Wednesday afternoons are tutoring days for KKIS volunteers in Playa del Carmen. The 4th grade class at Pelopidas School has been working on Adjectives and needed some practice, so seven volunteers arrived with white boards, markers and erasers to take on the daunting task of grammar. The kids love white boards and I heard that they love even more the erasers. They were asked to write a noun six times down the right side of the board and then fill in an adjective before each one and finally to make them all sentences: cat, fat cat, I have a fat cat. The erasers were such a temptation that several children erased their work before the volunteers could praise their effort. Adjectives in English go before nouns but in Spanish they are placed after the noun. This was a challenge but with practice and many, many erasures the mission was accomplished.
The 5th grade class has been studying planet Earth and we decided to explore the distinctive geological features of the Yucatan Peninsula such as Cenotes, Limestone, Fossils, Stalactites and the Meteor crater that was responsible for the demise of all dinosaurs on Earth. That is quite a history. Each child was given a piece of limestone and asked to grate off some dust from the rocks. We piled up the dust in the middle of the table and added a drop of water which dissolved the dust. This, the volunteer explained, was how stalactites were formed: by rain seeping through limestone, dissolving minerals and then dripping and drying inside a cave at a rate of 2 cm per 100 years. Then the kids drew pictures of their favorite geological feature. There were lots of dead dinosaurs and stalactites and a few fossils.