This evening, in Tlacochahuaya, we drew family trees. Well, most of us did. Gerardo drew a family mushroom. We had a few challenges; the students:
1. Didn’t really get the concept of family tree and branches. (Various people instead were apples or oranges or blossoms of some other sort.)
2. Didn’t understand exactly which people would be included in a tree. (There were questions about where their godparents should go, for example.)
3. Couldn’t decide how to put themselves and couldn’t remember they were “I” or “me” and wanted me to translate their names into English (despite the fact that they have names including Jennifer, Abigail, Elizabeth, Magdalena, Kevin, etc.).
Despite these challenges we were able to use terms such as bis-abuelo (great-grandfather), primo (cousin), hermano (brother), and so on. One student included “hijo” (son) in her tree, and we all decided that she does not have a son. She quickly realized she’d meant to write brother and corrected her tree. Planning ahead, one student left an open apple for his future wife and all she would bring to his life. I offered him the word: “girlfriend” to fill the space.
It was amazing to see how a little drawing could enhance the entire learning experience. They seemed to be able to better recognize (not necessarily spell) the words.
So, feeling bold and having a knapsack full of candy bracelets, I asked them to write three complete sentences about their families (after providing a few example sentences with to be verbs).
They had the predictable: “I have two brothers;” “My mother is beautiful;” “I have a sister.”
They had the unusual: “My grandmother will not give me soup.” “My brother is dirty.”
And one that scared me a little: “My parents are bad.”
I want to know (from a safe distance) what “bad” means to this sweet, quiet, small girl.