Volunteer Nadia Report 2011 - 2012
Our UK volunteer Nadia arrived in Rio in late October 2011. She is run English classes for the kids until April 2012. Nadia reported on the activities regularly, below.
My name is Nadia, I have been volunteering in the UK Task Brasil office over the last year. I am so excited to report back to you from Rio de Janeiro. I am volunteering at Casa Jimmy for the next five months and I will be teaching English at our new socio-educational project.
Since I arrived we have been very busy preparing the newly refurbished premises and planning the lessons and activities for the new project. There is a real sense of excitement as all the staff here, and in the UK, are gearing up for what is going to be an amazing project.
The children and young people we will work with over the course of the next three months will benefit from an innovative IT and English Language Course which will greatly improve their career prospects, also; emotional literacy and support, self development, literacy and numeracy support, citizenship classes, educational/cultural activities which will empower them in their own communities, a range of sports and wellbeing classes and income generating skills. All the classes have been designed to equip these young people with skills that will really benefit them in their educational/personal development. They will be supported and encouraged along the way to overcome limitations and difficulties in their lives.
I am so happy to be a part of this project and I will be reporting back to you regularly with our progress and what we are up to. I think it is so important that you get to see and hear about what amazing things we are able to do with your support. The change we can facilitate in these young people’s lives will set them up for a bright future.......
Tchau for now,
Wednesday 3 November 2011: a typical day for Nadia! For more details CLICK HERE!
Today we had our second day of school; the classes were broken down into the four groups as we had more lessons today; English, IT and Citizenship plus curriculum support sessions.
In English we learnt the alphabet and practised writing and spelling objects, e.g. a is for apple, b is for bee, c is for cat... This was good as the students got to practice the pronunciation of the English alphabet an also increase their vocabulary. We then learnt the days of the week, months of the year and played some games and puzzles to practice this. Each student learnt how to ask 'when is your birthday' and answer 'my birthday is......' with each of their birthdays. We ended the classes with learning some verbs and practised making short sentences with these verbs e.g. John eats cake. Julie plays chess. Mike watches television.
Again all the students were eager to learn and excited to practice their English.
After classes they played some quick games in the garden while lunch was being served and then they left for school.
December, January and February are holiday months in Brazil. A number of beneficiaries travelled to visit relatives, during these months or had other commitments already arranged.
Nadia, our British Volunteer in Rio, reports below how our beneficiaries are progressing in their English lessons.
Carlos G is doing well at the project, his attendance is good and he is participating more and more. He has a good level of understanding, always completes his work on time and is becoming more confident in communication. He needs to practice his Englsih conversation skills.
Victor L is doing very well, he has a very good understanding of the content taught and his work is always completed to a high level. At times he can be quite excitable and distracting to other students but he just needs a gentle reminder and he calms down. He does need practice speaking however, his pronunciation of English needs practice and improvement.
Cristiano´s attendance is very good. He is one of the brightest students and loves to learn and achieve new things. His pronunciation is very good and with practice and continued learning he will be able to speak English fluently. He gets all his work done, at times is very excitable and can be a little distractive to other students but he is always able to calm down and return to his work.
Jefferson requires lots of 1:1 attention and he thrives when he receives this kind of support. We have been working a lot on writing and memorising the alphabet- in Portuguese too as Jefferson has great difficulty remembering which letters are which. I believe he is dyslexic and have spoken to Vania/Danielle about my concerns. He lacks confidence in reading and writing but when he feels comfortable he is able to learn and actually knows more than he thinks he does. Jefferson excels in other areas though- he is very creative and very competent in communication, his behaviour is good in class, at break times he can become very excitable and gets carried away and also his mood can switch quite suddenly and he becomes upset and withdrawn.
Jonathas has improved a lot over this month. His attendance has been good and his behavior is much better, I think as he has built stronger relationships with staff here he is responding much better and taking a lot more interest in his studies. He is able tpo grasp the essence of the lessons and completes his work well, however he has a limited attention span and he needs to be kept engaged by use of a range of activities including games and practical work. His behaviour worsens when he loses interest and he responds best to 1:1 tutoring.
Gerson B has great ability in English, his pronunciation is very good and he has a good vocabulary. He needs to continue to practice and really learn the language, eg. Grammar and writing etc.. If he continues he can be a fluent English speaker. Gerson really does not like written work, he is very slow and never completes his work, majority of his learning takes place conversationally. His behaviour is very good and although he is often late his attendance is good.
Ronald L enjoys English and takes pride in his work, he always finishes the set exercises. He does need to repeat the same thing a lot as he struggles to remember what he has already learnt. His pronunciation needs practice. Behaviour is great, his attendance has been good but has dropped a little towards the end of the month.
Welerson F has a good understanding of English, but also struggles to remember what he has learnt before, he needs to practice speaking and putting his skills into practice a lot more, in order to improve his pronunciation and vocabulary. His behaviour is fine but his attendance has been poor.
