A few months ago I attended an Environmental Education Workshop in Perquin with the director of my school and one of our science teachers. It focused on using a book put together by Peace Corps volunteers that includes many interactive ways to teach students about taking care of the environment. I used this book a lot last year when I was teaching the younger kids about the environment (the project that ended with the trip to the children’s museum and zoo in San Salvador). I consider this book an incredible resource for teachers in El Salvador because the lessons are easy, cheap (little to no materials), and fun. Most importantly, it covers a topic that is often neglected here--the environment. The problem with my project last year was that I did most of the teaching, which does not make for a sustainable foundation for giving environmental education here in Upire.
So when I heard about this workshop I signed my two teachers up immediately. During the four day event they were able to see us volunteers facilitate various lessons in the book, participate in hands on activities and small field trips, and prepare and present their very own class. It was a very practical and helpful workshop giving my teachers the confidence to actually teach the classes on their own in our school.
My director left the workshop enthusiastic and motivated to not only reproduce all of the lessons with all of the students in Upire, but also share this information with our entire district (a group of 4 schools in our area). Thus, the idea to replicate the workshop for our district was born. We pretty much mimicked the one that Peace Corps held in Perquin only a smaller version lasting only one day.
In the morning my teachers and I presented 3 different lessons from the book. I opened the workshop with a brief presentation of the status of the environment in El Salvador. Then my director followed with a lesson on Erosion and how important it is to take care of our trees.
I then presented on trash management and a project that some Peace Corps volunteers are doing using trash and bottles to build classrooms. In order to build the classrooms my fellow PCVs need 13,000 plastic bottles FILLED with trash, so we decided to help them out by making bottle-filling part of the day.
Following the contest to fill as many bottles as possible, Nina Tonita presented her lesson on ecosystems and how everything living thing is connected in a "web of life."
Following that lesson we had a small break and lunch. The afternoon was reserved for the teachers to prepare and present their very own lesson from the book. I am happy to report that all the teachers were enthusiastic and did a wonderful job presenting their lessons despite only having an hour to practice.
Also for me this was a great way to come back from vacation. I had not a minute to think about being home sick for the states as I was stressing about putting on a good event for these teachers. POST VACAY blues averted. Thank goodness.
Until next time...take care of yourselves, each other, and the environment :)