Caritas

Goal: To spend one afternoon in Caritas taking care of children.

Learning Outcome: Recognise and consider the ethics of my choices and actions.

Before

Currently, I am feeling very nervous about this activity. My task is to go to Caritas, a daycare center for children whose family have economic problems, and spend my afternoon there feeding, playing, and helping the children with their homework. While this does not sound like a very hard task, I have never been too good with children, so I am worried that I will not be very useful to the people working at Caritas. However, I will make sure to give it my all while I’m there. Let’s hope everything goes well!

During

My Caritas experience was much better than what I had anticipated! When I got there, I had to help set up a table and feed the children as they came. After that, I was assigned a child and had to spend the rest of my afternoon with her. She was a 6th grader and, throughout the first half of the afternoon, I helped her with her maths homework. This was possibly the most challenging part of my experience, as she was studying things I was not entirely familiar with due to me never having gone to a spanish school. Because of this, I made some mistakes when teaching her how to solve problems, but I ended up correcting them and everything turned out well in the end.

After that, the girl and I played chess together, and she even made up some games of her own! She was a very imaginative child, and it was very fun to spend the afternoon with her.

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The girl and I playing chess.

After

All in all, this CAS experience turned out much better than expected. It led me to truly consider the impact my presence had on the children I met and their afternoon. These young people have not had the opportunities I’ve had but, thankfully, the presence of institutions like Caritas, with the help of volunteers like myself, are there to help them succeed in life. If it hadn’t been for my actions, this girl might have not been able to complete her maths homework, for example, and I wouldn’t have been able to face a new challenge and find out more about the lives of children who I may have never met otherwise. While it was not the ideal Service experience for me (I prefer getting involved with environmental matters), my afternoon in Caritas was still very personally useful and enriching, and I am glad to have participated in it.

 

Reading to Children: After

Although I planned to continue this activity further, I was not able to do so. The school’s schedule and my own never coincided – they could only allow me to go in the morning, but I myself have school at that time. This was quite disheartening for me, as I truly enjoyed reading to those children, but I wasn’t able to make it work out.

Still, I did manage to achieve the two learning outcomes I connected to this activity. I did “undertake new challenges”, as it was the first time I ever read to children. It was a completely new experience for me, and it was very enriching. I learned how to get the kids involved with the story, which was very fun to do and also a very useful skill to deal with children. I also achieved the learning outcome that requires me to “consider the ethical implication of my action”. I aknowledge how important reading is for the development of cognitive processes, especially in young children. I also realise that these children rarely have people read to them, which means it is unlikely for them to get hooked on reading. Therefore, my reading to them was possibly a rare and valuable happening in my life, and it hopefully inspired them to become independently interested in reading themselves. However, my intervention could have been more useful if I had been able to go to the school more times.

Hence, if I could repeat this activity all over again, I would certainly do it and, this time, I would like to visit the school many more times than just one.

School Christmas Concert

Learning Outcome: Work collaboratively with others.

Goal: To help my school celebrate its 50th Anniversary in the best way possible.

Before

This year, my school becomes 50 years old! To celebrate this special occasion, they are organising many different activities and shows to build up our community’s spirit. One of these events is the ASB Christmas Concert, which will be held in one of the most well-known theatres in town.

This is a very exciting opportunity for the school, but it is certainly no easy task! Therefore, us 12 graders will be helping out with anything the school needs on the day of the show. I have been asked to work backstage and, while I don’t know exactly what my job will be, I will galdly perform any task that helps this concert go smoothly.

Right now, the only thing I am worried about is that I am not the best when it comes to calming down or entertaining small children, so I have no idea if I will be useful in that regard. However, I will try my best if need be. Let’s hope everything goes well!

During

Helping out in my school’s Christmas Concert was certainly interesting. For a while, everything seemed a bit chaotic, and I was not sure what I was supposed to be doing, so I decided to help the ASB Model United Nations club set up a fund raising stand, which seemed to be the most pressing matter that needed to be handled.

However, the concert soon began and I took my place backstage. After that, I spent the evening making sure children backstage were quiet and sometimes leading them from their changing rooms to the stage. Luckily, they were all very well behaved and there were no issues in that regard. The concert was a success, and everybody had a wonderful night!

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Christmas Concert Final Act

After

I am very happy everything turned out well at the concert. Still, it was not perfect. At times, I felt rather useless, as many times there was nothing for me to do and I felt as if I was just taking up space. A lot of my classmates agreed that there were too many volunteers there and not enough work for all of us. Maybe I should also try to be more proactive in the future, but I still felt that the organization of the event was lacking in that respect.

Still, I am glad nothing went wrong, and I will most definitely help out with any other event my school chooses to organise!

Charity Drive for Syrian Refugees

Learning Outcomes:

  • Worked collaboratively with others.
  • Engaged with issues of global importance.

Goal: To collect as many boxes of supplies as I possibly can to send to these refugees.

This past week, my class and I organized a collection of resources for Syrian refugees. For a week, each of us students had to make sure a particular class would bring different supplies to donate to the refugees. In my case, I had to make sure the 6th graders brought in materials related to the refugees’ dental hygiene, such as toothbrushes, mouthwash, and dental floss.

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The box I innitially designed for the 6th graders.

In order to encourage the children to bring in as many supplies as they could, I decorated a box in which they could leave their supplies throughout the week. However, the box was filled by Tuesday! It had to be replaced by an uglier, yet larger, box. Still, although this last box was not filled throughout the rest of the week, that did not prevent the kids from filling up the box with bags and bags of supplies each day!