Barbara S is the strongest student in English, she has a very good understanding and is able to grasp much more advanced levels of grammar etc. Her pronunciation is good, she should continue to practice and use her English as much as possible and she will easily learn to speak fluently. She has had a lot of absence this month due to holiday but when she returned she was just as eager to learn and a pleasure to teach.
Lucas A has had poor attendance this month. He has a good understanding of the content taught but needs to practice speaking.
Renan S has a very good understanding of English, he is very intelligent. He always completed his work to a high standard and often helps his classmates. He needs to practice speaking and build his confidence in communicating in English. His attendance has been good but has dropped the last few weeks, his behaviour is excellent.
Ana Luiza B This month Ana´s attendance has been very poor due to holiday season. She needs a lot of attention and has short attention span. She enjoys learning English and always has questions. She is not very keen on writing and lost of her learning takes place through conversations and reading. Her pronunciation is good but can be improved upon.
Jennifer B has improved a lot since we first started but she still lacks confidence in her ability. Of ten she knows more than she thinks she does, she always completes her work to a good standard but sometimes she is lazy and doesn’t record anything in her book. Her attendance has been bad this month although towards the end has improved.
Everton G really enjoys learning English; he has a good understanding of the class material and always finishes his work to a good standard. He really needs to practice speaking more as he struggles with basic pronunciation. His behaviour is good but his attendance has really slipped toward the end of this month.
Yasmin T has improved drastically since we first began. Her confidence in the language is a lot stronger and she is enjoying learning more and more. At times she can be lazy though and doesn’t complete her work. This month her attendance has been poor.
Raquel Due to holiday Raquel has not attended much this month, when she does attend she enjoys her lessons and is an active participant. She has a good base to build upon and with practice and continued learning she can excel in English.
Anderson M is relatively new to the project, he has a good understanding and basic level of English, at times he works very well and other time sis very distracted. He is confident and able to form good relationships with other students and his teachers. His behaviour is good and with continued learning his English can improve vastly.
Nathalia D is new to the project. She is yet to really adapt to learning English, she knows a few words but her pronunciation is not very good. Over time I think she can improve. Her behaviour is good and her attendance has also been good since she joined the project.
Nathan is a good student in English, he knows a lot and is very confident in speaking. Most of his learning took place through speaking as he also does not like to write a lot. With practice his knowledge of English, vocabulary and speaking ability will continue to grow and he can also be a fluent speaker. His attendance is good although is slipping a bit and he is often late. His behaviour is fine.
The older age group are always calmer and are progressing really well. Today we listened to a lovely song by Alicia Keyes and they wrote down every word they recognised from the song. Then we went over and over until more and more words were realised. Gradually the meaning of the song came to life and they were able to express what they thought the song was about. Also they learnt and translated the words and then we highlighted all the verbs. Next lesson we will conjugate these verbs.
In the second group today (the Juniors) we did the same thing but with a different song and with a video to go with it so the story was easier to understand.
We have been learning how to give and ask for directions in English Class. Today we continued with this and the children drew maps and wrote in full sentences how to get to various points on the map. The children´s regular school has shut down for the holidays so the children are excited and in high spirits. At times they are so excitable that we need to play games or listen to music to maintain their attention. This is always a good time to practice their conversation skills in English and expand their vocabulary.
Saturday´s Activities 10/12/11
As Natal (Christmas) is fast approaching today we had a very christmasy theme at Casa Jimmy. We decorated the house with lights and wreaths and tinsel and also the children decorated two Christmas trees, they look so festive and pretty.
In the Music lessons the children were taught to play Christmas songs and sang them too.
The income generating activity was making jewellery and Christmas decorations, you can see in the pictures the creativity that the children have.
The recreational activity was to design Banners and Posters to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and the children had the opportunity to write cards to some of our sponsors and Trustees, they wrote in English and Portuguese and drew wonderful pictures inside. They also made a Christmas tree and Bourbells to hang from it and each of the children wrote a personal message on their bourbell.
Aswell as these fun activities the children had Reading class and those that needed to catch up or extra support in English were provided with this.
Today I taught the junior classes, we recapped on some of the things we had learnt before and the children wrote them in their English Workbooks. We covered large numbers, and practiced writing and speaking. Also we drew different items of food and drinks and learnt their names. Next class we will have a short quiz and a memory game. This will help the children remember the vocab and so they can continue to build on their pronunciation too.
This week we combined the English classes with the Lego activity. It gave the children a chance to broaden their vocabulary as well as conversational skills. I saw that this method of learning was very successful with them. Each week the children are given a theme or concept and are asked to design and build something from Lego inlign with the concept. This activity always proves popular, especially with the boys and they have amazing creativity. Its also a great way to improve on important skills such as working in a team and encouraging and helping eachother. You can see the pictures of what we created this week.
Also on Saturday the children had Music lessons, income generating skills workshop and citizenship workshops.
Another long day at the project but another successful one and as always everyone had a great time teaching and learning.
