VolunQuest is an organization that provides opportunities for people visiting the island of Isla Mujeres to have genuine interactions with Mexican people by volunteering in elementary school classrooms where English is taught. We visited their summer camp to witness the endeavor.
There are only four primary schools on Isla Mujeres and this camp occupies one campus for both a morning and afternoon session. The theme for study this summer is the sea and was being explored in English in many different ways at various grade levels.
We observed one 3rd grade class where weather was reviewed first: sunny, cloudy, hot, stormy; and then on to biomes: tundra, sea, desert, tropical rain forest, etc. From there they went to a new unit on animals of the sea. The animals were introduced by a very young and energetic teacher. Pictures were taped to the whiteboard and the English words were written nearby. Then the pictures were distributed to students who replaced them near their corresponding words. This was repeated several times and then the kids all drew in their notebooks images of each sea animal. More activities were planned after recess: naming the colors of the sea animals, playing “Hangman” with the new animal names and finally each child telling which sea animal is their favorite. All this totally in English! It was very good to watch.
Their website address: www.volunquest.com.