance the skills they learned during the year.  For instance, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders reviewed the alphabet (flashcards, worksheets), colors (worksheets), time (worksheets and clocks), days of the week (calendar), months of the year, vocabulary words through BINGO and flashcards, and learned the song The Wheels on the Bus.  The 4th graders introduced themselves, reviewed the days of the week (calendar), months of the year, seasons, time (worksheets), read short paragraphs (worksheets) and answered questions, discussed jobs of various people, and did a following directions worksheet.  The 5th and 6th graders listened to a story about a blind boy, answered questions and decoded a Braille message sheet, introduced themselves, reviewed alphabet and all of the sounds, days of the week, months of the year, seasons, time (worksheets), shapes (worksheet), and learned the continents (map) and what animals lived on each.  The 6th graders also did worksheets dealing with ‘The House”.  The 7th graders introduced themselves, went over alphabet and their sounds, did worksheets that reviewed words dealing with ‘The House’, read short stories and learned how to summarize.  The 8th, 9th, and 10th graders group was small (12-15) and they decided they wanted to meet every day so we did.  One girl came from another village every day and took 2 buses to get here because she wanted to learn more English.  They went over the alphabet and the sounds of all of the letters, did worksheets dealing with verbs of action, daily activities, reading a map and finding places on it, reading short paragraphs and discovering the humor in them, reading short stories and summarizing them.

Funding was used to make copies of the worksheets, make the BINGO game, the calendars, covering them with contact paper, buying pens, pencils, erasers for the board, chart paper, paper plates for clocks, paper fasteners, paper clips, rubber bands, certificates, etc.

All of the girls said that they really enjoyed going to the Holiday English Club.  Some came every day even though their group wasn’t scheduled.  If they were scheduled for 11:00 they came at 9:00 and waited around for their group to begin.

Before the Holiday English Club began, about six teachers in the school helped color worksheets and pictures for the BINGO game, make signs, and talk with the students about coming and sign them up.  One of the teachers said she might help but her husband wanted her to go to Malasia with him so she didn’t.  My counterpart had an engagement and a wedding in her family so wasn’t able to help teach but encouraged me with activities, loaned me English books for ideas for teaching, etc.  Plus she was potty training one of her four daughters who she cared for.  One woman who was a student teacher in English and lives in Hashmieh, helped me clean the rooms, get them set up and organize some of the many materials I had.  She was going to help me teach but had other commitments as it turned out.  A student’s mother, Fatima, who is a former English teacher, helped me throughout the summer with teaching, translating, and preparing materials.  She indicated that she gained a lot of confidence in teaching and learned a lot from me as far as organizing, teaching materials, and general vocabulary pronunciation.  I learned vocabulary and techniques from her as well.  There were four girls, two in the 6th grade and two in the 7th grade who were invaluable help to me.  They helped keep a register of attendance, translate words for me to the younger students, helped work with them when more hands were needed making clocks and telling time.  The two 7th grades actually taught two classes on colors and did a wonderful job.  One of the 6th graders came with the 6th and 7th graders as she wanted to learn more English.  One of the girls said that she gained confidence in speaking English, learned the value of being on time, and of organization.  In a short written survey I took after the program, the girls said they all liked the program, would come again next year, liked speaking English and there was nothing that they didn’t like.

Our country director and TEFL manager came to my summer camp and were very enthused.  The last week the new J10 group of  TEFL women (11) came to observe and participate as well.

There was a frustration on my part because many of the groups were too large for effective individual speaking in English.  There were two student teachers of English in our school who said they would help teach but they never showed up.  The children did review and learn new skills and seemed happy and the help that was there was wonderful.


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