Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 4 - Farm Based Education II

Since today was "Obamaday" and the students were off school we were not able to teach the lesson we painstakingly prepared. In exchange we had the opportunity to watch the inaugural address live on streaming internet TV. We may be living in the rainforest in the Virgin Islands, but this is still technically America. Thank you for coming through for us hulu.com, CNN totally fell down on its duty.

I could get into my analysis of the speech, the messy and halting swearing-in ceremony, or other political babble, but that is not what I'm *here* to accomplish. Instead, I'd like to talk about our method of lesson planning that I didn't get into in the Day 3 write-up.

As a group we approached the task of planning a class to teach the following day with apprehension. Can I teach what I am only just learning? I am terrible with children and they can smell fear. As someone who attempted to teach kids before, I understand the process that I went through to haphazardly plan English Language classes with little or no training. I know how stressful it can be. Our instructor, Nate, began by tempering our irrational fears with the idea of the 50/50 rule, expect 50% of your planning to work and have back-ups and alternatives to cover the rest.

Nate began with the analysis of the natural cycle, and ancient way of relaying information as described by the directions, seasons, and the cycles of seeds and growth. When we started to understand each of the positions on the circle we could see the roles that each of us would fill in the lesson. We played a game that we decided to rework for the students and came back to plan our class.

It was amazing the transformation that the group underwent through this activity. We returned to the planning area and each had clear ideas and impressions about how best to relay the information to the kids. The run-through wasn't perfect, but armed with the proper tools I think we can handle a group of 8-12 year-olds.


  1. You'll be fine with the kids... scary lil buggers but nothing in comparison to stressed out late nights hating the blaring news in your face... I find it oddly appropriate that you used the same template as the one I used for my food blog. I'm still figuring out a good weekend to come visit. I am sick of winter!

  2. a) the plate of food looks delicious and i like the before and after.
    b) are these kids from a local school you're supposed to teach?
    c) all i can think of is what you're doing, how you're approaching the subject is SO different from what you had been doing in DC; what I am doing in DC right now. it's cool just get to step the f. back and work with a different paradigm....

  3. so jealous about that plate. NOM!

  4. To respond to Anka, the students from local schools come up for a program we call Natural Mentors. It's an opportunity for kids to interact with and get an appreciation for nature. Also, the goal is to empower them with skills and self-confidence that they can then take into their community.

    Fenster, OMG the food here is amazing. Every day we have a gigantic bowl of fresh salad greens picked about 30 minutes before we sit down to eat. In season we have growing now: awesome tomatoes, okra, eggplant, pumpkins, soursop (fruit), Carambola (starfruit), sour oranges, and various other veggies and fresh herbs. Chef Keith takes care of us for the innovative and phenomenal local slow-foods meals every day. I'll write more about it when we get to our section on slow foods.

    Yesterday for dinner we had local grass-fed beef that had been stewed from before breakfast. Mm.