Peru Project – Part II

In part 1 I outlined this project which St. John’s students have been supporting for the past 9 years.
Once my wife, Patty, and I have a list of projects our work begins. One of the major projects we wanted to take on was quickly started:  the awning to cover the space between the two classrooms.
The biggest consideration was where the awning would be of most benefit. The next was timing:  how to get the structure built and the awning made so that both would be done before we leave in July.  Two different people are needed, a carpenter and an awning maker.  The last consideration was that the entire structure needed to be done in such a way that it can be unassembled and moved when the government comes through with the funds to remodel the school. This could be as early as this September or up to several years.
Lola wanted the space between the two largest classrooms covered. (See the first picture.)  This decided we then began to work on how to best coordinate structure with awning.  The carpenter gave us a time frame for completion just before we were to leave Perú. That meant the awning person would have to work from dimensions given by the carpenter rather than taken from the actual structure. This is risky at best. In the end we decided to have the carpenter build a structure the same size as the structure covering the play structure. (See picture #2)  to our amazement these dimensions fit almost perfectly into the desired space. And even better: because the two structures will be identical it will allow  Lola to design the space in the new school around the shade structures, placing  them end-to-end. It will add continuity in the long-run.
This decision also allowed the awning person to take more accurate measurements from the existent awning for the new awning. We took bids from several awning makers and chose the one who offered quality and the best price. It would cost about $850 for a high quality, water/weather proof material made to special order and installed.  About a week later we returned from a short trip to Cajamarca to find the rolled up cover (photo #3) hand delivered and ready to installed when the carpenter finished his work.  It weighs about 300 lbs.
The carpenter was called and came to the school to get the measurements for the awning structure. We agreed on a price (about $1500 equivalent in national money: Soles) and we went to Trujillo to exchange dollars. (Picture 4 shows the structure being put in place.) While there we went to a local store called Sodimac to see if they had prefabricated shelves the size we wanted. Sodimac is a Homedepot-like store which recently has come to Trujillo. While convenient it doesn’t offer a lot in terms of shelving. Nothing we could find fit the dimensions needed.  We wanted to steer clear of donating something which would just be makeshift. The units we did see were expensive and low quality.
So we began looking for plan B.  A family member recommended a young man in the town who had recently built some cabinets for a local restaurant. The young man’s name is Meikel and he works with a material he calls melamine, a kind of particle board covered in formica-like material. He could build sturdy shelves to the dimensions we wanted at less cost than the prefabricated odd-sized units we had looked at.  It did mean more footwork for us, but assured something which will endure the hard use they will receive, while adding uniformity to the classrooms.
The photos 5 and 6 show Meikel, the handy man, constructing the five shelves in our living room. It took he and his wife two days to put them together and they looked great.
Part three:  going shopping for things on the wish list.

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Peru Project Update!

The Perú project is well under way. For those who dont know, the students at St. John’s have been supporting a small preschool in the coastal town of Las Delicias, Peru for the past 9 years. The school provides education to the poorest children in the small town.   The significant impact these donations have had over the years can be viewed here:
http://perunuevaesperanza.weebly.com/donacion-2017.html
This year we arrived at the school on June 14th, 2019 to determine how we could best help the school.  The fund had over $7,000 which was raised over the past several years by SJLS students. We hoped to do something with technology for the students, and as well to replace the awning structure donated by St. John’s 8 years ago. This original structure was only to be temporary and outlasted our expectations considerably.  Being made of metal the ocean breeze has eaten away at the structure and awning. We planned to replace it with a wooden structure. The first picture shows the original awning and it’s poor state of condition.
The present principal is a real go-getter.  Since the beginning of her time at the school she has recognized the importance of St. John’s donations and has done her part to meet expectations.  All of this can be seen in the video link given above.  The principal, Lola Kong, let us know that the best technological support we could give would be large screen televisions with USB ports. They have free access to educational videos. This seemed a very viable way we could help. As seen in the second photo, far left, the television for the 5 year olds is small and ineffective.
As well, Lola expressed the desire to have a series of shelves,  all of the same size and color to replace the makeshift shelves used around the classrooms. (see the third photo) These makeshift shelves have served a purpose but not being made for storing things, they were second best.
And finally Lola gave us a “wish” list of items they could really use:  dolls for the children to play with (see video link mentioned above—at the very end), as well as puzzles, musical instruments, costumes (firefighter, police, nurse/doctor, carpenter), hand puppets, a First Aid box, megaphone (for emergency drills), basketballs, volleyball, soccer balls, cones for PE, curtains for the 5 year old classroom, play kitchen sets, magnifying glasses, rulers, plastic chairs for adults (12 for parent meetings) and PE/emergency whistles to name a few.
Patty, my wife, and I had our work cut out for us. In my next installment I will show the progress being made.
Doug Stone, Spanish Teacher grades 7-8
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Tide Pool Fun and Learning!

The 5th grade students and teachers wrapped up their school year by exploring the tide pools at Little Corona Beach.  Before going to explore the 5th graders studied what the tide pools are made of and the different types of animals that can be found in the tide pools.  After visiting the tide pools, the students had to use the information they learned from the field trip to create an animal that they thought would be perfectly adapted to live in the tide pools. The students also wrote a haiku to describe what they experienced on their trip and to summarize their learning.

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Global Learners!

During the month of December the 5th graders embarked upon a journey to learn more about holidays and festivals around the world through the platform of PenPal Schools. PenPal Schools is a safe, online, global community where students from all over the world come together to learn from one another. The 5th graders read about various topics including New Year’s Day celebrations around the world and both religious and secular holidays around the world. They then shared their ideas on these topics by writing well crafted paragraphs to post online. This is where the fun started! The students were then able to connect with students from all over the world to read and comment on their writing. Our 5th graders connected with students from many different countries including Norway, Canada, Ukraine, Italy, Taiwan, Turkey, Sweden and many more!

The students were able to not only practice their reading and writing skills, but they grew in the area of digital citizenship through this project. When communicating with other students, we discussed making sure that the students showed their best work and treated others with respect. This was a great opportunity for our students to practice and utilize the digital citizenship skills that we have been learning throughout this year in a safe, real-life environment.  

A few student reflections about this project:

“PenPal schools is very cool. I learned how people all around world celebrate holidays. For me, the most interesting one was how in some parts of the world they celebrate Christmas and New Years in the summer!” – Maddie T. 

“I was so surprised that there were so many ways to celebrate one holiday. I also learned a few new traditions I can share with my family. Like covering the birthday girl or boy in flour from head to toe! I think this project was fun!” – Ella C.

“One thing that surprised me was that everybody was so nice and some people had different traditions and nobody would make fun of them and they only pulled out the good stuff about it.” – Miah L. 

“Many things surprised me about this project. One is that there are so many different people from other countries. It is also interesting that so many people can write in English so well even though they speak a different language at home. It would be so cool if I could go to all of the places one day.” – Riley H.

By: Mrs. Keelie Knego, 5th grade