Part of my duties as an intern for the Center for Global Studies is leading an after-school club at a local K-8 elementary school. Every Monday for the past nine weeks or so I go to the Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania Charter School to teach a group of students about the Spanish culture I experienced while I was abroad. In the beginning I was a little unsure of how I would take the knowledge I gained over an entire semester and translate it into something that would be fun and interesting for nine and ten year olds. I was also nervous to be the teacher after sitting in a classroom chair for so long but I knew I would overcome this fear as time went on.
I had no idea what to expect the first day even though I planned on going over the logistics of the club. Although I only have three students in my club, I immediately liked all of them because they seemed really interested in the subject matter. We spent the rest of that first day discussing what they wanted to learn throughout the semester while also talking about what I wanted to teach them.
Since then we have learned about a variety of topics. The first lesson we did was based on soccer, or fútbol to the Spaniards. Spain has a long history of fútbol success and a cult like following. Two of the three kids play soccer so they were especially interested in the topic. In the first session, I taught them about five footballers that are either from Spain or play club there. We played a matching game where they had to connect a footballers name, picture, nationality and position. The activity was definitely a challenge, but one of the girls enjoyed it so much that she took the completed activity home. Luckily the following Monday was so beautiful that we were able to go outside and play soccer. It was hard to scrimmage with so few kids but we took turns playing goalie, passing and shooting. The kids definitely enjoyed being outside after a long day of school and I was glad to be moving as well.
The next unit was Spanish art and some of the famous artists who are world-renowned. The first lesson was on Pablo Picasso. Using a PowerPoint presentation I shared some interesting facts about Picasso including his date and place of birth, influences on his work and his most famous paintings. After the brief introduction, the kids worked on collages because Picasso was the first modern artist to use this medium. The following week we focused on the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Again, I used PowerPoint to highlight a few important aspects of his life and share pictures of his work that I took in Barcelona. The kids then made clay models of the lizard displayed in Parc Guell that has become a symbol for Gaudí’s work. All three kids really enjoyed working with clay. After they finished the lizard, there was enough clay for the kids to come up with their own creations such as a flower, heart, and even Pokémon. I know this doesn’t have much, or anything, to do with Spain but I don’t mind if the students show some additional creativity.
This week we changed gears a bit and learned about the novel Don Quixote. Written by a Spaniard, Don Quixote is arguably one the best books ever written so I wanted to introduce it to my three kids. The actual novel is probably above my reading level but I learned what I could over Wikipedia and turned it into a “Once Upon a Time” story that the fourth graders could relate to. After that, they colored in a picture of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza standing in front of a windmill. Then they worked on a word search based on points highlighted in the story. One of the girls told me it was a too easy, but I was having a hard time deciding what was appropriate for their grade level.
Overall, I really enjoy my time leading the after school club. I like talking to the kids about their school days, what they did over the weekend and what they dressed up as for Halloween. In the coming club weeks, I hope to teach the students about festivals/holidays, food and the Royal Family.