The older group are a joy to teach and they are very accustomed to me speaking only english to them now. They pretty much understand everything I say to them now, I may have to speak very slowly, repeat myself and use actions, but it encourages them to stay alert and keep their brains engaged. Some of the class have great pronounciation and are so proud of themselves when they get things right. Today we recapped quickly on time telling and then possevives and pronouns. I also got them to complete a short story and translate it to ensure they understood everything they were learning.
Today was a very very hot day in Rio and I think this affected the children. They were very excitable and hard to keep engaged in the lesson. We played some games and practised conversation skills but very little got done today. The girls in the class practised their english writing skills but the boys were much more interested in playing with eachother and making music by using their chairs as drums and linguistic sounds. I turned this to my advantage and we created a song in English of course.
As usual on Saturdays the children are very excited as they have lots of activities going on. Apart from English lessons they also had Music and IT classes, they made jewellery in the income generating activity and constructed lego. They were given a brief to construct something that could be used by people with disabilities and were encouraged to think about the effects of living with a disability. The things they made were great and showed their creativity ability and to understand the brief. Also the children watched a movie.
In English we covered personal pronouns, time telling and large numbers.
Quinta- Feira 17/11/11 (10-14yr olds)
Today I taught the important words- Who, What, Where, When, How and Which. As a whole class we learned their meanings and practiced the correct pronounciation. Then individually the children made sentances beginning with these words.
For example; Where do you live? When is your birthday.....
Although they needed help creating their sentances they very much enjoyed writing in English. It was good to see how they have learnt and remembered words from some games we have played and were keen to use them.
Sexta-Feira 18/11/11 (15-17 yr olds)
Today we covered ´possesives´ in singular and plural, eg. this is a cat´s tail, these are a bird´s wings.
They learnt new vocabulary and the difference between ´this is´and ´these are´ and also the rule of ´an´used with vowels.
The word ´whose´was quite difficult to explain but we got their in the end.
The first class managed to grasp this quite quickly and so we moved on to cover the various ways to ask for the time and the different ways to respond. The second class did not get this far but we will cover it next lesson.
Unfortunately due to very heavy rain few of our adolescents came today. Also due to the heavy rainfall (I suspect) our internet connection was down. So I took this opportunity to practice conversation skills with the teenagers. I told them we would speak only in English for the next hour and a half. We reflected on thethings we had learnt over the past weeks and used them in our conversations. We then chose different subject matter and went around in a circle asking eachother questions. This was really successful beacuse it helped them to understand and practice how to use words in a conversation and the exercise also helped to build their vocabulary.
On saturdays each ´Turma´ has their classes individually. In English we practised conversations and listened to interviews in English. Then we went through them bit by bit and translated them. Then repeated to practice the pronounciation. I also incorporated Music and Games to help improve their English skills. The children love playing Hangman and learning English songs. The older age group have a good knowledge of English now, and although some are still learning the basics, some of the class are able to hols conversations for quite a while and can understand a lot of what I say in English.
Other classes and activities that we offered on Saturday were, Music, Reading, IT and also the children were able to watch a movie and have popcorn.
Wed 10/11/11 15-17yr olds
Both groups learn really fast and today we sped through introductions, personal pronouns and the verb ´to be´. Also we played hangman using english words of course so the group expanded their vocabulary of Countries, fruit and veg and body parts. Also I covered numbers with one group, all the way up to the hundred thousands. At first they thought it was too difficult but then realised that once they understood 1-9 and the ´teens´ and the´tys´english numbers just repeat themselves. They were very happy with themselves that by the end of the class they could recognise, say and write very large numbers.
Tues 9/11/11 10-14yr olds
English lessons continued where we left off last week, the students were keen to learn and play games in english. We also taught eachother songs in english and portuguese and then sang them in rounds. The group is bonding well and they are getting used to communicating in English, although at this stage it is still at a basic level.
Saturday 6th November 2011
Today was the end of our first week of the project, on saturdays both the age groups come together and have a range of classes such as music, reading sports and leisure/cultural activities.
I started this morning by taking the younger group (10-14yr olds) to a near by Museum, Benjamin Constant, which is a short walk from Casa Jimmy in Santa Tereza. Unfortunately the museum was closed as a tree had recently fallen and the area was declared unsafe for visitors at that time. So instead we took the group to a very old and beautiful colonial house, which is now used as a library. We sat in the lush tropical garden, under the shade of a hude tree, and had snacks. After we took the group inside and they spent time viewing an exhibition honouring the African descendants of Brazil.
After we went back to the garden and Eliza explained the history of the house and how it came to be used as a library today.
In the afternoon we took the second group (15-17yr olds) to Parque das Ruínas.
The Centro Cultural Parque das Ruínas is located high up on the Santa Teresa hill. It may be the most picturesque cultural center in Rio de Janeiro and offeres amazing 360 views of the city. The Cultural Center was one of the residences of the famous Patron of the Arts from the Rio Belle Époque, Laurinda Santos Lobo. We spent time here exploring the ruins and taking pictures and explaining the history of the building.
On the way back to th Casa Jimmy we all sang Bob Marley songs through the street s on Santa Tereza, this was fun and a great bonding exercise for the group and us, the leaders.