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Me (third from the right in green) with the boxes of supplies.

Afterwards, on Thursday and Friday morning, my classmates and I helped with the organizing and packaging of supplies. These were then driven to the drop-off point and sent over to the refugees on Friday at mid-day!

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The packages right before being sent off.

This activity was truly inspirational, as it showed me what people can accomplish when they work together for a cause and, while it left me feeling sorry for those individuals that must suffer through hard times like these with next to no resources, I am proud we could do something practical to help them.

Walk for Health in Plentzia

Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively

Goal: To help out at a local walk in favour of a healthy lifestyle.

This Saturday, April 9th, I attended a walk in the town of Plentzia as a volunteer. The walk was held to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. As helpers, my classmates and I had to prepare bags with food and drinks for the participants that of walk. We were also in charge of waiting at the mid-point of the walk with a table of food. There, the participants were able to stop for a while to eat, drink, go to the bathroom, and rest.

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My classmates and I (in red) setting up the mid-point station.

The day was very cloudy and, at one point, we realised that the position of the mid-point station was in danger of being ruined because of the approaching rain. Therefore, we assumed a leadership role and, working together, moved the food and drinks to a more sheltered area. Luckily, this did not mean having to move the table too much, as we were quite near to a covered area. Still, we would not have been able to accomplish this task without working together, which made us realise the importance of teamwork.

All in all, it was a pleasant experience, and I would not mind repeating it.

Reading to Children: During #1

Our experience reading to these children was fantastic. They all seemed very interested in listening to the stories we read to them, and some were even capable of answering some comprehension questions we asked them on the spot. The teachers were also impressed by our good work, and invited us to come in and read to their students more often. My classmate and I will gladly do so. The only problem we can envison with these plans is how we will manage to coordinate our schedules, as the children have the same school hours as we do, and it would be hard to organise an after-school activity.

Still, it was an incredibly enriching experience, and I can’t wait to do it again!

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Me (left) and my friend at the children’s school.

Reading to Children: Before

Learning Outcomes:

  • Undertaken new challenges.
  • Considered the ethical implications of their actions.

Goal: To read at least one storybook to the children, making them interested in reading.

This Friday, March 18th, a classmate and I will go to a public school in Bilbao and read in English to a group of fourth graders. I feel very excited about this activity, as I love books, and I think that this will be a wonderful chance to get young children into reading and storytelling. In addition to this, it will also be a good opportunity for them to practise their English skills, something that I am also excited to help them with. Still, I feel quite nervous about this activity, as I have never read to children their age before, making this a completely new experience for me.

I don’t really know what to expect from this activity. On one hand, it could turn out to be incredibly rewarding as long as the children get into the stories we tell them and have fun. On the other hand, it could be a nightmare if the children refuse to settle down and listen.

The biggest problem I can anticipate is that the children will not be interested by the stories we tell. This may cause us trouble, as we may not be able to control a bored class, being inexperienced in this sort of activity. However, I am hoping that the class’s teacher will help us out if this happens. Another problem that we could face is that the children’s English levels may not be advanced enough, preventing them from enjoying our stories. In this case, we may try explaining the vocabulary to the children before continuing with the book, or even trying to explain to them what is happening in Spanish so that they understand.

All in all, I am very excited about starting this unpredictable activity!

IB Presentations to Parents

Learning Outcome:

  • Undertaken new challenges.

Goal: To do my best at explaining the IB English A curriculum to other students and parents.

On Thursday February 11th 2016, the IB Year 1 students were asked to participate in an informative presentation night for the 10th Grade parents and students. Our job was to create some presentations and set up stands in which we each explained an IB subject we took to those who came and asked us about it. I chose to present the IB English A course, as it is one of my favourite subjects.

In order to prepare for this event, I decided to work hard and plan a truly informative presentation for the Grade 10 parents. Hence, I created an explanatory Prezi about the course (which can be viewed here), and I also had a meeting with my English A teacher in order to discuss what I should tell parents and students about the course and its benefits.

Before the presentations I felt rather nervous, as I was afraid of not being able to answer the parents’ questions. However, both the them and the students seemed to all have the same inquiries, and it was easy for me to clear up their doubts. I was asked about the differences between English A and English B quite a bit, as well as about how English A was similar to Spanish A. I also shared the Prezi I created with a couple of people who were interested in the course.

All in all, it was a rather pleasant evening, and I am proud of the information I was able to deliver.

 

Translating at the Open House

Learning Outcome: Undertaken new challenges.

Our school’s Open House took place on Monday 28 of September 2015. This is the time when parents come to the school to learn about what their children will be studying that year. However, there is a problem: most parents do not speak english, and most teachers do not speak spanish. My english teachers was one of the latter, and I had to translate for her.

I must admit that I was incredibly nervous about translating. I had only done it a few other times, and never well. However, despite my nerves and shaking voice, I managed to provide a good enough translation of what my teacher said for the parents of 11 and 12 graders. After the meeting was over, many of them congratulated me on my translating skills, saying the translations I provided were extremely clear and accurate. I felt great about this, but I do owe some of this success to my english teacher, who stopped every couple of sentences, making it relatively easy for me to translate what she had said.

This activity did not only to help the school, but also helped me overcome my fear of translating and of speaking in front of a crowd of adults.