Wow, what a day! We saw so many things and learned a lot.
Our morning started off at 5:30 am. We got on our bus that was waiting for us just outside the hotel. Our first stop was the coffee plantation for a tour and breakfast. As usual, breakfast was great, and we got to go on a tour of how coffee beans are made. You wouldn't believe how long it takes to make coffee! The tour was really cool and the coffee smelled great.
Our next stop was the volcano. It is one of five active volcanoes on the island. It even had a sign saying, "in case of an eruption... stay calm." When we arrived, we had to walk up to this viewing area. When we got to the top, it was the prettiest thing I have ever seen. There was smoke arising from the volcano, and then when it cleared, you could see the crater. We decided to walk to another crater which had turned into a lake. The walk was pretty steep, and you were encaged by branches and leaves. I nearly passed out! We saw some wildlife along the way. When we got to the top, there was a beautiful lake. The landscape in Costa Rica is much greener than it is back home, and the air is fresh. After taking a couple of photos, we decided to walk back down to our bus to go to our last stop.
Hola! We started off the day with our morning classes at CRLA. I have to say, waking up early and going to three hours of Spanish was something I was not looking forward to. But I did have a change of heart. Over the past two days we have learned so much Spanish it blows my mind. First of all, our (Alcuin) teachers, who basically knew nothing about Spanish, have been communicating at the places we have gone so well. Second, the classes go by so fast, and we all enjoy our teachers a lot.
When the noon hour arrived we filled up on a very satisfying lunch, that consisted of rice and beans, a choice of meat, and vegetables. Some of the kids also enjoyed an ice cream. After our lunch break we had an afternoon lesson and were assigned homework for this evening. It was then that we were led to a studio room for Latin dance lessons! Little did we know we would all be pushed to our physical limits as the instructor set the music level on high and led us through several styles of dance. Our smiles may have belied our fatigue, but it was such a great opportunity to try something new. Hopefully our muscles will recoup as we get another chance tomorrow to dance.
Day of the Dead Presentation y Calaveras de Azúcar
Mrs. Rita gave a presentation about Halloween and the Day of the Dead. Students learned about the historical origins of the holidays and their transformation into the celebrations of today. Through video, PowerPoint, and hands-on activities the students were able to investigate and compare aspects of each tradition.
Ana, Emilia and Andrea’s mom, kindly volunteered to organize a Sugar Skull-making experience with the Elementary and Extended Day classes. Gracias!
Middle School Field Trip to Pilsen
Students had the chance to visit an area where the culture thrives – the Chicago neighborhood of Pilsen! With Ms. Sophia as a guide, students explored the many murals that have blossomed in the most unexpected places — on the fronts of homes, along railway overpasses, and wrapped around train platforms. Ms. Rita led the visit to the National Museum of Mexican Art in which the offerings/ofrendas displayed were admired and studied by students and teachers.
The trip ended at the wonderful and unique restaurant MeztiSoy. In addition to serving authentic and fresh Mexican food, they also offer a variety of vegetarian Mexican meals and fresh fruit juices. Chef Raul directs the kitchen; he cooked for us and explained some secrets of the Mexican cuisine to our students.
The Middle School students and Mrs. Rita have been exploring strategies that would allow us to use the Spanish learned in class in different environments. To that end, two of the Middle Schoolers visited a Primary classroom, and gave beautiful lessons to small groups of children. Within their role as Spanish teachers, the girls wrote a lesson plan, and used their Spanish skills to support the younger students. The lessons consisted of working with flashcards and reinforcing the Primary students’ learned vocabulary by matching and/or reading.
The Middle school students not only achieved their goal of speaking Spanish successfully in a different environment, but also learned a lesson in leadership, responsibility, being role models, and building bridges within our Alcuin community. The language acquisition for the Primary students’ was also enhanced by their interaction with new people using the target language. It was a wonderful experience for everyone involved!
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