Summer Activity Days

We started the summer with two Summer Activity Days titled “Plants and Trees Grow” and “Under the Sea.” The series of art and science activities, and games presented the students with facts about the plant and ocean life.

Empezamos el verano con dos Dias de Actividades de Verano tituladas “Las plantas y los arboles crecen” y “Debajo del Mar.” La serie de actividades de arte y ciencia y juegos sirvieron para presentarles a mis estudiantes datos acerca la vida de las plantas y el mar. 

Planting seeds Tree ring inspired mosaics DSC02134 Fishing activity Sailors and their octopi


Pollack inspired drawings

For this project, we started by diluting some acrylics in water. Then, we took some straws and transferred the diluted paint onto paper. With the straws, we blew on paint causing it to move and create fun lines and shapes.

Empezamos este proyecto agregandole agua a las picturas acrilicas para hacerlas mas liquidas. Despues tomamos unos popotes para transferir la pintura a el papel. Con los popotes, soplamos la pintura en el papel para crear lineas y figuras como las que se ven debajo. 

Howar's kids

Eman's boys

Hussein's drawing

Shapes mosaic

Maher and Hussein


Shapes Mosaic

In preparation for our Shapes Mosaic, each student was asked to draw shapes on their cards using strips of masking tape. When their cards were covered in shapes, the students used watercolors to color the shapes making sure to use one color per shape. In the end, the cards were put together to create a large community shapes mosaic.

En preparacion para nuestro mosaico de figuras, le pedimos a estudiante que dibujara figuras usando la cinta. Cuando terminaron de llenar sus tarjetas con figuras, los estudiantes usaron  acuarelas para colorear sus figuras asegurandose de usar solo un color por cada figura. Al final, pusimos las tarjetas juntas para formar un mosaico comunitario de figuras.

Running, running, running

My running buddies and I now have an ongoing joke that if we run from Irbid to Amman, then technically, we will have ran all of Jordan! The running adventure began last month, when a group of 10 of us participated in the Dead2Red Roadrunner Race. Over the course of a day, we took turns running 1 km to 10 km from Dead Sea to Aqaba. We finished last, but were happy to raise funds and awareness for our Girls Camp Glow, whose mission is to strengthen young women’s leadership and critical thinking skills.

Ahora mis compañeras con las que corro y yo bromeamos, que si corremos de Irbid a Amman, podremos decir que corrimos toda Jordania. Nuestra aventura comenzo el mes pasado cuando un grupo de 10 participamos en la carrera Muerto al Rojo. Durante todo un dia, nos tomamos turnos corriendo del Mar Muerto al Mar Rojo. Cada uno corriamos de un kilometro a diez. Terminamos en ultimo lugar, pero quedamos contentos al recaudar fondos y crear conciencia para nuestro campamento Glow para mujeres jóvenes, que tiene como mision de fortalecer las habilidades liderazgo y pensamiento critico en las jóvenes.

A few minutes after we finished Dead2Red/Unos minutos despues de que terminamos la carrera

A few minutes after we finished Dead2Red/Unos minutos despues de que terminamos la carrera

Three weeks ago, we ran a second race, but this time from Amman to the Dead Sea through a full 26.2 mile marathon. I finished in 4 hours 40 minutes and 18 seconds. Below is a picture of us before beginning our 26.2 mile run:

Hace tres semanas, corrimos nuestra segunda carrera desde Amman al Mar Muerto en un maraton completo de 26.2 millas. Yo termine en 4 horas 40 minutos y 18 segundos. Acontinuacion esta una foto de nosotras justo antes de comenzar la carrera:

A few minutes before the Dead Sea Marathon/Unos minutos antes del Maraton del Mar Muerto

A few minutes before the Dead Sea Marathon/Unos minutos antes del Maraton del Mar Muerto

First Mothers led Activity Day at our center

After a half hour meeting with my students’ mothers last month, it was clear that my idea to hold fun, monthly activities for our students at the center was about to come true! The mothers talked about engaging their children in cooking and baking, art activities, games, and even organizing our first graduation ceremony to celebrate their students’ achievements. I, of course, was delighted! As a result this past weekend, we held our first Sandwich Making Day at the center. Mothers and students contributed an assortment of bread, cheese, olive oil, sandwich meat, and zaatar with which students took turns arranging around the table. Below are a few images of our very first Mothers led Activity Day!

