Special Report: Summer Language Camps

FlagBy the WLP Interns–Upon completion of registration, students and parents headed to their respective classrooms to meet their teachers. Our teachers immediately began to immerse students in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu language. Employing the Total Physical Response Approach, teachers issued commands in Arabic, Persian, or Urdu while simultaneously physically demonstrating the command. Students learned simple commands, such as “sit down,” “stand up,” and so on. Later, students learned how to write their names in their chosen language. Students used colorful paints and pens to decorate wooden name tags with their names written in English on one side and in their chosen language on the other.

The theme of the Persian class is “A Trip to Iran.” This week, the kids will spend time learning about the geography of Iran and useful questions one would use while traveling. In addition to learning basic writing skills and how to introduce themselves, the kids participated in outdoor activities and watched a cartoon in Persian.

On the first day, Urdu students spent time getting to know each other. Each student learned how to introduce himself or herself and tell their age.

Throughout the day a special guest visited all classes to lead an art project. Under her supervision, students made magnets with the flags of the countries that speak Arabic, Persian, and Urdu. Students also made cards, using colorful paper and die cut shapes to make creative designs. Our guest also donated several lovely signs and clocks, which she made herself, for all of our classrooms. The Urdu class also created beautiful cards.

For lunch, students enjoyed delicious food from Bombay Grill. Every day we will serve food that is representative of the cuisine that Arabic, Persian, and Urdu-speaking people would traditionally eat. Students were served rice, chicken curry, saag paneer, and naan. Chicken curry, generally consists of chicken in an onion and tomato-based sauce. Typically, the curry is flavored with ginger, garlic, chilies, and a plethora of spices, such as cumin. Saag paneer is a spinach and mustard leaf based curry dish eaten in India and Pakistan. Our saag paneer also included tofu, making it an excellent choice for our vegetarian students. The chicken curry was, by far, the most popular dish, but many adventurous students tried the saag paneer as well.

Our students were also able to enjoy time spent outside. Teachers used games, such as a variation on tag, to teach students words like “stop” and “go.” This provided an excellent opportunity for students to have fun outside and run around while still learning the language. Our first day was quite successful, leaving both students and teachers looking forward to the next day.

In classOn our second day, Mustafa spent the morning teaching the Arabic class more about the Arabic alphabet. The class already knew a lot about the alphabet from the first day, but were taught the different ways letters appear in script depending on their placement within a word. In the afternoon, students learned the names of the colors and how to say what color another person was wearing. This turned into a fun game, in which the kids sat in chairs in a circle. The person in the middle of the circle said the name of a color in Arabic and anyone wearing that color had to get up and find a new chair. The students really seemed to enjoy the activity and it was a fun way for them to utilize their new vocabulary words.

In Persian, the class split into two groups of beginning and advanced students to better accommodate varying skill levels within the classroom. Later, the class regrouped for an art project. Everyone made “About Me” collages using old magazines and hand drawn pictures of sayings in Persian that related to things they liked best. Again, the students got to spend some time outdoors playing games and learned how to sing a song in Persian. The Persian students also played a game using flags from countries around the world. Each student received a flag and students learned how to ask and respond to the question “Where are you from?” through this game.

The second day of Urdu, students dove into basics by learning the alphabet and numbers. Miss Tahaira gave a great lesson in geography of South Asia. By the end of the day, the class was able to locate all major cities and countries. We also traced a compass and learned the names of directions.

Thanks to Startalk we were able to provide camps free of charge and grant all students full scholarships. Check out more photos from the camps, and be sure to come back for more updates!

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