Weaving and Professional Development

Day 10: Wednesday, August 8, 2012

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Frank and I started our last full day in Chajul by taking a tuk-tuk to the house where Christy and Joy did their homestay for a lesson in weaving. It was a fun ride over, and we quickly got into weaving with the the mother and her mother. Frank started working on a magenta bookmark and then I had a turn as well. It was special to be at the house with three generations of Chajulense women teaching us how to weave. It was an honor. We enjoyed the experience and returned to town for lunch and to prep for our afternoon PD.

We started the PD by taking pictures of all of the teachers and getting their contact info so LHI could set up a contact list for future PD sessions. Then we introduced ourselves and broke out into mini-sessions. We all led 30-minute sessions and then the instructors rotated from room to room. I had Laura with me to translate and we kept the agenda simple. I taught my groups of about 25 teachers how to make and play the game 24 with their students. It is a game where you get a card with four numbers on it and you need to use all four numbers once each to make the number 24. You can use parentheses and all four basic operations. I broke my teachers up into groups and then had a volunteer from each group come up to present a successful attempt at making “24.” Then I went over another game that teachers could use in which they get a card with four numbers and have to come up with as many equations using three or four of the numbers that they can. For example, if the card contained 12, 2, 8 and 3, one equation could be 12 x 2 = 8 x 3. These are both games that teachers can make with limited resources and allow students to work collaboratively and then share their reasoning with the entire class: two things that we did not see a lot of on our school visits. Finally, I reviewed my workshop model of class that I follow with a Do Now, Mini-Lesson, Group Practice, Group Present, and Summary. Much of the instruction we encountered was chalk and talk, teacher-centered.

After meeting with three groups of teachers we all reconvened in the library for refreshments of tamales and atol, the sweet corn-based drink with chocolate. We then headed back to LHI for some traditional dances by some LHI students and parting words from the gracious and supportive library staff. It was sad to realize that our time in Chajul was coming to an end. I bought five scarves from the Artisan Cooperative at LHI and we headed back to the posada to pack up and eat Frank’s special macaroni and cheese, which we all devoured.

Tomorrow: Off to market at Chichi and Lake Atitlan

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About prcloth

I am a high school math teacher in Boston who spent two weeks on a volunteer program in a town of mostly indigenous people in the highlands of Guatemala. I worked closely with the sponsor NGO, Limitless Horizons Ixil, and the residents, students, teachers and librarians of Chajul to extend educational opportunities to the region. I have included some details from this rich, authentic cultural exchange.
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