Saturday, July 29, 2017

2nd School's New English Room

A long time ago, in a blog post from last July, I asked for contributions to a grant project for my school. Lo and behold, the project was officially complete in April, and I have the photos the prove it. A huge thanks goes to all those who donated. This would not have been possible without your thoughtful contributions!

Caleb and I presenting at 2nd School's Foreign Language
Teaching Methods Day in the English Room
Since acquiring the grant items around October – December, the new English room has been used for numerous activities for students and teachers alike, including a province-wide foreign language teachers’ teaching methodologies day, reading and speaking clubs for students, intensive preparation courses for the larger academic exams like the academic Olympiad and final concourse exams, meetings for English lessons for the school’s English teachers, a few regularly school scheduled English classes, and the school’s very first English movie club.

New curtains, chairs, and teacher's desk
The funds from the grant supplied the English room with a customized bookcase, new flooring, curtains, a stereo system, a TV, a printer and ink, a teacher’s chair and desk, several chairs, and varying other equipment like a power strip, extension cords, etc.

The custom bookcase with all the doors open
The biggest item through the grant was the bookshelf. It was about one million tugriks (about $500) altogether, and some of the school workers built it for the room. It holds all the books we have and has plenty of space for more. There are two chalkboards in the room now, one more than before (the second was donated from the school), and they are part of the bookcase. The magical part is that the chalkboards are set in runners, so they slide open to reveal more bookshelves and the TV!

Ayyy Macarena! 
The stereo is the item that I have personally used the most. Starting in the second semester of this last school year, Caleb and I hosted a ballroom dancing class open to all teachers and students 5th grade and up. The teachers were too shy to attend with students there, so it quickly became all about the students, which was great! Ballroom dancing eventually transformed into line dancing, which we moved from the gym into the English room. There was strong student participation and enjoyment through the rest of the school year.

Students and one of my CPs installing the new flooring
(That little bookcase and one more of the same size was all there was before!)

New and old flooring
While the grant money didn’t fund any new books, I found a couple organizations that donate books to libraries like this one. We received over 150 books from a donation through the American Center for Mongolian Studies in their partnership program with Asia Foundation called Books for Mongolia. We also received a big box of books from Darien Book Aid. They have a program that donates books to schools all over the world who have Peace Corps Volunteers working there. Caleb’s parents also sent us some great books to donate to the English room. Our English room now has around 500 books, which are level appropriate and interesting for varying ages.

4th grade students checking out the new Darien Aid books with my CP
While I was unable to establish a lending system in the last few months, I hope this is something the next PCV can accomplish. It looks pretty hopeful that my school will get another volunteer, and I hope they will continue to build up the English room over the coming years. Thanks again to all who supported our new English room!

Last time in the English Room

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