Despues de reunirme media hora con las madres de mis estudiantes el mes pasado, quedo claro que mi idea de organizar actividades mensuales para los niños estaba por hacerse realidad. Las madres hablaron de cocinar, hacer actividades de arte, jugar juegos con los niños y hasta organizar nuestra primera ceremonia de graduacion para celebrar los logros de sus estudiantes. Yo, claro, estaba encantada! Asi que este fin de semana pasado, tuvimos nuestros primer evento en el que hicimos sandwiches. Las madres y los estudiantes contribuyeron una variedad de panes, queso, aceite de oliva, carne y tomillo con los cuales los niños se dieron el gusto de acomodar en sus sandwiches. Acontinuacion hay algunas fotos del evento: 

olive oil and thyme/aceite de oliva y tomillo

olive oil and thyme/aceite de oliva y tomillo

preparing sandwiches/preparando sandwiches

preparing sandwiches/preparando sandwiches

Zaina and her family

The mothers and their children/Las madres y sus niños

The mothers and their children/Las madres y sus niños

On letting it snow!

This week we are letting it snow at our SPED center! We started the week with Maggie inspired snowmen. My students had to put together several construction paper cut outs to construct their snowman’s body. When they were done, they went back and added details like the eyes, arms, and buttons. Below are a few pictures of them with their finished products:

boys and snowmen

kids and snowmen

Today, we continued the snow fun by making collages of penguins in their natural environments. One of the funnest moments was watching them go around the room imitating the penguin “walk.” Below is a picture of my students and I posing with their penguins:

boys and penguins

Tomorrow we will be making snowflakes!

On life in the “city”

Let me begin by clarifying that I am not referring to New York City dearest New Yorkers. I am talking about Irbid, Jordan’s second largest city in which I have been living in for almost a year. Irbid, like other cities gets its city feel through its American restaurants (Papa John’s, Burger King, McDonalds, KFC, etc), universities, cafes, shopping mall, and traffic-filled streets. But it retains the unique Jordanian village feel via its bakeries, dukans (small convenience stores), vegetable and fruit stores, falafel and shwarma shops. Every now and then, I am surprised when I find little things that remind me of home, like bagels, real ice cream, gyms, and dance studios. Other times, I have no doubt that I, in fact, live in Jordan where things run a little differently. For one, I can’t be out on my own after 9pm. Cafes are almost exclusively reserved for men. Gyms are gender segregated: 6 or 7 exclusively for men, one for women, and another one that splits its business hours between men’s hours and women’s hours, women get 2 hours a day. Art is almost nonexistent, except for small shows at Yarmouk University like the one depicted in the photo below:

DSC01393I attended this art show a few weeks ago and being a former art major that I was in college, I had a few expectations. I was thinking more of a permanent gallery space with walls that complemented the artwork, may be gave some space between pieces, etc. But no, that was not the case. The art itself was crammed into hall and pinned onto red velvet panels. There was no particular order as to where each piece belonged except for its association with an artist’s name. When you looked closer at the art you realized that there was a disconnect between the artist, media, and thereby the work. Everything felt as if it was based upon on a photo of something that was perceived or thought of as “art.” The artist’s creativity, thought, idea, imagination was not there. A little bizarre, but then again, I am in Jordan where the concept of art is different.

This, of course, contrasts to another Peace Corps volunteer’s monthly open mic nights known as “The Butterfly Effect: Irbid” that have come to provide the space and time for poets, singers, performers, and artists to expose their talents in the city. Being the supportive Peace Corps volunteer that I am, I too, have been participating. Each month, I make a few drawings/sketches that are raffled during the event in hope of spreading the appreciation of art and expression. Below is a picture of me talking about my drawing, the stance still makes me laugh:

open mic septThough I can’t say that I have been successful in convincing my art students to join us on Thursday nights, I for myself, can say that it is a bit liberating to make these drawings and be out after 9PM?!! Ha! You can only imagine how beyond excited I am for next week’s trip to London and LA–a city girl’s definitions of real city life.