Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Joseph's Corner: Camp! Day 1&2

Yesterday (Tuesday) was the first day of summer camp, and it wad great! It was much different than what I expected, mostly because I had no idea what to expect, but it was a great introduction to what was to happen on a normal day.&amp;#160; I found out that everyday is extremely organized, and each hour from 7 AM, when the people wake up, to 4 PM, when camp classes end, is planned.&amp;#160; At 9 classes start, and the kids split into different groups with their family, who act as helpers with whatever the campers are doing, and rotate between classes.&amp;#160; The main classes are computer skills, math skills, and braille skills.&amp;#160; In the computer class, kids learn how to use a computer with the help of the speaking program NVDA, which narrates what the user is doing.&amp;#160; Most of the kids also learn the basics of using a computer without mouse navigation and how to use basic computer programs like the internet and Microsoft word.&amp;#160; Math classes teach the campers how to use an abacus for mathematical problems and holding numbers, and teach how to use a "math pad" (I'm pretty sure that's it'd name), a rubber pad with small square grates, which tiny dice with brail numbers are placed into.&amp;#160; It is used as the kid's paper for math problems, and make for easy structuring of equations.&amp;#160; These pads can help with every kind of equation of middle or high school student might need.&amp;#160; Another class campers take is for brail. This class teaches kids how to read braille, both simple sentences and complex structures, and to type their own braille words and sentences on their personal "brailler" machines.&amp;#160; &lt;/p&gt;<br>
&lt;p&gt;&amp;#160; There are roughly 30 campers&amp;#160; here these two weeks, and with their included family members more than 60 people.&amp;#160; The whole camp takes place in a two story Lion's club building which is at the most 200 ft by 100 ft and the small office where the whole staff of BCVI works. The kids are in classes most of their time during the camp's hours, which is around 5 hours when lunch and breaks aren't included.&amp;#160; Some days, like today (Wednesday), we take field trips to different places around Belize instead of afternoon classes.&amp;#160; In fact, on Saturday we are all going to the Belize zoo and then Sunday to san Pedro, one of the islands off the shore of Belize where we will chill on the beach. &lt;/p&gt;<br>
&lt;p&gt;&amp;#160; Yesterday I spent most of my time getting introduced to the camp and this schedule, but taught this one camper named Juan, who is possibly the funniest 5th grader on the planet.&amp;#160; We worked on his addition skills on the math pad for about an hour, but spent most of the time reading his currently favorite book- animal farm (yeah, it shocked me too that he would read this).&amp;#160; He had been given a laptop the year before with the NVDA speaking program and had gotten an electronic version on it so the voice would narrate the words on the screen.&amp;#160; He would then listen to it in his headphones as he scrolled through the lines.&amp;#160; It was incredible how attune he was with the book; he had already memorized the animals' "7 Commandments" in the book.&lt;/p&gt;<br>
&lt;p&gt;&amp;#160; Unfortunately I didn't get to work with Juan again today. Instead I got the pleasure of working with the ever famous Rowan Garel all day.&amp;#160; I helped him in computer and math skills class in the morning.&amp;#160; After lunch, though, we did little practice work because our group visited the Belize museum! Most of the people who went yesterday were visiting for the first time, and we all learned about Belize's Mayan history and culture.

  These first two days of camp have been so much fun and incredibly interesting, I hope the rest of my time here will be as good.  From now on, I will try as hard as possible to post every day about the things I am doing here, I hope you guys will continue to read! Thanks,

Joseph Gallagher

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