TTS23 in the Galapagos Islands

TTS23 in the Galapagos Islands
From left to right: Scout, Lindsey, Sophie, Feyza, Erin, Caroline, Lena, Susannah, Charlotte, Rebecca, Allie, Hannah, Alizah, Maisie, Anne, Kate, Courtney

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Academic Updates from Beth

Travel Journalism
TJ students reveled in their element in preparation and performance for Oil Day. This interdisciplinary educational experience draws from all subjects to create a multifaceted and engaging interpretation of the issues involved with oil extraction in the Amazon. During our trip through the Amazon, I was pleased to note the frequency and depth of questions that the TJ girls asked of our guides. Once we were off the river and back in town, we were able to have several classes that addressed the process of writing a formal editorial. We examined the difference between interpretation and analysis, discussed the format and purpose of an editorial, and went into Tena to carry out some internet research. This topic of editorial writing meshed well with the goals of Oil Day, as each student was assigned a character to play throughout the course of the day. For TJ in particular, the girls wrote outlines of editorials from their characters' perspectives, which helped to frame their responses to interview questions and participate in educated dialog. Allie found motivation in the challenge of representing the Ecuadorian government's minister of social services, because the viewpoint of her character contrasted drastically with her own. Her performance demonstrated, however, that her research and dedication to her role had served her well. As I send these ladies out to the Galapagos, I know that they will take this phenomenal travel opportunity to beef up their photography portfolio; I'm expecting to see some fabulous wildlife pictures turned in at the end of the week!

Advanced Spanish
Our visit to the Amazon jungle provided fantastic opportunities for the Advanced Spanish girls to continue to build their translation skills. Throughout tours of a ceramics studio, an indigenous dance performance, and a visit to a village to learn how to make chocolate and chicha, these students have challenged themselves consistently. Translation is such an important part of language learning: it reinforces vocabulary, grammatical structure, pronunciation, and fluency. As for their part in Oil Day, the AS girls took charge of being anchors for segments announcing breaking news about oil in Ecuador. After researching and reading local newspaper articles, we presented these news flashes during the day to keep everyone current on the themes and events involved in oil extraction. Each flash in Spanish was accompanied by a fellow AS student that translated into English. I was especially proud of Lindsey, who carefully explained the significance of Ecuador's current economic dependency on China (and she had read a complicated and dense article to be able to present on that topic!). I am continually pleased by the growing confidence of these students, as they take more opportunities to listen and speak Spanish. In addition, they will continue make progress with their reading and writing skills while in the Galapagos. Processing the text of El Alquimista has been difficult, but they are enjoying the challenge thus far, and will be rewarded as the story becomes more intriguing!

Physical Education

Our physical activity in the jungle was, as it always is here at TTS, place-based. We hiked through dense Amazonian forest, swam in the Napo river, and participated in yoga sessions on the porch of our exquisite rainforest lodge. Back in Tena, the girls were motivated by a new type of work-out: a PE class we like to call “Hooray Loops.” Based on consultation from Hannah, we listed different plyometric and core-building exercises, and alternated them with brief runs. The result was a physically exhausting and rewarding morning routine that made everyone say, “hooray!” Since soccer has been such a fun class every time, we worked a game in at the parking lot of the hotel, as well. The girls have some excellent PE coming up in the Galapagos, as they swim, hike, and snorkel their way around the islands!

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