School 2

By Oren:

Two weeks ago, Brae and I had our first day at Colombian school. I was a bit nervous but it turned out to be awesome!

Our new school is called Colegio los Manglares. This means school of the mangroves. Mangroves are plants that grow where there is a mix of fresh water and salt water, like where the river meets the sea. The cages of roots make a place for many animals, fish and birds to live, including endangered species. They also protect the shore from being washed away by the waves and help to stop flooding, so altogether they are really good for nature.

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school-2We have a picture of a mangrove on our school logo and school uniform. It reminds me a bit of the Colby logo with a tree.

First I will write about the differences between our new school, Colegio los Manglares, and Colby. The first different thing I’m going to write about is the schedule. In Colby’s assembly before I left, I said that school started at seven and finished at twelve but my mum got the time wrong. The actual timetable is from seven until three (which isn’t as long as Felix has to do but it is still pretty long)! When Brae and I first heard our school day was going to be eight hours long we thought it would be ages and ages and ages but it just feels like a normal day!

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We will be going to school here for 2 months altogether, because we had 2 weeks holiday before classes started and we will have 2 weeks holiday at the end before we fly back to England. Because we have longer days but also longer holidays, I have tried to work out if Brae and I will have more or less time at school than our friends in Colby over the whole of the spring term. To do this, I need to take into account the days we went to Colby at the beginning of January, the extra holidays we have in Colombia and the days we finish at one thirty here (every Friday). Drumroll please…here is the result of who is going to do more hours at school this term: Us – 302 hours and Colby – 318 hours! So Colby children are doing sixteen hours more than us, BUT we are spending many, many hours writing our blog and we have homework too so I think it’s probably about the same.

The next thing that is different is that here we have different teachertimetable Orens and classrooms for all the different subjects, like in high school. Some of the subjects, like maths, are quite easy but ‘lenguaje’ (literacy) is really hard because we have to write all our work in Spanish! We also have some subjects that we don’t usually have at Colby. For example, we study cultures of the world on Monday and we do democracy and globalisation class on Tuesdays. We have a double lesson on Wednesday called ‘cineforo’ where we watch a film and discuss it afterwards. On Thursdays, we have climbing and we also learn about the territories of the tribes near here. Lastly, we have a special environmental class on Fridays. At our school we like to help the environment, and protect animals. My class’s topic this term is to help all the stray cats and dogs in Rodadero where we live. There are hundreds of stray cats and dogs everywhere here which was a bit of a shock when we arrived. We are making snacks and I am going to help sell them and make them! Then we will use the money to buy food for the stray dogs and cats and maybe get them injections.

One very unusual thing is the size of the classes. They are super tiny, like in my class there are only six people! At first I was in Brae’s class but in my second week they put me in a higher group with children in year 6.
Also the space we get to play in is school-4pretty tiny compared to our playing space at Colby but we are still allowed to play football. And we have an hour for morning break!

The school also makes its own school dinners, which are really delicious. Anita is our chef and she cooks traditional Colombian food from scratch in the school kitchen. She’s really nice and smiley and she sometimes gives me an extra chocolate brownie!

Similarities: Also there are a few similarities between our schools. school-10The obvious one is that Colby is really welcoming and we found out that Colegio los Manglares is too. Our headteacher is called Chili and she is a bit like Mrs Mead as she is really kind and friendly and always has a smile on her face. Here is a picture of me and her during the school carnival.
The children are friendly too. When we arrived a boy immediately welcomed us. His name was Luis and he turned out to be our best friend in Colombia! He is coming over tomorrow to play. We have also made lots of other really nice friends.

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Brae’s school post can be found here

School

By Brae:

When you look at all the adventures we have written about on our blog you might think that we are just on holiday but we are also going to school here.

Our school is very environmental. Every day everyone has school dinners because no one is allowed packed lunches. This is because it creates lots of litter (imagine how many packet of crisps, juice cartons, tin foil from your sandwiches and other things that get thrown in the bin after a whole school of children have packed lunch). We think about the effect that litter has on all the animals, especially sea animals like turtles. Also, all our science lessons are about animals and nature and we have science twice a day.

Every day, right in the morning, schoolwe have yoga class for a nice relaxing start for the day and I really like it. Every week we also have a climbing wall lesson, on the school’s own climbing wall, and we have nothing to hold us on apart from our hands and feet (no harness)! Our school bus driver teaches us climbing wall class because he is an expert climber.

We also have dance class every week. There are many Colombian dances. We have been learning salsa and cumbia. We even had our own mini carnival at school and we walked around the streets near the school playing instruments and dancing.

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Once a week we have French so in my head I have to go from French to Spanish to English and from English to Spanish to French. So as well as learning Spanish on this trip we are also learning French. The classes are much smaller and I only have boys in my class because there are no girls my age in the school. When we work all the desks are around the edge of the classroom instead of in the middle.

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Every Wednesday, the whole school goes to the beach. It’s just down the road so we can walk there. We do long jump and playing in the waves. This week we swam out really far without being able to kick as we had bottles between our legs. Some of the children collected rubbish so that it doesn’t harm the animals, like turtles.

Before we did our first day I was really nervous as I didn’t know if I would make any friends or if I could speak enough Spanish, but now I know that I can speak enough Spanish and I have plenty of friends so I’m not worried any more.

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I think I’ve improved in my Spanish in only two weeks of school. In the first week I didn’t speak loads and loads of Spanish, only short answers and short questions. But in my second week I’ve been speaking longer sentences and longer answers. I feel quite proud of myself because I’m speaking so much Spanish and I’ve improved so much.